Translational Technologies and Resources (TTR)

The Delaware Valley Unit for Translational Technologies and Resources (TTR) is a coordinated network of shared core technologies. TTR provides cross-institutional oversight through management, training and evaluation expertise, in support of clinical and translational research and education. TTR offers state-of-the art research instrumentation, with a resident expert available at each center. The Unit also supports new developments from the Novel Clinical and Translational Methodologies (NCTM) activities, and will manage the core facilities that are planned for the Delaware Valley Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (DVICTS) community.

Given the rising costs to acquire technology, and the increasing importance of shared-use, fee-for-service facilities, the TTR core will play a critical role in facilitating and accelerating the translation of research discoveries to both the bedside and the community. For example, biomarker validation and translation may require the application of different technologies. This may involve assays on a mass spectrometer or the development of monoclonal antibodies for immunoassays, to demonstrate reliable utility of the marker before it is made available to the broad community. Molecular biomarker studies are based on the analysis of clinical samples which rely on access to "omic" measurements (e.g., proteomics). The analysis of these datasets relies on the study design as well as on bioinformatics, to produce useful biological information.
The TTR plays an essential role in facilitating the discovery and translational process: from biostatistics services, through the Delaware Valley Unit for Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design (BERD); to aid in study design through tissue procurement and preparation services; to access to omic technologies to bioinformatics services through the Delaware Valley Unit for Biomedical Informatics (BMI); to new technologies for validation and testing. The importance of the TTR infrastructure is not unique to DVICTS, but is part of the advancement of modern clinical and translational research throughout the nation. The Unit forms a seamless infrastructure to support all DVICTS investigators, by maintaining current technology, and developing new paradigms for core facility management. Within this framework, TTR will pursue the following three specific aims:

  • Aim 1. Provide DVICTS-affiliated researchers and trainees with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and highly-qualified support personnel at each of the DVICTS partner sites. TTR will enable researchers to conduct leading-edge basic and clinical research. This collection of facilities will not only serve existing researchers and clinicians, but will also be a recruiting tool to attract new investigators and students into the DVICTS Network.

  • Aim 2. Improve the use, accessibility, and management of the core instrumentation centers within the DVICTS partner institutions through a centrally coordinated framework. Once the core instrumentation centers are established, DVICTS proposes an innovative coordinating framework that will decrease duplication of resources and reduce cost to the researchers and institutions.

  • Aim 3. Develop new mechanisms to match researcher needs for core instrumentation support with resources available within the DVICTS partner institutions. In partnership with BMI activities, a suite of advanced web-based tools will enable rapid and intuitive searches of available resources, to expand the search horizon of the researcher. Faculty with grants under the Pilot and Collaborative Translational and Clinical Studies Program (PCTCS) program will be eligible for core fee waivers to further enhance their research productivity. Waivers can be used for access to core center instrumentation and core center-based experts to discuss the development of research plans.

This effort benefits from existing resources and commitments to core facilities such as those from the Kimmel Cancer Center (KCC) and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI), as well as the Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) programs.