The mission of Columbia University Medical Center’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) is to transform the culture of biomedical research to hasten the discovery and implementation of new treatments and prevention strategies. Our core objective is to move the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) research community to a more multi- and interdisciplinary scientific mindset by removing barriers and creating incentives for interactions among investigators from different disciplines. CUMC’s first step towards reaching this goal was the establishment of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the academic home for patient oriented research at Columbia. The Irving Institute faculty includes some of CUMC’s most accomplished senior researchers who provide leadership and serve as mentors for junior faculty, fellows, and trainees. Specially-selected junior faculty, the “CTSA Fellows,” work with senior faculty to develop novel approaches to advancing multi- and interdisciplinary clinical and translational research. The resources provided by the Irving Institute offer support in biomedical informatics, study design and biostatistics, bioethics, regulatory issues, core laboratory facilities and, of course, a fully-staffed Clinical Research Resource for use by researchers across the campus.
As part of the CTSA program, the Irving Institute offers an integrated educational program that includes a multidisciplinary patient-oriented research Master’s program for fellows and junior faculty, a multidisciplinary, mentored research program for junior faculty, and a pioneering cross-over training program for pre-doctoral students in basic and population sciences. By harnessing the collective talents of diverse senior faculty at Columbia’s schools of medicine, public health, nursing, dentistry, and the graduate school of arts and sciences, as well as community partners, the Irving Institute serves as CUMC’s intellectual and physical hub for the next generation of clinical and translational investigators who will approach complex health questions using multidisciplinary approaches and novel methodologies. This advances our ultimate goal: to enable faster, more effective detection and utilization of research advances to benefit patients and the community.
The Irving Institute’s headquarters occupies the entire 10th floor of two connected buildings, the Presbyterian Hospital and Harkness Pavilion. The total space occupied is approximately 25,000 square feet. The administrative center occupies 1,211 square feet at the center of the overall space. Immediately adjacent, are both the Adult Outpatient Unit (2,450 square feet) and the Adult Inpatient Unit (9300 square feet). Across the hall are 690 square feet of space dedicated to the Bionutrition Unit. Also included is a cluster of office space totaling 1,000 square feet, which houses additional Irving Institute staff, faculty and collaborators. A 400-square foot conference room and 5,000-square feet of laboratory and office space used for the Biomarkers Core Laboratory round out our state-of-the-art location.
The Irving Institute comprises 9 key functions, or resources, that are available to the CUMC research community. They are:
Development of Novel Clinical and Translational Methodologies Resource (DNMR): The DNMR is the hub for junior and senior clinical/translational (C/T) investigators who work to develop novel approaches, both technological and conceptual, to advance multi- and inter-disciplinary research.
Pilot and Collaborative Studies Resource (PCSR): The PCSR provides funds for clinical/translational research initiatives at CUMC, including pilot awards to junior investigators in support of both C/T research and C/T methodology.
Biomedical Informatics Resource (BMIR): The BMIR is the vehicle that brings informatics technology to the mainstream C/T community. It helps to integrate existing informatics resources across the campus and within the Irving Institute. A major project of this group is the building of WorkWeb, a social network that will foster collaborations and bring together investigators from different disciplines with a simple Web search.
Design and Biostatistics Resource (DBR): The DBR brings together outstanding investigators from biostatistics and epidemiology who work together to assist investigators in the design and analysis of C/T research projects.
Regulatory Knowledge and Support/Clinical Research Ethics Resource (RKSER): The RKSER unifies existing but isolated groups at CUMC to enhance regulatory education, compliance, and ethics.
Clinical Research Resource (CRR): The CRR builds upon the former General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) structure with pediatric inpatient and outpatient units, research nurses, and extending its reach beyond the old “walls” of the GCRC by providing support for research in other areas of CUMC (e.g., NICU, PICU, and ER) as well as through our affiliation with St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center.
Community Engagement Core Resource (CECR): The CECR organizes and guides many groups involved in community-based research through an off-campus community center (390 Fort Washington Avenue), where C/T investigators, community groups, and research participants can meet and exchange ideas and expertise, as well as conduct observational studies.
Translational Technologies and Resources (TTR): The TTR supports core technologies at CUMC. Investigators are provided with pilot funds for services in imaging and biomarkers.
TRANSFORM (TRaining And Nurturing Scientists FOr Research that is Multidisciplinary): The Irving Institute’s educational resource administers the interdisciplinary Master’s, pre-doctoral, and career development programs. By developing the next generation of translational and clinical researchers to work effectively in interdisciplinary teams, TRANSFORM activities help to transform the culture of research at CUMC and speed the process of research and discovery for the improvement of the public’s health.