CTSI Ramps Up Support of COVID-19 Research

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UC San Francisco (UCSF), a unit within the Office of Research, will support, coordinate and respond to COVID-19 research needs. Some of CTSI’s efforts to support impactful COVID-19 research include:


Pilot Awards

The UCSF COVID-19 Rapid Response Pilot (C19 RRP) Grant Program, co-sponsored by the Academic Senate, CTSI’s Pilot Program, and the Research Development Office (RDO), will support rapid response research at UCSF focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. Proposals submitted are currently being reviewed for grants in two award tiers of $5K and $40K.


Consultation Services

CTSI is providing up to 10 free hours for COVID-19 research consultations in Biostatistics, Study Design, Data Management, and Recruitment. See: consult.ucsf.edu.


Participant Recruitment

CTSI has a resource page for support for COVID-19 research and for ongoing studies needing to convert to remote recruitment. Resources include study website templates, tutorials on how to develop effective online screening forms, and an EHR recruitment service. See: COVID-19 Recruitment Resources


Clinical Research Services

Several CTSI clinical staff (RNs and hospital assistants) have been redeployed throughout the four campus sites to help with COVID-19 efforts, including working in the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at ZSFGH. The support provided by CTSI staff includes assisting with clinical trial enrollment, collecting relevant data and reporting adverse events. Clinical staff redeployed to the medical center are helping with the important task of respiratory screening at facility entrances. 


Informatics and Research Innovation

CTSI has worked with UCSF’s IT and Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute (BCHSI) to create an ‘blanket IRB’ that enables access to the UCSF EHR COVID-19 Data. With this IRB-approved study, structured data on UCSF COVID-19 tested and diagnosed patients is currently available. Access to clinical notes for COVID tested and diagnosed patients, and access to comparative/control data for patients not tested for COVID will be available soon. Learn more: https://data.ucsf.edu/covid19 


Community Engagement

CTSI has engaged with community partners in various ways. It has organized and produced three informational COVID-19 webinars for community partners in collaboration with the Latinx Center of Excellence, focusing on working with Latinx populations, Tenderloin community organizations focused on promoting public health in an area with severe housing challenges, and working with immigrants, refugees and asylee populations.



Affiliated with CTSI, the Catalyst Program and UCSF Innovation Ventures has connected UCSF labs that are actively working on COVID-19 research with funding and collaboration opportunities as well as Contract Research Organizations (CROs). The Catalyst Program’s network of expert industry advisors has also been engaged to advance product development activities for patient benefit. The Catalyst Program and the UCSF Launchpad are hosting a virtual three-week hackathon aimed at designing new innovative and technical solutions to the health, medical, and scientific challenges we face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: launchpad.ucsf.edu/covid-19-hackathon