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4.15.2014

Clinical and Translational Investigation Master’s Program Prepares Future Leaders in Research

At the heart of its mission, the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) helps researchers through all phases of translating research into meaningful health advances. A critical component of the mission’s success is training future team leaders in the principles of translational science and clinical research.

That’s why the CTSI has developed a Master’s of Science in Clinical and Translational Investigation program designed to provide formal graduate training to new and early stage investigators who will be prepared to deal with the challenges facing translational research — institutional culture and practice, scientific complexity of translational research design and methodology, and regulatory and ethical processes.

The 30-credit program is open to academically qualified students from all research backgrounds who are currently enrolled in a terminal degree program or have completed a terminal scientific or healthcare degree.

Students complete structured courses, participate in small group seminars, and develop a K-award, R21 or R01-type research proposal, which serves as their thesis.

“Research and research funding is increasingly moving from the lab of an independent investigator to interdisciplinary team science that involves investigators with a variety of content and scientific perspective,” said Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., professor and Executive Vice Chair of Pediatrics, Director of the Mailman Center for Child Development, and MSCTI program director. “The Master’s of Science in Clinical and Translational Investigation offers young investigators the opportunity to understand this new research reality, to learn the content and skills necessary for success, and to initiate their first professional steps in this direction.”

Fourth-year radiation oncology resident Alexandra Diaz, M.D., entered the master’s program last year after deciding she wanted to be a clinical investigator. Diaz discovered her interest in research after working on cancer biomarkers as a research fellow. “I like the idea of being able to innovate, find new things and to try to fill the gaps in treatment for patients with cancer,” said Diaz. “The program makes you aware of multiple issues you might face doing research and gives you the knowledge and training to tackle those issues.”

MSCTI classes are not only composed of students with diverse cultural and educational backgrounds, but also those across disciplines and with varying levels of experience.

Bruce Kava, M.D., associate professor of urology, who joined the Miller School faculty in 2000 and is currently developing a multidisciplinary men’s health center to advance the treatment of post-oncologic sexual health issues, is in his second year of the MSCTI program. He was introduced to the program through the CTSI’s Foundations of Translational Research Boot Camp — an intensive 40-hour annual course that presents a conceptual framework of clinical and translational research.

“Working here for as long as I have, you can feel like you’re working in a silo, but building teams is extremely important to advance science,” said Kava. “Through this program, I am building collaborations with researchers across the University.”

Applications for the fall 2014 semester are being accepted until May 15. Tuition remission is available to University of Miami employees. To learn more about the program or to apply, visit miamictsi.org/education/masters-program.

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