CTSInsider: Quarter 3

Introduction & Welcome

Welcome to CTSInsider, the newsletter of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin! Through this quarterly newsletter, we hope to share more information about:

  • the purpose of CTSI
  • what the CTSI has to offer you and those engaging in clinical and translational research
  • ongoing and upcoming opportunities throughout the year related to clinical and translational research and education
  • CTSI and the national CTSA network

In this issue we will share important updates, news and announcements, including upcoming events and research trainings, as well as an overview of services available to support you and your research.

CTSI & You

CTSI is here to serve you! We offer a variety of resources and services to augment the myriad of research infrastructure options available to research teams across CTSI partner institutions. CTSI offers more than 20 different services and resources all aimed at supporting you and your clinical and translational research. These include recruitment and study support services offered through our Clinical Trials Office and Adult Translational Research Unit, Biomedical Informatics consulting services, Biostatistical consults and mini-grants, research process improvement consults, and research funding available through our Pilot Translational & Clinical Studies program.

The CTSI Pilot Translational & Clinical Studies Program has had a very exciting quarter, opening three funding opportunities for a total of $724,000 in awards:

  1. Our Traditional Pilot Award opened its 10th cycle with a Request for Applications released on June 1, 2017. We are offering 13 awards of up to $50,000 each to stimulate inter-institutional and interdisciplinary translational and clinical research among the CTSI partner institutions. Fifty-five applicants submitted Intents to Apply by the July 1 deadline and we eagerly await receiving their full proposals at the end of this month.
  2. Our Start-up Award is designed to help investigators prepare for a strong Traditional Pilot proposal. We offer two awards of up to $12,000 each for small, 6-month projects of pilot-preparatory work. We received 16 applications by our August 1 deadline and are in the process of reviewing the submissions.
  3. We are pleased to offer a new funding opportunity jointly managed by the CTSI and the MCW Community Engagement Core, awarding one 16-month project up to $50,000 for collaborative community engaged research (CEnR) projects focused specifically on translational research in the areas of Health Disparities and Recruitment Strategies for Community Participation in Research. Our deadline for Pre-Proposals was August 4 and we received an extremely enthusiastic response to this new opportunity.

For more information about our Pilot Award Program, contact Christine Zeller at czeller@mcw.edu or 414-955-2524

We wish all our applicants the best of luck and look forward to supporting new, cutting-edge translational and clinical research!

About CTSI

Did you know the CTSI has an External Advisory Committee (EAC), comprised of 5 representatives from other CTSA-funded institutions? 

The EAC members participate in annual on-site meetings, review CTSI programs, and assess whether milestones for the CTSI and its individual programs have been achieved. Our most recent visit was July 11-12, 2017. The EAC reviews our programs and provides guidance and suggestions pursuant to recent progress, new programmatic directions, leadership, and other areas that emerge between meetings. Our presentation to the EAC is comprehensive and includes data and metrics on every program, planned changes, and challenges encountered/solutions utilized, as well as highlights associated with each program. The EAC provides a written report that is shared with the NIH and CTSI institutional leadership. Members of the CTSI EAC are listed here. 

For information on the NCATS CTSA program, visit https://ctsacentral.org/

News & Announcements For You


CTSI Events & Programming

CTSI Academy Lecture Series presents:  Measures of Health Disparities:  Perspectives and Challenges

Health disparities reflects sub-populations morbidity (incidence, prevalence, screening, treatment, severity, prognosis, safety) and mortality outcomes that differ by socio-demographic indicators namely race, ethnicity, race/ethnicity, sex, age, geography, language, disability, income, education, and more recently drug/alcohol, overweight/obesity, acculturation and country of origin. These variances have been conceptualized by the WHO and CDC as absolute and relative. This lecture series will highlight:

  • Substantial issues regarding the choice of disparities measure: absolute versus relative
  • Current measures of health disparities and their relevance to the cause of causes (etio-pathogenesis of health disparities)
  • Rationale for the selection of disparities measures (prevalence, incidence, risk factors, treatment, safety, disease severity and progression, and mortality outcome); and,
  • Challenges in the transfer of disparities measures data to intervention mapping, implementation and evaluation in addressing sub-population health and healthcare variance.

