At the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS), we strive to help researchers get their discoveries from the lab to clinic practice to help improve the health of communities in our region and beyond. On this page, you can learn more about the people and programs that make up ITHS and find out how their work is accelerating health research every day.
In 2024, we begin a new profile series to shed light on some of the distinguished scholars currently participating in our KL2 Program. Our first scholar is Blake Langley, ND, LAc., who is clinically trained as a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist. Langley is currently a staff scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, as well as an ITHS KL2 scholar. ITHS entered into his translational science journey very recently, offering support that help changed his career trajectory in an exciting way. He spoke to us about his focus on integrative oncology, the acupressure research he’s most passionate about, and what challenges he expects to face in his journey.
We connected with Dr. Tumaini Coker for our August installment of our interview series. Dr. Coker is the Division Head for General Pediatrics and a professor of Pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine, an investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and the Co-Lead of the ITHS Integrating Special Population program. In addition, she currently serves as the Co-Director of the Child Health Equity Research Fellowship at UW. Dr. Coker shared her academic and professional journey in the field of pediatrics, the importance of health equity research, and the probable future trajectory of health equity research.
In our June installment of our interview series, we sat down with Dr. John Amory, a renowned researcher in the field of male contraception and the Deputy Director and Associate Principal Investigator of the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS). He also co-directs the KL2 Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Program at ITHS. Dr. Amory spoke to ITHS about his research journey in the burgeoning field of male contraception, what still surprises him, and what breakthroughs he thinks might be just around the corner.
In our this installment of our interview series we sat down with Charlie Gregor, manager of the ITHS Hub Liaison Team and the Network Capacity Component. The ITHS Hub Liaison Team is a multidisciplinary team of subject matter experts spread across the multiple research and research support groups at University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Recently, the team expanded its support of translational endeavors by providing clinical trial management for funded research from implementation through study closeout and dissemination.
In this installment of our interview series, we spoke with Kelsey Conrick, a PhD student at the University of Washington School of Social Work, and member of the 2022-2023 TL1 Translational Research Training Program cohort at ITHS. Her focus is on firearm policies, and her dissertation seeks to develop resources to help equip social workers to prevent firearm-related harm to their clients. We sat down with her to learn more about her academic journey and what she hopes to achieve.
Seher Aftab, manager of the ITHS Gene and Cell Therapy Lab (GCTL), is a leader on the frontlines of bridging the gap between scientific discoveries and healthcare treatments. The GCTL provides translational researchers with the infrastructure, training, and technical expertise necessary to develop and manufacture gene-modified cells, ex-vivo manipulation of cells for novel gene and cell therapy products and stem cell banking. Aftab began her career there as a part-time research associate before moving to the role of lab supervisor. She then became the interim lab manager, which led to her promotion to the GCTL lab manager in January of 2022. We sat down with Aftab to learn more about her journey to this position.
If you’re new to ITHS, you may not know that the ITHS WWAMI region Practice and Research Network (WPRN) supports collaboration between primary care practices and academic researchers on research that improves the health and well-being of patients in their communities and enhances primary care clinical practice. The WPRN is a primary care, practice-based research network across 34 organizations and over 90 clinics in the five-state WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho). In this interview, we speak with one of WPRN’s founders, Laura-Mae Baldwin.
ITHS has a long history of helping researchers prepare for submitting a grant, creating a study or even helping to shape up research ideas that are in early stages. Sometimes researchers need a broader perspective on study design and implementation from clinical investigators and other experts, and that’s where the ITHS Scientific Success Committee can help.
Each day, researchers across the nation perform work that has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. Yet clinical, financial, and commercial hurdles prevent many of these technologies from ever reaching patients. The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) was founded to bridge the gap between discovery and public benefit by supercharging development though significant financial and management support. The UW ARPA-H Committee was developed to assist researchers at UW and its partners in accessing these new resources.
At noon on the first Thursday of each month from October 2022 through June 2023, the ITHS Team Science group hosted the Team Science Seminar Series, with sessions focusing on topics such as building and leading teams, handling conflict, multi-PI grants and designing research for health equity. The seminars proved to be quite popular with ITHS members. We spoke with Team Science Co-Director Brenda Zierler about why the series was created and how successful it has been.
We sat down with Dr. Allison Cole and Dr. Kelly McGrath to learn more about the new ITHS Community Engagement project, the Rural Health Lab. The Rural Health Lab, in partnership with the Institute of Translational Health (ITHS) and Kootenai Health, is co-led by Dr. Cole and Dr. McGrath to mitigate critical health disparities in rural communities.
In this post we put the spotlight on building community connections and how preclinical investigators can start strengthening those relationships to better serve their populations. To that end, we’re learning more about the Preclinical Engagement Project with Sonia Bishop, Research Scientist in UW HSPop, Health Promotion Research Center and the ITHS Community Engagement Program, as well as one of the project leaders. We’re also talking to Laurie Hassell, Director of Community Engagement here at ITHS. Both show us how this endeavor could address key knowledge gaps in research development.
At the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS), we help accelerate medical discoveries from our laboratory, the Gene & Cell Therapy Lab (GCTL) to the clinic. We do this by partnering with researchers and companies to help them develop, manufacture and test medical products in clinical research trials. This story highlights the GCTL services and one of their partnerships through a project that is testing a promising treatment for advanced ovarian cancer.