The 2013 Pediatric Translational Research Workshop for Basic Scientists demonstrated The CHOP Research Institute’s commitment to educating the next generation of leaders in translational science.
Led by a committee of Children’s Hospital faculty and organized by the CHOP Research Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, the weeklong workshop included graduate students, postdocs, and early-career researchers from a number of Philadelphia-area universities. Attendees participated in cutting-edge scientific presentations, clinical visits, and discussions focused on cross-disciplinary collaboration, navigating the Institutional Review Board, and evaluating the ethics of translational research.
“The workshop was designed to provide participants with the fundamental tools and knowledge to bring their basic research discoveries to the clinic,” said Deputy Scientific Director of CHOP Research Tom Curran, PhD, FRS, who was the workshop’s facilitator and the lead faculty organizer.
Sessions spanned the research spectrum, including cystic fibrosis therapies, mitochondrial disease, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Among the leading CHOP researchers who presented were Philip R. Johnson, MD, director of CHOP Research, Louis Bell, MD, chief of the division of general pediatrics, Peter Adamson, MD, chief of the division of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, and fetal surgeon Alan Flake, MD, director of the Center for Fetal Research.
For his part, Dr. Johnson said his job was to make translational research “real” for the attendees. He presented the workshop participants with three examples of how translational research has affected Children’s Hospital patients:
- work done by Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia with T cell therapy
- fetal surgery to correct myelomeningocele, a devastating form of spina bifida, which is led by CHOP’s N. Scott Adzick, MD
- investigation by the University of Pennsylvania’s Albert M. Maguire, MD, and Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, into gene therapy to treat eye disease.
Translational research is not about “instant gratification,” Dr. Johnson said, noting that it can take decades for work to go from the bench to the bedside. But translational research offers investigators the opportunity to see their work pay off and make a positive impact on patients’ lives.