CTSI Annual Retreat Focuses on NexGen Research and Team Science

Group discussions on CTSI programs.

With a focus to “road test” two potential aims for its grant application to be submitted late next year, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UC San Francisco held its eighth annual retreat on July 22nd at Milberry Union Gymnasium.

More than 170 attendees from the UCSF community and partner organizations participated and weighed in on how “NexGen Research” and Team Science would integrate with nine of CTSI’s programs: Biomedical Informatics, Career Development, Clinical Research Services, Clinical Sciences Training Program, Community Engagement & Health Policy, Consultation Services, Early Translational Research, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, and Strategic Opportunities Support.

CTSI Interim Director, Deborah Grady, MD, MPH, set the stage by elaborating on the framework and opportunities for CTSI’s next grant (See video), “We started this proposal process really thinking about where research is going to be in 2020. How should CTSI provide services, expertise, and infrastructure to make that happen?”

Some of these changes and opportunities are due to the convergence of powerful technologies that have opened up doors to accelerate research – including the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR), availability of large clinical datasets, web-based research platforms using computer and mobile devices, and the development of remote monitoring (eHealth) devices. View social media comments

Integrating these technological trends and advances with team-based multidisciplinary research (Team Science) align with CTSI’s goal of supporting a new initiative of cost-effective “NexGen research” scalable to all five UC medical campuses and across the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) network. On this note, the two winners of the ‘CTSI Demonstration Projects’ open proposals opportunity whose projects address these goals were announced:

  • Amy Gelfand, MD - Remote Conduct of Simple Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials in Pediatrics: A Pilot Study of a "Remote Trial" of Melatonin for Migraine Prevention in Adolescents
  • Carmen Peralta, MD, MAS - A Pilot Study to Plan a Randomized Trial to Evaluate an Automated CKD Diagnostic Testing, Staging, and Education Tool in Clinical Care

“The renewal planning meetings and retreat also itself lifted early ideas around CTSI’s next grant application into more actionable steps on how to integrate our programs beyond UCSF with regional partners, such as the UC system, to have national impact,” said Grady. “It’s critical that we continue gather input from the UCSF community and partners as our proposal develops.”

Hal Barron, MD, president of research and development at Calico

Following the opening remarks, Hal Barron, MD, president of research and development at Calico, Google’s anti-aging spinoff, spoke on translational research, the power of “bedside to bench,” and finally, challenged the audience to “look at the tails in research.” 

Carrying the momentum from the opening sessions, participants split into groups based on the nine CTSI program proposals to be discussed in conjunction with the key themes of Team Science and NexGen research. Proposals were assessed by their strengths and weaknesses, areas to maximize impact, ways to leverage existing campus resources, and potential for innovative partnerships. Group leaders reported back the session results with a Q &A discussion from all attendees. (See video) The valuable input will inform the next stage of proposal planning, said Alice Fishman, MS, assistant director of programs at CTSI and a lead organizer of the retreat.


View All Retreat Photos Here

Inaugural CTSI Awards

Among the highlights of the retreat was the first-ever CTSI Awards. CTSI staff nominated colleagues weeks beforehand for exceptional performance in the follow three categories: 1) Innovation; 2) Initiative; 3) Collaborative. The selected awardees were recognized on stage during the closing session at the retreat:

  1. Innovation – Awarded to Shondell Moody
  2. Initiative – Awarded to Katie Nelson, MBA
  3. Collaborative – Awarded to Paula Fleisher, MPH

Additional CTSI staff recognized for their contributions included Eunice Stephens, MPH, administrative director for Clinical Research Services, for “Grace Under Pressure,” and Alice Fishman, MS, for “Persistence.” (See video)

Retreat Quick Links

Additional Videos


UCSF's CTSI is a member of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (grant Number UL1 TR000004) at the National Institutes of Health. Under the banner of "Accelerating Research to Improve Health," CTSI provides a wide range of resources and services for researchers, and promotes online collaboration and networking tools such as UCSF Profiles.