Great Plains IDeA-CTR Annual Science Meeting


Our Second Annual Scientific Meeting was yet another opportunity for the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network to showcase its resources, partners, and researchers. The Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) brings together researchers (spanning basic, translational and clinical work), university or collegiate educators, administrators, healthcare professionals (e.g., physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses), public health experts, and many more. Over 200 people registered for the event which featured presentations about translating research across the clinical and translational spectrum, a panel to discuss study recruitment and retention, poster presentations, another highly anticipated “CTR Superstar” Competition, and an annual update regarding the resources and research supported by the network. The meeting was an opportunity to bring together folks from all over the country who are interested in the growing field of Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) to network and learn.                                          

Team Science was the theme of this year’s two-day conference, and we were honored to host keynote speaker L. Michelle Bennett, PhD, Director of the Center for Research Strategy at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Bennett discussed the importance of multidisciplinary teams as a strong catalyst for translating research. Her presentation, entitled “Team Science for CTR: A marathon not a Sprint,” highlighted the challenges of working within interdisciplinary teams and the characteristics that contribute to successful collaborations. Dr. Bennett indicated that advancing science inherently involves collaborating with experts in other fields and she emphasized the need to establish trust and set expectations within teams. “The idea is to maximize your time researching,” said Dr. Bennett, but by ignoring the interpersonal factors within the team, “you could end up going off the rails and spending more time on personnel issues.”

James Linder, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Nebraska Medicine, also helped us kick off the meeting. Dr. Linder stressed the importance of investing in higher learning. Dr. Linder believes that this investment is what has led to the success we have seen as a nation and has also contributed to science and the world. “The American university is a transformative power in the world,” he said, adding “if we don’t invest in American universities, we are doomed to be on a downward course.”

Both days of the ASM featured breakout sessions. The topics of these sessions were based on a large-scale needs assessment conducted by the GP IDeA-CTR. The sessions focused on 1) clarifying researcher needs to build infrastructure for clinical and translational research and 2) developing action plans to address these needs. These solutions will build an even more sustainable and effective research infrastructure for CTR, and, ultimately, improve the health and lives of residents in our region.

Loretta Jophlin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, was awarded the “CTR Superstar” Award with her proposed study intended to create a diagnostic test to differentiate non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) from alcoholic fatty liver diseases (ALD). Dr. Jophlin was presented a $20,000 award which is poised to bring new scientific advances to the care of patients with liver disease. This year also featured a new Collaborator of the Year Award which recognizes and awards the time and dedication of special individuals who work to improve the lives within in their community through research. Jeanette Harder, PhD, who works at the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Grace Abbott School of Social Work, Public Affairs and Community Service earned the title this year and received her award at the ASM. Jeanette is the founder and director of the Support and Training for the Evaluation of Programs (STEPs) and has spent years working with various community and academic groups on a multitude of issues. It was an honor once again to be able to host this event and we thank all those who were able to join us. Below is a list of recorded presentations from the event. We sincerely hope that you join us next year. Stay tuned for information on the next ASM.

Presentation recordings:

Additional Resources: