The Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research (MCCTR) is a partnership involving the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Tougaloo College. In addition, the MCCTR pursues extensive collaboration with the IDeA-funded Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center and Mayo Clinic's Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences. MCCTR functions are divided among six cores in addition to an Administrative Core: the Professional Development Core, BERD Core, Pilot Projects Program, Research Service Core, Tracking and Evaluation Core, and Community Engagement and Outreach Core.
We have created a robust research enterprise that is serving the needs of our investigators at our partnering institutions. This is evidenced by increase in the number of new MCCTR faculty and a marked increase in request for MCCTR services. Requests of MCCTR resources are increasing each year. Of particular note is that since year 1, services for our BERD core and RSC increased over 15-fold and 100%, respectively. Collectively, the MCCTR has impacted faculty in over 45 departments and divisions in all participating institutions.
The Administrative Core is responsible for overseeing all MCCTR activities and for aligning its resources and activities to maximize success. The Administrative Core has a flexible and responsive governance structure with mechanisms to monitor progress toward goals and milestones and a capacity to re-direct resources as needed.
The Professional Development Core supports promising investigators and promotes multi-institutional, transdisciplinary obesity research through mentorship, training, protected time, and structured interaction among investigators of the MCCTR partner institutions. The Professional Development Core oversees the Investigator Development Program, Mentor Academy, and Seminar Series.
The BERD Core provides training and assistance with research design, epidemiology, and biostatistics, including implementation of data collection tools and methods, data management and monitoring, and data analysis for manuscripts and grants, and it works with the Research Service Center to ensure that MCCTR investigators are thoroughly trained in regulatory principles and management. It assists applicants for MCCTR resources and MCCTR awardees through the Investigator Development Program and Pilot Projects Program with study design and execution, including instrument, protocol, and Manual of Procedure development, data coordination, analytics, and reporting.
The Research Service Core (RSC) offers training and support to develop a cadre of investigators who are well versed in regulatory principles, research ethics, and best practices for research compliance and the Responsible Conduct of Research. The RSC also provides administrative and logistical assistance to lower the barriers to research implementation and enhance the success of the MCCTR's clinical, translational, and community-engaged research.
The Tracking and Evaluation Core ensures that the MCCTR's Cores and programs meet milestones and satisfy deliverables. It provides accurate and timely information to MCCTR leaders and advisory committees to guide resource allocation and for reporting to the MCCTR institutions and NIGMS.
The objective of the MCCTR Pilot Project Program is to assist junior investigators in generating sufficient data to be competitive for extramural funding. A focus on obesity and obesity-related diseases is preferred, however, projects in other fields are considered.
The CEO Core organizes the Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Summer Institute, an annual one-week residential Summer Institute that trains selected junior faculty members from all major Mississippi universities in the principles and practice of community-engaged research. The CEO Core also oversees the CEO Working Group, a group of investigators focused on developing multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary community-engaged research projects. Finally, the CEO Core oversees the MCCTR Community Advisory Board (CAB), a diverse group of community members who meet regularly to provide guidance to the MCCTR on community values, concerns and needs.