Learn more about CTSI Academy and register for current offerings here.

CTSI Academy: Boot Camp Training

This past month we kicked off a NEW Boot Camp series aimed at clinical research management and conduct. The CTSI Academy with the CTSI Clinical Trials Office (CTO) continues to offer a revised BootCamp training session. This program has a strong focus on the practical conduct of clinical research at MCW and its partner institutions. The program is essential for staff and faculty new to either clinical research or new to our Institution. We have successfully conducted two training sessions this year with 22 attendees. We have received excellent feedback and plan to continue offering this course. Watch out for announcements for the next session planned in the late September – early October time frame.

Mayor Barrett visits MCW for CTSI 500 Stars Kick-off event

The CTSI 500 Stars Initiative just completed the 2017 Summer Internship Program. The overarching objective was to “Educate, Enrich, Empower, Engage, and Elevate” our 500 Stars and introduce careers in translational science settings.

The internship program expanded significantly from last summer. This year, we were able to include high school students (only undergraduates and graduate students participated in 2016).  In total, 192 students/trainees applied for the 2017 Summer Internship Program (compared to only 28 in 2016) – of whom 133 were under-represented minorities (URMs).  This year’s Summer Program enrolled 109 participants (up from 19 in 2016), including 83 URMs (84 high school students and 25 college students).  A total of 53 Wisconsin high schools and 19 colleges and universities (local and out of state) participated.

Additionally, the 500 Stars Internship Program offered new programmatic careers including additional programs, such as Summer SMART/Advance SMART (Students Modeling a Research Topic) at MSOE and also at Concordia. This program brought together teams of high school students and teachers to work with research scientists to design and construct physical models of proteins that are being investigated in the laboratories. This introduced students to translational science by building upon bench research to better understand clinical and community impact of disease within a patient population.  The Summer Internship Program expanded through new collaborations with MCW’s Apprenticeship in Medicine (AIM) Program and Research Opportunity for Academic Development in Science (ROADS) Program, as well as placements with hospital partners and CTSI/MCW offices.

The expansion was made possible primarily via our successful grant acquisitions from a new partner, Al Hurvis/ADAMM Education Foundation, a grant from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s Employ Milwaukee/Earn & Learn Program workforce development program, along with internal donations.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett visited MCW on Monday, June 19, to help kick off the Clinical & Translational Science Institute’s (CTSI) 500 Stars Summer Internship Program. This program is a part of the overall CTSI 500 Stars Initiative, a 10-year strategic, comprehensive and community-focused effort that seeks to replenish and increase diversity in the translational science workforce.

This work is done by training and cultivating the translational science workforce, engaging patients and communities in every phase of the translational process, and promoting the integration of special and underserved populations in translational science across the human lifespan. The Summer Internship Program offers high school, undergraduate, and graduate students direct, hands-on professional experiences in clinical and translational science settings. Read more here.


 2017 CTSI Science Cafes

Come and hear about health issues that matter to you. Share your experiences and get the chance to ask our experts for advice.

Please join the CTSI and the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care for this year’s Science Cafés. The purpose of the Science Café program is to engage with the community and translational scientists in an informal setting and discuss current scientific and medical issues impacting our culture and society. The August Science Café is about Fatty Liver Disease: What we Eat, When we Eat. Learn more here and register today! 

Did you miss a past Science Café, and want to learn more? Past Science Cafés are now available for streaming or download through multiple outlets. If you were unable to attend, or want to reference something you may have heard, you can download the podcast here or stream the podcast.


CTSI Discovery Radio

Hear interviews and information about what scientists across southeastern Wisconsin are “discovering” in their labs and clinics.

Discovery Radio is meant to provide you with a look behind the curtain of what is happening to accelerate discoveries to improve the health of our community sometimes years before you would ever hear about it anywhere else. Discovery Radio introduces you to new and novel discoveries and the researchers behind them. Last month’s show included a special report on The Periscope Project, a new initiative aimed at providing critical perinatal psychiatric expertise and resources for care providers of expecting and new mothers. Stream or download the show today! 


