The path forward is clear: To continue and enhance the development of a robust coordinating center that combines the individual University of California health campuses into a model virtual biomedical research institution.
That’s the conclusion reached by representatives of the University of California Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration, and Development (UC BRAID) program during an annual retreat held at UC San Diego on Oct. 15. About 70 translational medicine researchers, administrative leaders, staff and faculty representing seven UC campuses met to discuss next steps along the path, identify potential research intersections and share the achievements for UC BRAID.
UC BRAID leaders, from left: Clay Johnston, UCSF; Dan M.
Cooper, UCI; Gary S. Firestein, UCSD; Lars Berglund, UCD;
and Steven M. Dubinett, UCLA; with Steven Beckwith,
UCOP. Photo by Christina McCabe
“The largest role for BRAID is enabling partnerships, and that will help us reach our goal of reducing barriers to biomedical research,” said Gary S. Firestein, MD, UC BRAID chair, director of UC San Diego’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute and dean and associate vice chancellor of translational medicine at UC San Diego.
Established in 2010, UC BRAID, in collaboration with the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), is a joint effort of the five UC biomedical campuses to catalyze, accelerate, and reduce the barriers for biomedical, clinical, and translational research across the UC system. The UC BRAID consortium – UC’s Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco – pools data, resources and expertise to reach this goal. UC Riverside and Santa Cruz also participated in this year’s UC BRAID meeting.
Major successes of UC BRAID highlighted at the 2013 retreat include:
- UC-Research eXchange consortium (UC-ReX): UC BRAID launched the consortium’s first tool from UC ReX, namely the Data Explorer, building the first cross-campus clinical query system capable of exchanging patient-level data, as well as aggregates (counts and descriptive statistics). The UC ReX Data Explorer enables search of 12 million de-identified patient records from the five UC medical centers with one query.
- U54 Center for Accelerated Innovation (CAI): NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute awarded $12 million to UC to create a Center for Accelerated Innovation (CAI). UC BRAID oversees this new center aimed at translating innovations into improved health.
“An important part of UC BRAID’s mission is to improve UC collaborative research opportunities. UC ReX is a great example of how UC BRAID accomplishes this,” said Firestein, who went on to laud the CAI as a UC BRAID accomplishment. “The new U54 CAI is a remarkable example of inter-institutional collaboration.”