Researchers in laboratory
Research labs at JABSOM

Mountain West Research Consortium: Improving clinical and translational research

There’s a different kind of “Mountain West”—this one isn’t about athletics, it’s about research, and the University of Hawai`i Mānoa is a part of it.

The “Mountain West Research Consortium,” founded in March 2009, was formed to strengthen biomedical research throughout 13 universities by leveraging each other’s activities.

The National Institute of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded a $20.3 million grant to the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) to support the work of the consortium.

Called an “Institutional Development Award” (or, IDeA), the goal is to attract more promising faculty and students.

Over five years, the 13 university partners will work as a “Clinical and Translational Research Infrastructure Network” (or CTR-IN), sharing resources and expertise designed to create new or better treatments that can be delivered in a rapid fashion from the laboratory to the bedside of patients.

Representing the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa are Dr. Bruce Shiramizu, Professor in the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Departments of Pediatrics and Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, and Pharmacology; and Dr. John Chen, JABSOM Professor and Director, Biostatistics and Data Management Core, John A. Burns School of Medicine;  and Dr. Merle Kataoka-Yahiro, Associate Professor in the UHM School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene.

Dr. Shiramizu will serve as Principal Investigator for the UH subcontract and serve as a Co-Director of the Mentoring Unit.  He will lead mentoring activities, coordinate mini-sabbaticals and a “visiting scholar program” with Co-Director, Dr. Pope Moseley from the UNLV.  Dr. John Chen will assist with the overall biostatistical services needed by the network of university partners.  Dr. Merle Kataoka-Yahiro will manage the individual on-line courses, seminars and workshops. Kataoka-Yahiro will work as Co-Director of the Education Unit with Dr. Craig Molgaard from the University of Montana.

Over five years, UHM will receive approximately $500,000 but will be eligible for resources which include pilot grant support, mini-sabbaticals and visiting scholar awards.  The resources available will help UHM investigators improve research capacity at the institutional level and increase the likelihood for future independent funding.  This partnership will leverage the resources from the “RCMI Multidisciplinary And Translational Research Infrastructure Expansion” (RMATRIX) program funded by NIH/NIMHD. JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges is Principal Investigator.

This article by Tina Shelton originally appeared on the JABSOM news website UHMedNow (September 17, 2013).