Clinicians and basic scientists shared ideas for collaborative research projects at the College of Medicine’s first World Café Event on January 29. The cafes, sponsored by the college’s Faculty Development Office and the Florida Hospital Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences, provide opportunities for faculty members to meet and generate ideas on specific topics or themes.
The first event, held at UCF Pegasus Health, was titled the Research Network Initiative World Café Event and encouraged faculty who are treating patients to share ideas with basic scientists focused on finding cures and better treatments for disease. The goal: identify possible areas of collaborative, multidisciplinary research that could enhance treatment for diseases and ultimately increase the efficiency and effectiveness of patient care.
The College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences faculty members focus their research on the conditions that plague humanity – cancer, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and infectious disease. “Their work is typically confined to the laboratory,” said Denise Kay, assistant director of faculty development. “On the other hand, our clinical faculty know what problems need to be solved in patient care. Our goal is to develop a seamless continuity of research from bench to patient bedside.”
Dr. Kay said many funding agencies are switching their focus to translational research that can quickly and safely move from the laboratory to the clinic. And with funding dollars diminishing, more focus is going toward research that is team-based, crossing departmental boundaries and reducing duplication.
About 20 faculty members attended the event, including a pathologist and basic scientist from the Orlando VA Medical Center who hope to increase their collaborative research as well. Dr. Bernard Gros, assistant professor of internal medicine and a practicing cardiologist at UCF Pegasus Health, attended the World Café and said these types of projects can help bridge gaps between basic science and clinical research. “It is surprising at times to learn there are others on the faculty in the UCF community who have similar research ambitions and goals,” he said.
Dr. Sampath Parthasarathy, who holds the Florida Hospital Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences, said the key to growing research is creating new partnerships. Bringing together basic science and clinical faculty members “can accelerate the transition between bench to bedside translational research,” he said. “We hope these interactions will promote clinicians active participation in research not only to enrich their academic career but also to seek research grants that are directly applicable to patient care.”
The Research Network Initiative is expanding to Medical City On March 21, from 5 to 7 p.m., faculty and researchers from the College of Medicine, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Orlando VA Medical Center, and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute will meet at the medical school to explore mutual research interests and collaborative opportunities.