CTSI Spotlight: Cathy Tralau-Stewart

Cathy Tralau-Stewart, PhD

Cathy Tralau-Stewart, PhD, is a Senior Program Manager of CTSI's Catalyst program. She sheds light on her role overseeing the therapeutics track for Catalyst Awards Program.

How long have you worked at UCSF?

Just 6 months

What do you do at UCSF and how is it connected to the UCSF mission?

I am responsible for the Therapeutics Track of the Catalyst Awards program which supports early translational research in UCSF and the UC Center for Accelerated Innovation (UCCAI), an NHLBI funded cross - UC Health Campus initiative to support translational projects.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?

The biggest challenge is securing sufficient project funding to support promising project progression.
Making a difference to the projects is important. Working with academic researchers to provide input which can transform the project and its potential to translate to effective therapeutics is highly rewarding.

What do you like most about your work related to early translational research?

Catalyst’s aims link directly with my personal commitment to enable translation of novel therapeutics to Clinical unmet need.

The Catalyst Awards and in particular the consultation process using Bay Area Biotech advisors is a very effective way for academics to access some of the expertise required and which is not available internally. Although the current environment makes funding research difficult and the Catalyst funds are limited, the consultations can have a very significant impact upon project progression and their ability to secure future funding. The impact of this is often under-estimated by the applying researchers.

I enjoy working with the Catalyst diverse and expert group and also with the excellent UCSF academic faculty members.

What are some things that people may not know about you?

I previously led GlaxoSmithKline’ s Respiratory and Inflammation pharmacology for nearly 20 years and was involved in and led  teams which discovered and developed many successful drugs and candidate drugs including Albuterol, Flonase, Breo, Bosatria, Flonase, Anuro, Avodart and Zofran.  I also created and directed a successful academic - Industry Drug Discovery Centre  at Imperial College London for 6 years. This experience has left me with a passion to support the robust validation, progression and clinical Proof of Concept of academic research outputs such that we can deliver effective therapies to patients.  As part of this  I am involved in advancing the debates on; how to address project attrition, improving the quality and likelihood of successful translation (Advisor to ‘ The Reproducibility Initiative’ (http://validation.scienceexchange.com/#/reproducibility-initiative) and  current member of the Science Translational Medicine advisory board) and increasing funding to support the robust translation of early therapeutics projects to stages where the next round of funding is achievable. I am a great supporter of academic-Industry collaboration and its essential role in the support of academic research translation. I recently authored a Nature Reviews Drug Discovery article analyzing academic drug discovery in the UK and am currently working on a study of academic-industry collaborations.

If you chose another career path outside UCSF what would it be?

Somewhere that I could make a difference to how we do therapeutics discovery and translate academic research. This could be in academia, biotech or the non-profit sector.

What are your favorite things to do with your free time?

Exploring California’s beaches

CTSI Spotlight is part of an ongoing series that offers an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn more about the wide range of people who make CTSI's work possible. See all featured faculty and staff.