Join us for the 19th Annual HHS SBIR/STTR Conference:  In The Heartland of BioHealth Innovation

November 7 -November 9 2017
Hilton Milwaukee City Center

Join CTSI of Southeast WI & NIH in Milwaukee, WI for the 19th Annual HHS SBIR/STTR Conference on November 7-9, 2017. This national, three-day event is designed to educate attendees about America’s Largest Seed Fund and how to access federal resources, develop competitive proposals, and secure awards. With over $920 million dollars of annual HHS funding, this is one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. Visit the event page online and register today to save $100 or download the event flyer.


Funding Opportunities & Awards

Call for Nominees – 2017 Dean’s Award

The Clinical & Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Dean’s Award in Clinical & Translational Science. The award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to advancing translational science. Learn more here and nominate someone today! 

Request for Applications – Healthcare Innovation Pitch (HIP) Event

The Healthcare Innovation Pitch (HIP) is the highly publicized Bridge to Cures biannual event (launched in 2015). It is designed as a “toned down” and more structured version of the ABC show “Shark Tank”, where healthcare entrepreneurs will get the rare opportunity to pitch to a panel of venture capitalists and serial entrepreneurs from across the country. This will be a public event with university, industry, and government participation along with exposure to other investors and entrepreneurs, held in conjunction with the annual SBIR/STTR National Conference.

Prior to the event the Bridge to Cures Advisory Board and Seed and Growth Committee will screen discoveries and inventors to select the most promising innovations. Selected innovators will then be mentored and coached to develop their pitches, and compete for over $30,000 in seed funds. The Bridge to Cures Advisory Board and Seed and Growth Committee currently seek applications for the Healthcare Innovation Pitch (HIP) Event, in one of the following tracks: (a) HealthTech (e.g. connected medicine; healthcare IT; telemedicine, (b) Therapeutics and Devices, and (c) Medication Therapy Management. Review the key dates here and learn more. 

National News and Announcements


NCATS-funded Innovation Labs to Drive Early Career Grants – Application Site Open

NCATS is seeking early career scholars to join an NCATS innovation lab known as INNOVATION LAB BUFFALO: Radical Solutions to the Opioid Misuse Epidemic. Deaths from opioids have quadrupled in the past 15 years in the United States. Opioid mortality parallels increase in the quantity of legal prescription opioids dispensed. Abundance of prescription opioids paves the path to nonmedical use. Curbing opioid misuse is a major public health challenge, one that will require solutions involving diverse disciplines and perspectives. The NIH will be committing significant new funds to support grants to study the opioid epidemic in an effort to attract researchers new to this field to apply novel approaches from many disciplines to study this critical problem.

The goal of this project is to facilitate the development of novel transdisciplinary collaborative grant proposals among early-career scholars. Enhancing collaboration is central to the CTSA program but faces many barriers. Early career investigators may face even greater challenges in pursuing and obtaining collaborative funding – without a substantive “nudge”. To provide that nudge, this project will implement Innovation Labs to Drive Early Career Grants designed to foster new transdisciplinary, multi-CTSA teams that will pursue radical science on opioid misuse. Learn more about the innovation lab, including application deadlines and eligibility here.

 NCATS Toolkit for Patient-Focused Therapy Development

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invites the rare disease community to register for the NCATS Toolkit for Patient-Focused Therapy Development Demonstration and Dissemination meeting on Friday September 8, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH main campus in Bethesda, MD. This event will mark the official launch of the NCATS Toolkit for Patient-Focused Drug Development website. This is the registration site on which you must register in order to attend the meeting.

NCATS will be launching the Toolkit for Patient-Focused Therapy Development to provide a centralized online portal for resources and tools that will help patient groups make additional progress along the entire translational Research and Development (R&D) continuum. Since early 2016, NCATS has worked with a diverse group of partners in the rare disease community to conduct an extensive analysis of available tools and to define, characterize and organize them onto a centralized portal that should be helpful to all patient groups regardless of how far along R&D continuum they might be. This meeting will offer the patient community the immediate opportunity to learn how the Toolkit can streamline the search for the right tools to help in their therapeutic development activities as well as the opportunity to provide additional insights into how the Toolkit can be refined, expanded and otherwise made even more helpful. Register for the event and learn more here. 

