Duke receives $60 million NIH grant to speed medical research into practice

May 15, 2018 – The DCRI’s Jennifer Li, MD, is among the researchers who will administer the grant to Duke’s CTSA program.

The Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has been awarded a five-year grant of more than $60 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance innovative ideas from the point of discovery to implementation in clinical practice and population health.

The Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program, supported by the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, provides infrastructure for researchers at Duke to conduct clinical research, train young scientists and share developments across a consortium of more than 60 other leading centers throughout the world.

Duke received one of the original 12 CTSA grants in 2006, with a previous renewal of $47 million in 2013.

Jennifer Li“With the NIH’s support, Duke CTSA will continue to lead in translating research discoveries into health benefits,” said A. Eugene Washington, MD, Duke University chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of Duke University Health System. “And we are gratified that the many distinguished achievements and significant contributions of our faculty, staff and trainees are recognized through this renewed investment.”

Three principal investigators lead Duke’s CTSA program, including L. Ebony Boulware, MD, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, vice dean for translational science, and associate vice chancellor for translational research in the School of Medicine; the DCRI’s Jennifer Li, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology (pictured); and James McNamara, MD, director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience.

Among the grant’s key components is funding new collaborative initiatives between the CTSI and N.C. Central University, which will support programs that provide training opportunities and internships, promote research projects through pilot funding, and extend engagement with the Durham community to promote research.

“Over the past six months, NCCU has worked closely with the CTSI on a five-year partnership that began in September 2017,” said Johnson O. Akinleye, PhD, chancellor of NCCU. “We are excited to be a committed partner with Duke CTSI on workforce development, community engagement and translational research development that will achieve meaningful results.”

Duke uses the CTSA funds to provide biostatistical and regulatory expertise, fund laboratory discoveries into early-phase clinical trials, enhance project management support, expand data sharing and informatics tools and educate current and future translational medicine researchers.

The CTSA funding has already:

  • Supported more than 100 research projects and inter-institutional collaborations;
  • Developed a portal to help Duke investigators manage their research portfolios;
  • Trained more than 30 translational scientists;
  • Awarded more than 80 graduate degrees in biostatistics and clinical informatics;
  • Funded Durham-based research collaborations with a local church and a community advisory council, among others;
  • And resulted in 200 peer-reviewed publications.

“Moving forward, we will also develop new tools for faculty, staff and students to help them identify training and career advancement opportunities, to access data at Duke, and to improve their connectivity to numerous research opportunities across Duke,” said Boulware, the principal investigator.

She said the grant renewal will also advance the field of data science, funding new programs to enhance health care delivery.

“Renewal of the CTSA is an important validation of the immense efforts of so many individuals across our campus. I am so appreciative of the innovative and hard work that the CTSA team lead by Dr. Boulware, put into this successful renewal,” said Mary E. Klotman, MD, dean of the Duke University School of Medicine. “With this support, significant efforts to train and support our researchers and staff, increase engagement with our community and accelerate scientific discovery into improved care for patients can continue in earnest.”