The grant will be used to expand and improve The Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, one of the first centers in the nation aimed specifically at speeding the process of getting medical advances out of the lab and to the patient. This is Center director and UT-Houston's principal investigator Dr. Frank Arnett.
"The aims of this are to move the science, which is enormous, from animal studies, from basic studies, into the clinic, into the patient's room in the hospital and to train new people to do the research, a new generation of investigators, and to get this out into the community."
UT-Houston joins institutions like Columbia University Health Sciences, Duke University, Yale University and the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine as the first twelve to receive money from the NIH grant, which is expected to eventually hand out $500 million when fully implemented in 2012. University of Texas Medical School at Houston interim dean Dr. Jerry Wolinsky.
"To have gotten this award in the first round and to see that the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is synonymous with the best of the best around the country should tell our folks in our community something about the importance of this school and how far its come in its short 35 year life span."
Partners in the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences include the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. Dr. Peter Davies is the executive vice president of research at UT-Houston and says the grant money is earmarked for the institution's educational programs.
"It's to train a new generation of scientists and physicians and physician-scientists who will understant not only how to practice medicine but how to conduct research, clinical and translational research because those are in fact the individuals who are going to be the foot soldiers, if you like, in moving discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic."
When fully implemented, about 60 institutions will be part of the NIH consortium to enhance clinical and translational research.