The University of Rochester Medical Center’s new strategic plan represents the logical next step in URMC’s research evolution. It builds on a remarkably successful plan developed in 1996 that effectively restored URMC’s declining basic science prowess by investing a half-billion dollars in modern research facilities and key faculty recruitments. That investment sparked the expansion of research faculty from 304 to 484, which drove NIH funding to more than double from $70 million to $159 million.
The 1996 plan created six new research programs organized around disease or discipline-based programs. This turnaround and the basic science programs it spawned form the foundation for the 2007-2012 plan. Rather than build more research centers from the ground up, this new plan blends expertise now at the Medical Center with strategic recruits to form virtual, collaborative research centers.
To achieve the goals set forth in the 2007-2012 plan, the University of Rochester Medical Center has focused on nine high priority clinical and research programs. They are signature programs in which – with strategic investments in people and facilities – URMC can stake its reputation for innovation and excellence.
Integrated Disease Programs
The Medical Center will organize itself around five major disease areas – focusing research, teaching, and patient care services on the conditions that plague large segments of our population. These Integrated Disease Programs (IDPs) reflect not only disease prevalence, but also represent disciplines in which URMC already has built considerable research and clinical expertise. Within these IDPs, the emphasis will be on translating basic discoveries to patient care, and developing novel therapies that extend and improve health.
The Medical Center’s five Integrated Disease Programs include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Immunology and infectious disease
- Musculoskeletal disease
The plan calls for recruiting new clinical/translational scientists to augment faculty already working in the IDP areas. To further encourage collaboration, many of these scientists will be jointly recruited by departments, centers and programs within the IDP.
URMC will support the translational efforts in these signature programs by strengthening its current research cores – fundamental technologies and programs shared by all of its scientific programs. These investments will provide an advantage to all URMC scientists, not only those in the signature programs.
New Innovative Science Programs
The second major focus of the strategic plan will be to invest in emerging research areas that will catalyze discoveries within the signature programs. Four new Innovative Science Programs (ISPs) will be established, chosen because they have promising application to cancer, cardiovascular disease, immunology and infectious disease, orthopaedics, and neuromedicine. They also represent disciplines in which we already have the fundamentals of a strong program, or they represent areas we seek to strengthen in order to remain competitive.
In all four ISPs, there are strong opportunities for commercialization. In keeping with our effort to foster cross-campus collaboration, three of the new centers are joint ventures between the Medical Center and the University’s College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.
The four newly established Innovative Science Programs include:
- Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine.
- Biomedical Imaging and Biomarkers (joint with the College)
- Nanomedicine (joint with the College)
- Genomics and Systems Biology (joint with the College)
Together, the 60 new recruits to our signature programs will represent a $50 million infusion of new talent. These strategic recruits will help us take full advantage of emerging areas of scientific inquiry that have application across all disease areas.
Investing in Translational Medicine
The Clinical and Translational Sciences Building (CTSB) will serve as an integrated home for clinical and translational research at the Medical Center. The new 150,000 square-foot facility will enable URMC to consolidate heretofore scattered programs and resources under a single roof including scientific disciplines, education and training programs, critical support operations, and several large clinical research programs.
Specifically, the building will be home to programs and resources that help scientists and clinicians overcome the administrative, technological and regulatory challenges to advancing their research. These include: expanded biostatistics and biomedical informatics departments that will assist researchers in developing advanced systems of data development, storage and analysis; greater access to specialized and expensive research technologies and equipment; and programs that will increase community participation in clinical trials. The building will also house the hub of the Upstate New York Translational Research Network – a research consortium consisting of the region’s 10 major biomedical research institutions.
Coalescing clinical and translational investigators and research infrastructure in one facility will accelerate the process of harnessing scientific breakthroughs to improve health. Collectively, these programs will make the Medical Center a more effective and efficient clinical science enterprise and a stronger competitor for government and private research dollars.
The CTSB will also enable the Medical Center to expand its basic science activity by freeing up 20,000 square feet of space in the MRBX research building that is currently occupied by programs slated to move into the new facility. Once renovated into wet labs, this space will accommodate 12-18 new investigators and their labs.
Read an overview document, listen to podcasts, review Strategic Plan Executive Summary, and more.