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A Celebration of Translational Science


A Celebration of Translational Science

Investigators from across all disciplines of clinical and basic research came together to celebrate translational science. The second annual Translational Science Expo welcomed over 100 people to learn about ongoing projects and share in recent successes.

Early stage investigators and seasoned researchers alike took over the Husky Union Building south ballroom to discuss their innovative work and meet fellow researchers. ITHS supports the translation of science from bench to bedside, without any emphasis on a specific disease. Therefore, ITHS creates a research home where investigators from all disciplines and career stages can generate new ideas, collaborations, and projects.

Dr. Nora Disis, ITHS Principal Investigator and UW Associate Dean for Translational Science opened the Expo with a broad welcome and presentation of the ITHS Award of Excellence in Clinical & Translational Science. This annual award honors faculty and/or staff who have made a significant contribution to advancing translational science.

“Dissemination of research findings into clinical practice is one of the biggest challenges faced by translational scientists,” said Dr. Disis. “Once a discovery is made, there needs to be a mechanism for sharing this discovery and implementing it as part of patient care so that it can actually improve lives in our communities.”

Once a discovery is made, there needs to be a mechanism for sharing this discovery and implementing it as part of patient care so that it can actually improve lives in our communities.

Dr. Disis was speaking to the importance of the remarkable work of this year’s award recipient, Laura-Mae Baldwin, MD, MPH. Dr. Baldwin has dedicated a significant portion of her career to building relationships between community practices and academic researchers. Over the past decade, she has spearheaded the effort to develop the WWAMI Region Practice and Research Network (WPRN), a network of over 60 primary care practices in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. The WPRN offers investigators the tools and connections needed to conduct collaborative research in primary care community-based clinical settings.

PIs and Award Recipient
ITHS Principal Investigators and Executive Director present the Award of Excellence to Dr. Laura-Mae Baldwin.

A large network like this can both bring the needs and questions of the community to academic researchers and help connect current research studies to participants within regional or rural settings. It also helps disseminate research findings to the populations who could benefit most from the results. Under Dr. Baldwin’s leadership, the WPRN grew in size and scope, partnering in more than $122M worth of funding and building lasting relationships through the WWAMI region.

The award ceremony was followed by two poster sessions, each with over 20 investigators presenting their latest findings. Projects ranged from cultivating heart cells in order to test new treatments to understanding homelessness among older adults. Early investigators and trainees mingled among seasoned researchers to learn from each other and engage in scientific conversation about future work.

Part of the ITHS mission is to enrich the research environment within the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s, Fred Hutch, and WWAMI region collaborators. Events like this promote interdisciplinary collaboration, presentation of ongoing work and results, and provide an opportunity to honor the life-changing achievements of translational research.