The goal of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Translational Nexus is to inspire careers dedicated to interdisciplinary translational science and to produce leaders in the field who are optimally prepared to guide and participate in ground-breaking transdisciplinary teams. We are building on a tradition of excellence in supporting early career scholars as they launch their careers. Among prior KL2 awardees, 84% achieved extramural federal funding, half moving to individual K awards and the other half directly to R01, U01 and VA Merit awards. Their careers are thriving and we are dedicated to continuing to develop the scientific and scholarly skills of a diverse group of clinical translational research faculty. Current and prior awardees represent more than a dozen disciplines and as many clinical backgrounds including anesthesiology, chemistry, emergency medicine, hearing and speech, medicine, nursing, pediatrics, and thoracic surgery, with nearly even numbers of clinically trained and PhD-prepared scientists. We serve eight trainees (4 grant and 4 internally funded) and design program elements for the explicit purpose of connecting, enlarging, and sustaining our community of translational scientists. Translational Nexus Scholars are grounded in the fundamentals of translational research, prepared to lead independent research programs, trained to effectively deploy innovative interdisciplinary approaches to attack and solve problems, and committed to pursuing research that taps into the power of teams for driving breakthroughs. Scholars are selected by competitive review of applications from early career faculty. Training is tailored to the individual investigator in the context of structured interdisciplinary mentorship and is overseen by the PI (Hartmann) and Co-Director (Stein). Program resources are further enhanced by myriad institutional resources that ensure our researchers flourish. In this proposal we introduce individualized Pathways that combine didactic, intensive, and experiential learning to consolidate competencies in six areas: Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Data Sciences, Measurement Methods, Clinical Context (for non-clinical trainees), Technology Transfer and Innovation, and Community Engagement. Scholars form a mentor panel, participate in regular work-in-progress presentations and seminars, receive formal evaluation each year, attend twice-monthly career development activities with other K-awardees, and are regularly exposed to case studies on responsible conduct of research. Scholars have access to: 1) an array of core labs and resources; 2) biostatistics consultations; 3) manuscript preparation work groups; 4) technical editing of completed products; 5) studios with experts to vet scientific ideas, research designs, and aims; 6) robust intramural cores for pilot work and feasibility funding; and 7) grant writing support including grant workshops, a funded grant library, and mock study sections. Tools are in place to evaluate both scholars and mentors and to continuously enhance our program. Further oversight is provided by an Advisory Committee and external reviewers. Combined, these efforts assure we carefully foster excellence in the next generation of translational scientists.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Mentored Career Development Award (KL2)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZTR1-SRC (99))
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Urv, Tiina K
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Independent Hospitals
United States
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