UF CTSI Year in Review

Students and faculty discuss their work at a poster session during CTSI Research Day 2013.
CTSI scholars, trainees and pilot project awardees present their research at a 2013 poster session in the Clinical and Translational Research Building.

The UF CTSI’s 2013 accomplishments are recapped below and were included in the two-part January issue of On the Same Page:

UF CTSI Achievements in 2013

The CTSI turned five in 2013 and embarked on several efforts to assess its impact and facilitate health research through transformation, services and education.

The year was also marked by expanded leadership for the CTSI. In recognition and advancement of the CTSI’s campus-wide mission, CTSI Director David R. Nelson, M.D., was named by the UF Office of Research as assistant vice president for collaborative research in the life sciences.

In the fall, the CTSI welcomed Thomas A. Pearson, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., executive vice president for research and education for UF Health, as a new advisor, stakeholder and partner in strengthening collaboration across UF Health entities.

CTSI accomplishments reflect the vision and dedication of hundreds of faculty, staff and students from across the university and at partners throughout the state.

Impact at Five Years

As it approached its fifth year, the CTSI commissioned two analyses to assess its impact on collaboration at UF, researcher productivity and success, and economic activity in the state.

Social Network Analysis experts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences examined the CTSI’s effect on UF’s scientific collaboration network from 2008-2012. The project found the CTSI network of investigators increased in size and as a proportion of the total UF network; the CTSI network increased cohesion and diversity of the UF network; and the CTSI pilot award program created new collaborations and brought new researchers into the network.

An analysis by the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research showed substantial increases in investigator productivity following affiliation with the CTSI, measured by increases in external funding (310%), publications in top 100 journals (41%), and patent filings (38%) from 2009-2012. The analysis also found that every $1 of CTSI operating expenditures helped spur an additional $11 in external funding, increasing the CTSI’s impact on regional employment and economic activity accordingly. In total, from 2008-2012, spending on CTSI operations supported an estimated 8,351 person years of employment and $1.1 billion in economic activity in Florida.


CTSI efforts to transform the research environment made significant strides in 2013.

Personalized Medicine: In June, the CTSI-led UF Health Personalized Medicine Program received a $3.7 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to bring personalized medicine to more Floridians. The four-year project is one of just three demonstration projects funded nationwide to show how patients’ individual genetic profiles may be used to better tailor clinical treatments. Additional recognition came for the program’s informatics team when InformationWeek profiled UF Health IT as a top business innovator in 2013 for its work to turn genetics into actionable information.

Clinical and Translational Research Building: The CTRB opened in the summer of 2013 and already is a vibrant headquarters for clinical and translational research, bringing the CTSI, Institute on Aging, academic departments, research teams and research participants under one roof. The new building allowed the CTSI’s Clinical Research Center to greatly expand its facility. The Clinical Research Center offers exam and procedure room space, specialized research equipment, as well as nursing, bionutrition and laboratory services. To increase access to the new facility, the CTSI announced in the fall a Clinical Research Pilot Award RFA that is accepting applications through March 31, 2014, for pilot studies in any disease or age group.

Metabolomics: In September, the CTSI’s Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics (SECIM) launched with a five-year, $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. SECIM is one of six regional centers supported by the NIH Common Fund to spur metabolomics research in the United States. SECIM unites expertise and resources from multiple colleges and units at UF as well as external partners including the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

Implementation Science: The CTSI launched its Implementation Science Program to advance the adoption and integration of evidence-based health interventions to change practice patterns and improve health. The program builds on the model of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program, in which implementation strategies are developed and piloted at UF Health and then adapted and tested for use in other health-care settings. The program collaborates with UF Health leadership and the CTSI’s statewide research partners, including Health IMPACTS for Florida.

Research Services & Resources

Established CTSI services and resources continued to grow in both scope and use, including several resources that are available at no charge to assist research teams with cohort identification and the recruitment of research participants:

  • StudyConnect feeds hundreds of health research study listings to UFHealth.org;
  • HealthStreet, a community-based initiative to reduce health disparities, has established contacts with more than 4,000 residents in the Gainesville area, enrolled more than 1,400 people in research studies at UF, and recently expanded to the Jacksonville community;
  • the UF Health Integrated Data Repository and its i2b2 cohort discovery tool allow researchers to query an IRB-approved and HIPAA-compliant Limited Data Set, which is refreshed monthly and contains 121.3 million observational facts pertaining to more than 425,000 patients as of December 2013.

CTSI programs also launched recurring Design Studios and Implementation Science Innovation Studios to provide researchers with actionable feedback and advice on study designs and research ideas at any stage of development.


The CTSI Training and Professional Development Program continued to expand its offerings with the launch of the CTSI Mentor Academy and the CTSI Academy of Research Excellence’s research coordinator program. Branching beyond the university, the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program partnered with the UF Center for Precollegiate Education and Training to host the 13th annual Mini Medical School at UF, a one-day in-service opportunity for middle and high school teachers. The topic of personalized medicine drew record attendance, requiring two full-day sessions to accommodate the more than 200 teachers who registered from across the state.