Save the Date: European Reference Networks For Rare Diseases Webinar

NCATS Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) will be hosting a webinar on the European Reference Network on Rare Neurological Diseases (ERN-RND) on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Holm Graessner, Ph.D., MBA, Coordinator, ERN-RND, and Enrique Terol of the European Commission will be presenting. Please save the date: Wednesday, September 13, 2017, from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. ET. Learn more here or register today

CTSI At Your Service: Highlights

CTSI offers more than 20 different services and resources all aimed at supporting you and your clinical and translational research.

Did you know that CTSI Has…

Total Body (DXA) Scanning Services

The Clinical & Translational Science Institute’s (CTSI) Adult Translational Research Unit (A-TRU) now offers DXA scanning services to any member of the community. This is a valuable resource, providing an accurate assessment of unique, individual body composition and key information for tracking personal health and fitness.

Body composition measurements utilizing DXA precisely monitors results of your personal weight management and exercise efforts. Total body DXA scans offer a detailed look at overall and regional percent body fat, lean mass, and fat free mass. Our iDXA capabilities provide additional information including measuring region fat percentages (android and gynoid), and estimate tissue density around organs (visceral adipose tissue).

To schedule an appointment call (414) 805-7306. Directions and pre-scanning instructions are emailed to you once your appointment is scheduled.

Patient Recruitment Toolkit

A major hurdle encountered while conduct of clinical trials is the lack of adequate recruitment in them. It is estimated that about 20% of all NIH funded trials do not recruit a single patient and at the same time, about 80% of all trials are delayed due to recruitment related issues.

The CTSI CTO in its efforts to streamline conduct of clinical research has developed several resources to assist research teams with this issue, including a “Recruitment Toolkit”  that includes a comprehensive set of online tools to facilitate patient recruitment. Utilizing the toolkit will enable researchers to manage recruitment efforts for their trial. Researchers can assess feasibility for their trials, develop strategies and download the templates and other helpful resources from the CTO’s website. Please visit http://cto.mcw.edu/tools/recruitment-toolkit/ to learn more. An additional service includes “Hire a Recruiter ”  a new service that allows for a dedicated person too pre-screen and then consent potential participants into trials. More information can be found at http://cto.mcw.edu/services/recruitment/. Comprehensive consultation is also available to help begin planning for development of recruitment strategies.

 NEW Biostatistical Consulting Hours

The CTSI is now offering after hours by-appointment biostatistical consulting hours. After hour design and statistical consulting is offered every Tuesday from 5:00 to 6:00 PM. Learn more here and request an appointment today!

Investigator’s Corner: You & CTSI Advancing Research & Discovery

KL2 Mentored Career Development Award

The CTSI of Southeast Wisconsin congratulates Jacquelyn Kulinski, M.D., recipient of the 2017 NIH Mentored Career Development Award. The award provides training opportunities for junior faculty working in clinical and translational research to become independent investigators.

Dr. Kulinski is assistant professor of cardiology, in the division of cardiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert Lutheran Memorial Hospital. She received her medical training from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2008, and completed her residency in 2011 at University of Washington, Seattle. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in Cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern. Her translational research interests focus on exercise and sedentary science, specifically in disease prevention, cardiovascular disease epidemiology and mechanisms of how sedentary behaviors may contribute to adverse health risk, independent of exercise. Her Mentored Career Development Award will explore interventions to reduce sedentary behavior at work.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kulinski!

CTSI Staff & Faculty: At Work for You

Each newsletter we will highlight staff and faculty working to support you and your research. Laurens Holmes, Jr., MD, DrPH, has joined CTSI as Professor and Director of CTSI Education and Training. Dr. Holmes is Board Certified in Public Health, a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, and a member of the American Public Health Association. He has over twenty-five years of teaching and research experience in universities both within and outside of the United States. Dr. Holmes has published a number of books in biostatistics and epidemiology, and has developed coursework for both undergraduate and graduate education.

In his role as Director of CTSI Education and Training, Dr. Holmes is responsible for the CTSI Master’s degree program and provides oversight of the Health Disparities Research Program, epidemiology and biostatistics/research methodology. In addition, he conducts biostatistical consultation for a variety of translational researchers.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


Zablocki VA Medical CenterMedical College of WisconsinMSOE