Scientific discovery of new treatments and methods to improve health and quality of life is an important priority for the IU School of Medicine. With a goal to be among the top 10 public medical schools receiving funding from National Institutes of Health, the IU School of Medicine is committed to ensuring our faculty and investigators have access to quality research space and resources to engage in all types of research, including basic, translational and clinical. The school has several initiatives underway to help build its national reputation as a leading medical research institution.
Transforming Research Initiative (TRI)
The IU School of Medicine’s five-year strategic plan for research has seven themes: cancer, cardiovascular, neuroscience, obesity/metabolism, personalized medicine, health services research and regenerative medicine. While many academic health centers promote similar research themes, the IU School of Medicine looks for ways to focus our interests scientifically within these fields to create nationally visible areas of particular strength through targeted recruitment and program development. Other TRI goals include fostering an environment of team science; improving research communication; evaluating and improving the school’s cores, centers and institutes; strengthening recruitment and retention; and developing robust career-stage mentoring plans.
Strategic Research Initiative
IU School of Medicine and Indiana University Health are investing $150 million over five years in a new research collaboration, the Strategic Research Initiative, to enhance the institutions' joint capabilities in fundamental scientific investigation, translational research and clinical trials that will result in innovative treatments for disease. The first research priorities for the SRI are cancer, cardiovascular and neuroscience.
Indiana Physician Scientist Initiative
Capitalizing on the unique skills investigators with medical degrees bring to scientific research, the IU School of Medicine created the Indiana Physician Scientist Initiative. The program, supported by a $60 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, strengthens the school’s translational research capabilities while providing the resources necessary to support the addition of 20 or more established physician researchers at the school.
Physician scientists not only bridge the laboratory to the clinic and vice versa, they are also role models for future physician scientists. Due to their extensive training, physician scientists have a distinct competitive advantage in the quest for NIH-supported research funding. In essence, physician scientists are the foundation upon which medical schools build their research enterprise.
Additionally, as the pharmaceutical industry evolves to a new model in which substantially less basic research is conducted in house with an increased reliance on academia for discovery of promising therapeutic agents and a higher level of clinical validation, academic institutions are faced with both responsibility and opportunity to extend research findings farther into clinical testing than ever before. Physician scientists are uniquely trained to fill this role.
Along with recruiting physician researchers to IU School of Medicine, the Physician Scientist Initiative:
- Places $10 million in an endowment to strengthen the school’s M.D./Ph.D. education program – the Medical Scientist Training Program.
- Invests $8 million in the Indiana Biobank, which houses the biological samples necessary to conduct modern biomedical research and to support specialists needed to manage Biobank data.
- Provides $2 million to expand the school’s international programs, building on its clinical and research programs in Kenya.
- Invests $2 million in ITRAC, a program that works with scientists to map out the steps necessary to take a scientific discovery from the laboratory to patient testing.