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UTAH CTSI INTERDISCIPLINARY SPHERES OF TRANSLATION ACROSS THE RESEARCH SPECTRUM (STARS) T32 TRAINING PROGRAM OVERVIEW AND REQUIREMENTS

The translational science lifecycle combines disciplines, resources, expertise, and techniques to improve prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics, and ultimately health. To succeed in this transdisciplinary field requires distinctive skills, including a deep appreciation of multiple domains, a team science outlook, and an aptitude for cross-discipline communication.   

Our conceptual framework organizes the translational continuum into three Spheres of Translation Across the Research Spectrum (STARS): 

 

Discovery  emphasizes: mechanism studies, improved disease characterization, gene finding, personalized treatment, disease monitoring, drug discovery, drug delivery, novel algorithm development and discovery software. 

Demonstrationemphasizes: clinical trials, the development of tools for clinical and population decision making, the development of best practices, and the implementation of evidence-based research into clinical settings. 

Dissemination  emphasizes: risk communication, visual design, comparative effectiveness research, patient-provider communication, bioethics, and translation to population health. 

The T32 will create a community of scholars with commanding knowledge and experiences across all three translational spheres, and a deep commitment to transdisciplinary team science; thereby producing a new generation of scientists with strategic translational emphases whose breadth of knowledge and ability to communicate across the STARS will increase transdisciplinary cross-fertilization, accelerating healthcare advances.   

Our program faculty include leaders across each of these three areas and includes faculty from across health sciences campus.   

Trainees emerging from this program will carry with them a unique set of skills and the expertise to succeed in their chosen focus and achieve their career aspirations

The STARS T32 program is funded by T32 grants (T32TR004394 & T32TR004392) from the NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Science.

Mentoring Team: Each trainee will have  primary and secondary mentors  from two different spheres. (Mentors not included in these lists may also be eligible to participate in the program). Only the primary mentor must be identified at the time of application. The selection process of the secondary mentor will occur during the T32 traineeship. 

Training will include translational science, team science, entrepreneurship, community engagement, ethics, grant and manuscript writing, communication, management, and leadership development. Additionally, trainees will receive holistic mentoring and career guidance.  

Program Requirements: 

  1. Dual-Mentored Research: Each Trainee is required to participate in dual-mentored research with at least one mentor from two of three spheres and should spend time in both mentors’ research space. 

  2. Seminars related to primary and secondary sphere: Trainees will be required to attend seminars related to their research interests in the two spheres. 

  3. Seminar Attendance: Trainees will be required to attend the ‘STARS Conference’ and ‘What is?’ Seminar.  The STARS conference  is designed to guide participants from trainee to translational scholar in a constructive and supportive environment. The presentations from trainees and mentors will be a combination of, immersion reports/discussions, career training, and chalk talks. This course will provide trainees the opportunity to be exposed to research across all three spheres and successful demonstration of team science, and to receive feedback from leadership, faculty, and other trainees. The What is? Seminar brings together program faculty, other experts across the UU campus, and visiting scholars who will present an educational perspective of their research/expertise area. This course will provide training on diverse translational topics across the continuum. Each seminar is 1 hour per month. 

  4. Translational Training Retreat and Translational Medicine Symposium: Trainees will be expected to attend and present at these CTSI-sponsored events. 

  5. Mentoring Team: Trainees will be expected to organize and meet with a mentoring team consisting of 2 scientific mentors (from 2 spheres), a near-peer mentor (junior faculty aligned with their interests), and will be assigned an administrative mentor (from the training grant leadership). 

  6. Individual Development Plan (IDP): Trainees are expected to complete an IDP and regularly review the IDP with their mentoring team. 

  7. Immersions (3 x 10-hour): The goal of immersions is to use experiential learning to add translational breadth. All trainees are required to undertake three immersions (10-hour minimum per immersion) in the Spring/Summer semesters. All trainees are required to do 1 immersion in diversity, equity or inclusion. Immersions opportunities include clinical (e.g., shadowing), laboratory (wet or dry), externships, and entrepreneurial opportunities. 

  8. Grant Writing/Scientific Writing Course: All trainees will be required to take a grant writing/scientific writing course (Grant writing course MDCRC 6450 is encouraged) during the second year of their appointment.  

  9. STARS-bridge Proposal: Working with primary and secondary scientific mentors, trainees will write a three-page report articulating how their primary research project could connect to a secondary sphere in future research. The goal of this project is to provide example-based, hands-on exploration of the opportunities and specifics to bridging translational domains. This short report also provides a concrete experience in team science within the mentoring model. Required for all trainees at the end of August at the end of Year 1 or beginning of Year 2. 

  10. Leadership and Career Development and Management I & II (1.0 CR each):This 8-hour training will help trainees identify and understand their values, strengths, and professional identity; and to apply those factors to improve their impact through their research. Leadership and career development topics include: value identification; networking and knowing one’s message; relating well to peers, leaders, and staff; and how to use skills and goals to have an impact. Career guidance and management training includes: communication skills (elevator pitches, presentations, job talks), negotiation, resilience, and project management (planning, budgeting, staffing, giving feedback). 

  11. Clinical and Community Outreach: At the conclusion of their two-year training, trainees will present their research at appropriate clinical grand rounds or Science Café. The Science Café is a Utah CTSI initiative that brings scientific and clinical experts into the community to discuss strategies to promote health and addresses a topic of study facilitated by the Utah CTSI.  

  12. Responsible Conduct of Research: All trainees are required to complete Responsible Conduct of Research Training offered through the CTSI and Research Education (REd) Office:  Responsible Conduct of Research Certificate 

  13. Program Evaluations: Trainees will be required to fill out annual evaluation surveys. 

Sample Schedule

Contact Us

Shaylee Scott
Program Assistant
Email: shaylee.scott@hsc.utah.edu

Lyalya Sultanova
Grants & Contracts Officer
Email: lyalya.sultanova@hsc.utah.edu

Jennifer Zitterkoph
Associate Director, Grants & Contracts
Phone: 801-213-1504
Email: jennifer.zitterkoph@hsc.utah.edu