BioHouston forum focuses on translational research
More than 100 scientists, clinicians, investors and educators gathered at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative Sept. 26 for a forum aimed at fostering more translational research in the Texas Medical Center (TMC).
Sponsored by BioHouston and the Houston Area Translational Research Consortium, the breakfast forum gave attendees a chance to hear from and pose questions to a panel of translational research experts that included Robert Robbins, TMC president and CEO; Cindy Farach-Carson, Rice’s vice provost for translational bioscience and scientific director of the BRC; Robert Satcher, an oncology surgeon at MD Anderson Cancer Center and director of the electronic Health Research Institute; and Casey Cunningham, chief scientific officer of the life sciences investment firm Santé Ventures.
Robbins told the group that one of his primary goals at TMC is to foster the translation of scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the point where they improve the lives of patients.
“I see this as the next frontier in this country and this world,” Robbins said. “What we need to do is build the infrastructure here in Houston and the region to take the great ideas that are being discovered every day in the Texas Medical Center and get them commercialized.”
Farach-Carson discussed work underway at the BRC to overcome obstacles to translational research, including breaking down intellectual silos, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and negotiating frameworks for dealing with intellectual property and other complex issues.
She urged the group to think big and consider what they could do to help further translational research.
“Ultimately, if we’re successful, we will improve patient care and treatment options, which will bring more public support for basic research,” Farach-Carson said.