Clinical and Translational Research

We are committed to interinstitutional interdisciplinary team science, and our strong commitment is reflected in our leadership structure. The participating Institutes all have long and excellent track records in collaborative interdisciplinary clinical and translational research including multi-center clinical trials.

Track Record in Clinical and Translational Research

UTHSC

UTHSC is a community-based academic health center and a tertiary referral center that has a rich tradition of supporting excellence in basic, clinical, and translational research. UTHSC faculty and staff receive an average of about $85 million in external funding annually for research. UTHSC ranked 84th out of 141 in NIH funding in FY16 with several departments ranked in the top tiers of NIH-funded departments, including the Department of Preventive Medicine. There are several large ongoing studies that demonstrate our commitment to clinical and translational research, some of which are noted below.

Tulane University

Tulane University is committed to the highest level of research accomplishment and has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as a university with “Highest Research Activity.” This distinction is shared by only 2% of more than 4,300 higher educational institutions rated by the foundation nationwide. Approximately 950 research projects are funded each year at Tulane University in the sciences, social sciences, medicine, liberal arts and other disciplines. University-wide research efforts have garnered approximately $160 million in the past fiscal year from organizations such as NIH, CDC, NSF, DOD, and foundations. Some examples of Tulane University’s ongoing studies are noted below.

UMMC

UMMC is the only academic medical center in the State of Mississippi and has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as a university with “Highest Research Activity.”  Over 350 research projects are funded each year at UMMC with over 200 clinical trials being conducted that address a spectrum of clinical diseases that affect our citizens and patients. UMMC receives approximately $70M annually in research funding from federal, state and private organizations. There are also several large ongoing studies that demonstrate our commitment to clinical and translational research, some of which are noted below.

Participation in Translational and Clinical Studies

Bogalusa Heart Study

A landmark study of CVD risk factors in a biracial cohort of >12,000 children aged 5-14 years at baseline in Bogalusa, LA. Over 45 years of follow-up, the study has contributed >1,000 scientific publications.

Cardiovascular Dynamics and Their Control

UMMC is home to one of the longest running (37 years) NIH Program Project grants. A key objective of this research program has been to translate understanding of basic mechanisms of cardiovascular control to the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure and hypertension.

Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study

The CRIC Study is a NIDDK-supported longitudinal cohort study of 5,499 adults aged 21-79 years at baseline with mild to advanced Chronic Kidney Disease CKD from 13 clinical centers in the US. The CRIC Study was designed to investigate risk factors for the progression of CKD and development of Cardiovascular Disease CVD.

Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy GENOA

GENOA was one of the networks of the NHLBI Family Blood Pressure Program. The GENOA field center at UMMC followed a cohort of approximately 2,000 African-American hypertensive sibships.

Genetic Epidemiology Network of Salt Sensitivity (GenSalt)

The GenSalt Study is a family-based dietary feeding study to identify genetic variants which are associated with individual blood pressure (BP) responses to dietary sodium and potassium intervention in 1906 participants from 658 families. Multiple novel variants for sodium sensitivity of BP have been reported.

IMPACTS

Implementation of Multifaceted Patient-Centered Treatment Strategies for Intensive Blood Pressure Control is a NHLBI-supported cluster trial among 1,260 low-income, rural, or ethnic minority patients with hypertension from 36 Federally Qualified Health Center FQHC clinics in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes)

Look AHEAD is a multicenter randomized clinical trial funded by NIDDK that was launched in 2000 to examine the effects of a lifestyle intervention designed to achieve and maintain weight loss over the long term through decreased caloric intake and exercise. Look AHEAD focused on the diseases most affected by overweight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and on the outcome that causes the greatest morbidity and mortality, cardiovascular disease. Look AHEAD demonstrated that substantial and sustained weight loss is possible in persons with type II diabetes. Look AHEAD continues in an observational phase.

Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention (SPRINT)

SPRINT was a multi-centered clinical trial that found that treating blood pressure (BP) to a target systolic pressure goal of < 120 mm Hg is superior to treating to < 140 mm Hg in reducing cardiovascular events. These findings resulted in changes in hypertension guidelines worldwide. The study is ongoing in an observational phase examining the cognitive effects of BP control.

Women’s Health Initiative (WHI)

WHI is a long-term national health study funded by the NHLBI that focuses on strategies for preventing heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women. Launched in 1993, the WHI enrolled 161,808 women aged 50-79 into one or more randomized clinical trials, testing the health effects of hormone therapy, dietary modification and/or calcium and vitamin D supplementation, or to an Observational Study. At the end of the initial study period in 2005, WHI Extension Studies (2005-2010, 2010-2020) continued follow-up of all women who consented. UTHSC was a Vanguard site for WHI.

Jackson Heart Study

A population-based longitudinal study based in Jackson, Mississippi. The JHS is the largest single-site, prospective, epidemiologic investigation of cardiovascular disease among African Americans ever undertaken. It is also the largest study in history to investigate the inherited (genetic) factors that affect high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other important diseases in African Americans.

Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC)

The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), is a prospective epidemiologic study conducted in four U.S. communities, including Jackson, MS. ARIC is designed to investigate the etiology and natural history of atherosclerosis, the etiology of clinical atherosclerotic diseases, and variation in cardiovascular risk factors, medical care and disease by race, gender, location, and date.