Unique Research Translator appointment14 Dec 2007, PR 203/07 Dr Julie Lotharius has been appointed as the UK's first university-based Research Translator. She will embark on a ground-breaking pilot scheme, based at King's, identifying opportunities for translating laboratory research into human studies as the basis of new clinical practice.
The translational research model is already used in the pharmaceutical industry, but the development in an academic and teaching hospital setting is new, with Dr Lotharius only the second person in the UK to hold a full-time research translator post.
Dr Lotharius has been previously involved in research activities and translation in Sweden, Denmark and the US. At King's she will assess the diversity of research projects currently running throughout the Health Schools, in particular the five specialist Medical Research Council Centres based at the College.
She will assess the results of pre-clinical biomedical research for potential development into new therapies that can eventually be evaluated in clinical trials, with the possible support of pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. She will focus on neuroscience projects and those that deal with inflammation, infection and immunity. A translational research unit is planned dependent on the results of this pilot scheme. www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/biohealth/research/wolfson/translational-research.html
Translational research covers a wide range of activities from initial test tube experiments in laboratories through to clinical trials with patients. Dr Lotharius will identify gaps in the research chain, as well as looking at how research projects in pre-clinical and clinical areas might relate to each other. The aim is to exploit efficiently new opportunities, reduce duplication and synthesise projects for more, possibly unexpected, widespread results.
Dr Lotharius comments on her new role: ‘I am very excited about my post because it is the perfect opportunity to use the excellent basic research being conducted at King's to help improve the health of patients both in the community and globally.
‘The aim of this translational research scheme is to ‘exploit' advances in the many disease indications researchers at King's are already focusing on and try to advance them to a stage where they could be of interest to pharmaceutical companies or be used as diagnostic or prognostic tests in the clinic. I have received much interest from researchers at King's who believe their research really can be used to help patients suffering from various incapacitating and life-threatening diseases.
‘The overwhelming response to our translational research call for proposals (67 submissions) clearly attests to this. One of my primary goals is to assist these researchers in obtaining funding from other sources, and to help them tailor their research plans such that they will be more attractive to funding bodies. Thus I see my role as somewhat of a consultant in terms of translational research. I hope to be able to work closely with the Guy's & St Thomas' Charity, the Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry and the Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and scientist on other campuses to fulfil these efforts since many of our goals are complementary.'
Professor Simon Howell, Director of Research Development at King's College London, says of Dr Lotharius' appointment: ‘I am very pleased that Dr Lotharius is taking up this appointment at King's. She has outstanding experience in this field which will be a great asset in this exciting new role.'
Professor Stuart Bevan, project lead at King's College London, who has 10 years of translational research experience in the industry, said: ‘Identifying competing research projects that have a good probability of success will be challenging but enormously rewarding. This is an exhilarating opportunity to increase the efficiency of translating the investment in basic biomedical research findings into improvement in healthcare.'
Funding of £750,000 for this scheme has come from the Medical Research Council (£520,000), Guy's and St Thomas' Charity (£171,000) and King's College London (£60,000).Notes to editors Dr Lotharius
Dr Lotharius started her career as a Research Assistant at The Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia while studying for her bachelor's degree at the University of Pennsylvania, after which she went to Washington University to do her PhD in Neuroscience from 1995-2000. In 2000 she became a post-doctoral fellow at Lund University, Sweden and in 2002 was appointed a Research Scientist at H Lundbeck A/S in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Medical Research Council Centres
King's is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university: Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma; Developmental Neurobiology; Neurodegeneration Research; Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry and Transplantation.
Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
provides funding to support health services in Lambeth and Southwark and benefits the wider NHS.
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher 2007) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has 19,300 students from more than 130 countries, and 5,000 employees. King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an annual income of approximately £400 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.Further information
Kate Moore, Public Relations Department, King's College London, Tel: 020 7848 4334 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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