“I’m honored to be selected as the president of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science,” Dr. Shekhar said. “Our goal over the next year will be to continue to create a greater awareness about the power of translational medicine, the impact it could have on our nation’s health, and attract more young investigators into working in the translational aspects of biomedical research.”
ACTS was formed this year following the merger of three scientific societies: the Society for Clinical and Translational Science, the Association for Clinical Research Training and the Association for Patient-Oriented Research. The merger of these three prestigious organizations, which are focused on various aspects of translational science, will help the translational medicine community speak with a louder, more unified voice on policy issues, such as encouraging continued government support of scientific research. Translational science is the process by which new discoveries in the laboratory are turned into new medical treatments and therapies.
Dr. Shekhar, director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute, previously served as president-elect of the Society for Clinical and Translational Science, a national organization with a mission to advance research and education in clinical and translational science to improve human health. The society was founded in 2008 to enhance the goals set by the National Institutes of Health after the establishment of its Clinical and Translational Science Award to support 60 centers focuses on clinical and translational research across the United States.
ACTS has more than 6,000 members, including directors and investigators from all 60 CTSA centers as well as representatives from the NIH and industrial partners such as Merck and Pfizer.
As president of ACTS, Dr. Shekhar aims to increase the diverse types of researchers and young investigators engaged in the ACTS mission, with an emphasis on mentorship and research excellence. He also expects to encourage greater international participation in the group, noting that the U.S. model of re-engineering translational medicine is being emulated by other countries. The Australian government has begun to develop a national network akin to the CTSA Consortium in the United States, and the European Union, China and the United Kingdom are implementing similar projects, or channeling funds into translational science.
“Large investments are being put into biomedical research across the globe, and many countries are considering how to reorganize to emphasize those things supported by translational science, such as commercialization and accelerating the process by which new research makes an impact on human health,” he said.
ACTS membership is open to members of all institutions within the CTSA Consortium, including Indiana University, Purdue University and University of Notre Dame.