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Eric Schoch
IU School of Medicine

Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Indiana statewide research institute gets boost with new federal grants

Dec. 1, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute has received four supplemental grants totaling nearly $2.5 million that will strengthen its efforts to move laboratory discoveries by Indiana scientists to the bedside and the marketplace.

Included is an award that will support the addition of the University of Notre Dame to the Indiana CTSI, and another that will bolster efforts to recruit participants who are crucial to conducting clinical trials of new drugs and devices. The Notre Dame-related award, for about $600,000, will provide pilot funding and project management assistance for research efforts that hold promise for new medical treatments.

Anantha Shekhar

Anantha Shekhar

Print-Quality Photo

The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute was created in 2008 with a five-year, $25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to promote research collaborations involving Indiana and Purdue universities, state and local health agencies and the private sector. The new grants were awarded by the NIH's National Center for Research Resources with funds from the federal economic stimulus program.

"These awards will expand the capabilities of the Indiana CTSI to conduct research statewide and beyond," said Dr. Anantha Shekhar, director of the Indiana CTSI, located at the IU School of Medicine on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

A $997,581 award will be used to support efforts to recruit people to participate in clinical trials -- the human testing necessary to bring new pharmaceutical products to market. Specifically, said Shekhar, the grant will be used to create a clinical trial recruitment system for the Indiana Clinic, the newly created multi-specialty group of 1,500 physicians from the IU School of Medicine and Clarian Health.

A third award, for about $600,000, will be used by the Indiana CTSI's Community Health Engagement Program, which works to develop collaborations of researchers with community organizations, health care professionals and other community leaders. In particular, the CHEP grant will be used to develop "best practices" tools for working effectively with various communities -- an example might be methods to help diabetics in the Hispanic community control their blood sugar levels, said Shekhar.

A grant of about $300,000 will be used by developers of the Indiana CTSI web site, the CTSI HUB, to enhance its core technology capabilities and strengthen the ability of academic researchers to collaborate with each other and with private industry.

The HUB grant will support development of an online environment where research teams from multiple institutions can securely share research data and communications and provide a venue for the discovery of potential industry licensees for technology transfer. The grant also will strengthen the HUB's underlying technologies, recognizing login credentials from partner institutions across the country and making researchers' contributions easily discoverable by others looking for collaborators, research results, or information about funded projects.

"Our two-pronged approach of providing important services on top of a modular cyber-infrastructure that makes collaboration easy is an exciting and unique approach to accelerating the translation from research bench to bedside care," said William K. Barnett, senior manager of life sciences research technologies for IU's Pervasive Technology Institute.