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January 7, 2009

Thursday program marks first year of new statewide life sciences institute

INDIANAPOLIS — A top National Institutes of Health executive and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will join state leaders in life sciences Thursday for the first annual meeting of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).

The institute is a few months shy of being a full year old, but the meeting will highlight the activities and accomplishments of the statewide program so far. The Indiana CTSI was created to improve the process by which basic scientific research is turned into new health care treatments for patients – a process called translational research.

The Indiana CTSI is a collaboration of Indiana and Purdue Universities, and the University of Notre Dame, along with many public and private sector organizations that support life sciences and health care research activities in the state. The Indiana CTSI was funded by a five-year, $25 million grant to the IU School of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health in May 2008.

Giving the first of two keynote addresses at 9:15 a.m., Gov. Daniels will discuss Indiana’s life science initiatives. He will be followed by Barbara Alving, M.D., director of the National Center for Research Resources, the NIH agency that oversees the Clinical and Translational Science Awards that fund the Indiana CTSI and similar organizations across the country. She will discuss "The CTSAs and NIH vision."

The NIH created the translational science awards program to encourage the development of regional efforts to speed up with process of moving research discoveries from the "bench to the bedside." Indiana is one of 38 recipients of such grants made to leading medical research institutions around the country.

"In the coming years, the Indiana CTSI will be developing an ambitious program to bring together Indiana's academic institutions, hospitals, life sciences industries, physicians, patients and health insurance payors to increase biomedical research, develop new treatments and design model programs that combine improved health care with economic development," said Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Indiana CTSI and Raymond E. Houk Professor of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine.

On Thursday, academic and business collaborations arising from Indiana CTSI efforts will be discussed by David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads, which provides financial and marketing services to support development of life sciences business in Indiana.

Other partners in the Indiana CTSI include the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, health care providers including Clarian Health and Wishard Health Services, life sciences businesses including Eli Lilly and Co., Cook Group and Wellpoint, and state and local health departments.

Thursday's program will also include presentations on the Indiana CTSI's internet-based "hub" resource center, CTSI projects and a poster session.

The program will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Health Information and Translational Sciences Building, 410 W. 10th St., Indianapolis.

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Media Contact:

Eric Schoch
(317) 274-7722