Looking at an object from a different perspective can reveal previously hidden elements.
That is the idea behind the Translational Research Initiative, which pairs physicians and laboratory scientists on joint research projects. Their dual perspectives are more likely to uncover important clues and suggest promising solutions to research questions.
For instance, researcher Michael Strong, PhD, and physician Gregory Cosgrove, MD, are exploring thousands of relationships between genes, chemicals and respiratory diseases. Dr. Strong’s perspective as a computational biologist can help detect significant genetic and biological relationships, while Dr. Cosgrove’s clinical perspective helps identify relationships that most affect patient health and the potential for improving patient care.
Physician David Nichols, MD, is collaborating with researchers Raul Torres, PhD, and Hong Wei Chu, MD, on a biobank of live tissue samples from the airways of patients for use in research. Dr. Nichols navigates the clinical challenges of identifying and characterizing patients and obtaining samples, while Drs. Chu and Torres create the storage facility and field requests for samples.
With help from donors, National Jewish Health funds four translational research projects each year, providing seed money for initial findings that can lead to additional external support.