Mike's Blog

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  • By: Michael G. Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., NCATS Director of the Division of Clinical Innovation COVID continues to prove itself remarkably tenacious and provided a Thanksgiving surprise with a new variant of concern, omicron. For those keeping track, we’re now about two-thirds of the way through the Greek alphabet. If we run out of Greek letters, WHO has considered using constellations which means the
  • By: Michael G. Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., NCATS Director of the Division of Clinical Innovation The last 21 months have witnessed the most significant upheaval in our lives, both professional as well as personal due to COVID (and we’re still not out of the woods yet). During this time, NCATS has managed to issue the next generation suite of FOAs for the CTSA program as well as hold two technical
  • By: Audie Atienza, Ph.D., NCATS Program Officer; Sanae ElShourbagy Ferreira, Ph.D., NCATS Health Specialist; and Michael G. Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., NCATS Director of the Division of Clinical Innovation While SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated remarkable tenacity in terms of successfully navigating pharmaceutical as well as non-pharmaceutical interventions with waves of new variants throughout this pandemic

  • First a bit on COVID, then a small request. COVID will surely provide a wealth of material for future Monday morning armchair quarterbacking. One aspect (among many) of the overall public health response that has received harsh and severe criticism has been the approach, style, and substance of communications with the general public. From the WHO’s early tagline of ‘we have no evidence’ to the

  • A publication in Science Translational Medicine from last month, ‘Undiagnosed SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States’ is noteworthy for several highlights. Beyond the science of the article itself, the fact that this work represents the efforts of two CTSAs (University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Clinical and Translational Science

  • By: Dr. Sanae ElShourbagy Ferreira, NCATS Health Specialist and Dr. Michael G. Kurilla, NCATS Director of the Division of Clinical Innovation Although COVID-19 infections are decreasing and vaccinations among the adult population hover around 50%, COVID-19 is not quite yet in our rear-view mirror due to a combination of uncertainty regarding durability of immunity conferred by either vaccination
  • The ‘Un-Meeting’ format which begins with a topic and little in the way of an agenda offers a unique opportunity to explore areas where multiple types of stakeholders with multiple perspectives can interact to focus attention on an issue for which there is no clear ownership or leadership. In this manner, areas that struggle to define themselves begin to come into focus. Recently, the CTSA
  • Guest Blog by Dr. Joni L. Rutter, NCATS Acting Director Greetings! It is my pleasure to be a guest on Mike’s Blog this month. While I have not yet met some of you, I hope this can serve as an introduction in my new capacity as Acting Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. It has just been a few weeks since Dr. Austin’s departure, and you may be wondering how this
  • Guest Blog by Dr. Audie Atienza, NCATS Program Officer and Dr. Sanae ElShourbagy Ferreira, NCATS Health Specialist On March 26, 2021, The CTSA Program held an “Un-meeting”, organized by CLIC and CTSC of Cleveland, on the topic of “Tackling the Digital Divide to Improve Telehealth”. This un-meeting brought together 104 participants, representing 32 CTSA hubs, to inform the consortium and those
  • Public health now has a 3rd arrow in its quiver in the form of another COVID vaccine. The J&J vaccine is the first to offer a single dose with refrigeration requirements suitable for a wider array of health care settings. All that said, vaccine hesitancy remains an obstacle to an effective public health response. In this regard, CTSAs are playing a critical role in addressing public concerns about

  • The CTSA Program strives to deliver scientific and system changes that solve the many outstanding problems limiting the efficiency, effectiveness, and reach of clinical translational research, and thus get more treatments to more patients more quickly across the country. As the largest clinical translational science network and as an exemplar to team science, NCATS envisions the CTSA Program

  • We have arrived in 2021, hopeful for scientific advances to curb this pandemic once and for all. Our preparedness and readiness have been crucial in the development and implementation of several clinical trials leading the way in identifying safe and effective therapies and diagnostics for COVID-19. During this process we have witnessed incredible levels of innovation and adaptation, from the N3C

  • We have now completed a full cycle of virtual CTSA Program meetings where we had the opportunity to share each other’s presence – from a healthy and safe distance. Remarkably, during such a challenging year, we have managed to remain engaged and maintain quality and participation in our meetings under these “new normal” virtual gatherings. Summarizing a meeting with so many highlights is no easy

  • As COVID-19 continues as a top priority at all levels of our research enterprise, finding strategies to contain the spread of the virus and better treat the disease and its complications remains paramount. RADx-UP is an NIH initiative to support the development of community-engaged projects across the United States to assess and expand COVID-19 testing for underserved and/or vulnerable populations

  • As fall begins and with multiple promising treatment approaches to improve outcomes in COVID-19 coming to light, it is of critical need to rapidly implement trials to further study and confirm (or reject) these preliminary findings through well-designed randomized controlled clinical trials. As such, the resources, infrastructure and expertise throughout the CTSA consortium – including our Trial

  • “I wish that I could fly Into the sky So very high Just like a dragonfly I'd fly above the trees Over the seas in all degrees To anywhere I please Oh I want to get away I want to fly away Yeah yeah yeah” - Lenny Kravitz
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rampage across the globe and now some nations previously lauded for their infection control practice are seeing a resurgence, along with emerging science suggesting not only a very low infectious dose, but also efficient asymptomatic transmission, the focus on COVID interventions both treatment and prevention is heating up. Across the United States, several

  • During the past several months (there are times when the weeks feel like days and then others when the days feel like months), we have been working to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by creating a centralized, secure, cloud-based clinical data portal. To this end, NCATS recently launched the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) to build a centralized national data resource that focuses

  • Spring has come and gone, and we find ourselves at the official start of Summer in a just few days. With the relativity of time now having been tested for several months by our distancing measures as well as our circadian rhythms being completely discombobulated (how many others long to be re-combobulated?) due to continuous and consistent telework, our CTSA Fall Program meeting is suddenly on the

  • Switching the Spring CTSA Program meeting from in-person to virtual was not a simple task but I believe we were able to really pull this off. With CLIC’s coordination and a great effort from the group leads, CLIC coordinators and meeting participants, the virtual gatherings included key topics, lively chats and extremely fruitful discussions. Overall, the level of engagement was palpable (from a