New Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Published: March 5th, 2010

Category: Memos

Win Phillips, Vice President for Research

I am pleased to announce that Dr. David Nelson has been named director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Florida.

Dr. Nelson, a professor of medicine and a leader in liver transplantation and hepatology at the UF College of Medicine, is engaged in multidisciplinary approaches to improve translational research and patient care. He has forged numerous collaborations with researchers across UF and the state, as well as with leaders in industry.

He brings to the new position a commitment to further the institute’s goals of speeding new treatments to patients, and producing a highly trained force of researchers and physicians. He will guide the institute in integrating UF’s talented and diverse research community, and helping to make the university’s clinical and translational researchers more productive and efficient in their efforts.

Dr. Nelson’s vibrant basic science and clinical research program in hepatobiliary diseases and his active involvement in the CTSI as director of the Regulatory Knowledge and Key Functions Support Program position him for success. I have every confidence he and the CTSI team will effectively build on our achievements to date and take us to the next level.

Dr. Nelson takes the helm at the CTSI almost a year after UF won a competitive Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. The $26 million award over five years will help lay a framework for accelerating the progress of translational research and medical advances at the university. With the award, UF joined a prestigious national consortium of medical research institutions working toward enhancing scientific discovery and medical care, producing highly skilled scientists and physicians, and fostering partnerships with industry. The institute, a partnership of several colleges and entities within the university and in the wider community, also is supported by $23 million from the UF Office of Research and $70 million in commitments from the College of Medicine.

Dr. Nelson’s accomplished career in medicine includes earning a medical degree from SUNY Upstate University in Syracuse, NY and completing residency in internal medicine at the University of Massachusetts and fellowship training in gastroenterology and hepatology at UF. He oversees more than 15 clinical trials and his NIH and industry-sponsored research grants top $8 million. He has published more than 150 scholarly papers and is associate editor of the journal Hepatology.

Dr. Nelson, whose clinical expertise is in hepatology with an emphasis on the management of viral hepatitis and liver cancer, will continue to see patients and remain active in teaching and in mentoring and training gastrointestinal and liver program fellows.

He also will continue his research on hepatobiliary diseases. He has led development of initiatives such as a unique liver cancer clinic in which hepatologists play a key role in cancer management, delicately balancing treatment of cancer with that of underlying liver disease that can worsen as a result of cancer treatment.

The clinic also serves as a hub for translational research, where patients donate blood and tissue to be used in research in areas such as developing cancer markers and therapies that take advantage of patients’ own immune systems.

Dr. Nelson has significant experience leading translational research within his own field and has been a major contributor to the development of the University of Florida’s CTSI. His leadership skills make him an excellent choice as director of the CTSI as it moves forward.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Nelson on his new appointment and working with him to help make UF a national leader in clinical and translational science.

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