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News Roundup
March 10, 2020
Updates from CLIC  
Credit: Teresa Crawford

The Northwestern Unversity Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute hosted its first Un-Meeting early this March, bringing together nearly 100 attendees representing approximately 20 professions together to develop new ideas to enhance lifespan and life course research.

The unstructured, participant-driven format of an Un-Meeting allowed attendees to drive the agenda. After an initial session to elicit discussion topics, participants covered poster boards in the conference with hundreds of sticky notes worth of topic ideas that were  eventually narrowed down to subjects including innovative strategies for recruitment, life course measurement, transgenerational research, and more.

"As valuable as these Un-Meetings are, it is what comes next that holds the greatest potential and so I’m excited to see the connections, collaborations and concepts that evolve as a result of this amazing event," said Susanna McColley, MD, professor of Pediatrics, Associate Director for Child Health at NUCATS and a clinician at Lurie Children’s Hospital, who also noted that the conference connected an array of disciplines unlikely to connect in other academic settings.

The next Un-Meeting will focus on approaches to evaluate non-pharmacological interventions in clinical research and is currently scheduled for Saturday, May 30, at the University of Rochester.

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News from around the CTSA Program Consortium
 
Nine projects announced for CD2H Phase III
The CTSA National Center for Data to Health (CD2H) announced March 5 the nine projects that have been chosen as part of Phase III of the center's grant competition, which this time aims "to enhance alignment with community needs, provide a balance of projects across CD2H community cores, and streamline the number of projects to ensure adequate resource allocation for project management allocation."

Out of more than 20 proposals, 20 were chosen after independent review by a panel of community leaders, Hub PIs, and CD2H's Steering Committee. The selected projects will  be faciliated within respective CD2H cores, while projects that were not chosen will be supported by  community cores and/or within the Informatics Enterprise Committee.
 
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DIAMOND Portal aiming for "20 in 2020"

DIAMOND, the collaborative learning space for clinical research professionals, is launching a new "20 in 2020" initiative with the goal of having 20 additional CTSA institutions upload at least five educational or assessment offerings to the substantial amount of resources already available on DIAMOND's online portal.

Since launching in 2018, the DIAMOND Portal, an online repository of competency-based education and training resources and assessment  materials, has received more than 275 resources from 15 CTSA institutions,  clinical research professional associations, and private companies.

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ICYMI: News from the Science & Research World

After first making headlines at the beginning of the year, worldwide infections of the coronavirus have soared past 100,000 as of early March. But new research from across the globe offers some signs of hope, suggesting that the same features that allow the virus to spread so quickly might also prove to be a vulnerability to new drug treatments.

Multiple genetic and structural analyses of the strain of virus that causes COVID-19 tentatively indicate it is so successful at spreading among humans because of a "spike" protein that's binds to cell membranes and which appears to both be activated by furin, an enzyme common in human tissues, and which binds at least ten times more tightly with a receptor enzyme found in human cells than the SARS virus. Although some researchers, including Jason McLellan, who co-authored an analysis of the virus, caution that more work is needed, others are hopeful the new information can be used to develop vaccines or therapies. “We don’t know if this is going to be a big deal or not,” McLellan said.
 

An electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Credit: National Institutes of Health.
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If you have a story, opportunity, project or event that you'd like included in the News Roundup, please contact CLIC Communications: clic_comms@clic-ctsa.org.

The University of Rochester Center for Leading Innovation and Collaboration (CLIC) is the coordinating center for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Grant U24TR002260.

 
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