Message from Dean Ramsey
On Friday, May 20, I had the pleasure of attending two different events focused on research. In the morning, a large number of faculty and staff attended the UW conference Clinical Research - Challenges and Controversies. That evening, Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), discussed genomics and our shared future at the annual dinner meeting of the Northwest Association of Biomedical Research (NWABR). (Please see related story on Dr. Collins' visit below.) The combination of these two events in the same day - one covering clinical research and the other, genome sciences - reflects key research strengths at UW Medicine.
UW faculty have made many important contributions to clinical research. The federally supported General Clinical Research Center (GCRC), established 45 years ago, was the first GCRC funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Nora Disis, director of the GCRC, leads this important institution-wide resource for clinical researchers. The GCRC provides clinic and in-patient space, laboratory and personnel resources, mentoring for fellows and junior faculty, statistical guidance, detailed help with grant preparation, and many other resources. More than 100 research protocols are under way at the GCRC at any given time. Information about the GCRC can be found at http://www.crc.washington.edu
UW Medicine is also fortunate to have two major clinical research training grants funded by the NIH. The K-30 Clinical Research Curriculum Award funds clinical research training for fellows, and the K-12 Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Program helps junior faculty establish careers in clinical research. Information about the K-30 and K-12 awards can be found at http://www.uwmedicine.org/Research/ResearchTrainingAndSeminars/K30/ and http://depts.washington.edu/uwk12/,respectively.
Although the GCRC, K-12, and K-30 awards provide important support for clinical research at the University of Washington, we must still address many challenges to continue to improve our clinical research programs. The May 20 conference focused on several of these challenges, and the School of Medicine Office of Research and Graduate Education will be working to improve support for clinical research over the next few years.
In his talk at the NWABR dinner, Collins cited the UW Department of Genome Sciences for truly outstanding research leadership worldwide. Collins presented the Alvin Thompson Award to UW faculty Phil Green, LaDeana Hillier, Debbie Nickerson, Maynard Olson, Lee Rowan, and Bob Waterston. These scientists were honored for their leadership in completing the Human Genome Project and their landmark work in genomic variation. Collins emphasized the importance of teamwork and interdisciplinary research, a hallmark of UW Medicine.
The two May 20 events highlighted the enormous contributions of UW Medicine to clinical research and genome sciences. These two conferences were followed by the third annual Frontiers in Biomedical Research on May 23. This symposium, The Impact of Informatics on the Understanding and Treatment of Human Disease: Visions of the Future, was sponsored by the departments of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics, and Genome Sciences. The emergence of genomic medicine is one part of this exciting future. UW Medicine is well positioned to assume an even greater leadership role, with clinical investigators working closely with faculty in basic science departments. The sharing of UW faculty expertise in computational biology has already resulted in new interdisciplinary teams of faculty and staff. These three recent events highlight amazing opportunities for biomedical research. It is wonderful to see the impact that UW faculty and staff can have on improving human health.
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine