EmailEmail    |   Bookmark Page Bookmark  |   RSS Feeds RSS  |   Print Page Print  

    From Discovery to Treatment, the Promise of the CTSI


    The vision of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) is to create a borderless, complementary and synergistic research environment in southeast Wisconsin to translate discoveries into better health of our citizens, while simultaneously creating comprehensive education and training programs to develop the next generation of clinical and translational researchers.

    Directed by Reza Shaker, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, the CTSI represents a unique collaboration of eight institutions in southeastern Wisconsin, the Medical College of WI, Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of WI, VA Medical Center, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Marquette University, University of WI–Milwaukee and Milwaukee School of Engineering. The CTSI is overseen by a Board of Directors, comprised of the highest academic leaders of the partnering institutions and is chaired by Jonathan Ravdin, MD, Dean and Executive Vice President of the Medical College.

    In the fall of 2009, Dr. Shaker, as the PI, led the effort in submitting a $20,000,000 CTSA proposal to the National Center for Research Resources, one of the largest institutional grants ever to be awarded to the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Collaboration and cooperation among representatives of the eight partner institutions was key to obtaining this grant. Without their tireless efforts, this would have been impossible to achieve,” states Shaker.

    Through the partnership’s existing strengths and expertise, the CTSI provides access to multi-institutional research resources usually found only on large university campuses. To meet its goal of advancing the translational science and its application to patient care and improving health, the CTSI is building the infrastructure to provide resources and advanced technologies that support investigators and collaborators with the administrative, informatics, Bio-informatics, clinical, and scientific tools necessary to efficiently conduct interdisciplinary, translational studies. To support these collaborative efforts, the CTSI Pilot Grant program has provided $720,000 in funding to 17 research teams comprised of 36 researchers from MCW and 16 from the partnering institutions in the past two years. To increase the cadre of translational researchers, the CTSI in collaboration with MCW Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences has developed a Ph.D. program in Basic and Translational Research and a Master of Science degree in Clinical and Translational Science. MS in Clinical and Translational
    Science offers 3 tracks:

    1. Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Research: An existing Program serving mainly medical fellows and faculty
    2. Translational Research: Bench to Bedside: A track intended for basic scientists interested in moving laboratory discoveries toward clinical utility
    3. Development of Drugs, Devices and Diagnostics: A track for those interested in moving the fruits of clinical and translational research toward the market; business courses at Marquette are included in the curriculum

    In addition, CTSI is collaborating with Marquette University to develop a Ph.D. program in Clinical and Translational Rehabilitation Health Sciences. 

    The CTSI has several other components that are fully operational, including the Clinical Translational Research Support Office (CTRSO). The CTRSO is a “one stop shop” support entity that provides faculty interested in clinical and translational research with personalized assistance. Specifically, researchers can receive assistance with:

    • Protocol development (e.g. generation of a testable hypothesis, rationale for the study, technical and funding needs)
    • Consultation with statistical design and analysis
    • Guidance and feedback with grant writing
    • Identifying potential collaborators from one or more of the partnering institutions based on project needs and areas of interest
    • Assistance with working with the IRB, IACUC, bio-safety applications, consultation on bioethics, research integrity, and conflict of interest 

    Facilitating collaboration amongst scientists in one of the most important functions of the CTSI.

    Four CTRSO offices have been established. The office located at Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (MCW-MRMC) serves MCW, the Blood Research Institute, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the Children’s Research Institute, Froedtert Hospital, and the VA Medical Center. The remaining three offices are located at MU, MSOE and UWM. Contacting the campus CTRSO will plug you into the myriad of research support opportunities the CTSI provides (contact information is found at the end of this article).

    Additional support is provided by the CTSI Translational Research Units (TRU). These units, located at Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital, and the VA Center offer:

    • Nursing support
    • Space and equipment for conducting ambulatory studies
    • Discounted rates for ancillary services, and
    • Access to the Core Lab, Exercise Physiology Lab, Bionutrition, Sleep Research Lab, and Cardiac and Vascular Function unit
    • CTSI also provides Biostatistical Support to faculty, including free statistical consultations. Consultations can be obtained through:
      • Drop-in Service which takes place in following locations and times:
        - TRU Office (Froedtert Hospital) L777A – Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
        - MCW Biostatistics Office H2400– Every Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
        - VA Medical Center 111-B-5423 – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, 8:30 – 11:30 am
        - Marquette University – Every Tuesday by appointment
      • Consultation by Appointment (Contact Kellie Bialzik, 456-8280 or submit Application Form)
      • Monthly CTSI-sponsored Biostatistics seminar series: (Check CTSI website for speakers and program dates and times)

    “The array of resources the CTSI offers any Department of Medicine faculty member interested in new research unique opportunities that are typically found on large universities. This is an excellent opportunity to move our department forward,” states Dr. Nattinger, Interim Chairmen, Department of Medicine.

    To get involved or for additional information, please visit the CTSI website: or call at 955-2537.

    To contact the on-campus CTRSO office, please call Michael J. Dunn, MD at 955-2524 or email him at

    For Translational Research Units:

    • Adult TRU (FMLH) and Community TRU – Tom P. Aufderheide, MD FACEP, (414) 805-6452,
    • Pediatric TRU (CHW) – David T. Wyatt, MD (414) 266-6750,
    • Geriatrics/VA TRU (VAMC) – Ann K. Rosenthal, MD, (414) 805-7024,

    Article written by Edward Minter, MBA, Internal Consulting Group