Roadmap Results: Developing vision for areas of research distinction

September 19, 2013

Research Portfolio will articulate a compelling case statement to public, potential funders and future partners

mspwebOn Aug. 12 and 22,  teams of faculty researchers representing 15 areas of neuroscience joined senior research and OHSU Foundation leaders and key staff to begin the process of developing a neuroscience portfolio that will clearly define areas of research strength and distinction.

The goal of these Research Portfolio Workshops is to enhance faculty capacity to convey a compelling research vision to OHSU leadership, the public, potential funders and future partners.

“NIH funding has been declining for years, and we think it may change from approximately 75 percent of our current research funding portfolio to 50 percent,” said Mary Stenzel-Poore, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research. “We have to fill that gap in order to continue to grow and support an environment where great science and research can take place.”

She continued, “That means we, as faculty, need to partner with the OHSU Foundation and OHSU Technology Transfer & Business Development to build strong case statements around each area of research strength in order to increase our visibility in these areas and seize opportunities. Through these workshops, faculty will develop a compelling and collaborative vision for philanthropy, the public and future partners.”

The workshops are an important initiative of the School of Medicine Research Roadmap, which calls for the need to “develop an ongoing data-driven process to define distinctive and emergent areas of research.” The initial planning for the workshops was a key Roadmap accomplishment last year.

At the Aug. 22 workshop, Sarah Panetta, vice president for development at the OHSU Foundation, gave a presentation about the role of the foundation in supporting OHSU and key elements of successful philanthropy in research. Bonnie Schade, director of corporate and foundation relations at the OHSU Foundation, shared information about non-governmental funding sources. Trish Pruis, Ph.D., business development coordinator for TTBD, presented information about building academic-corporate partnerships.

Neuroscience is the first of several research themes to embark on the development of a research portfolio. While the August workshops involved small teams of researchers focused on specific areas within neuroscience, more Research Portfolio Workshops are planned.

workshop-webInitial neuroscience participants, who were nominated to represent the broader array of researchers in each science area, will be developing two- to three-page case statements. The research case statement includes a vision statement, research description and urgency, resources and partnerships, accomplishments and needs. The case statements will populate a comprehensive, online Research Portfolio that will be searchable and updated regularly.

The Aug. 12 workshop included Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery, Philip Copenhaver, Ph.D., professor of cell and developmental biology, Mary Heinricher, Ph.D., assistant dean for basic research and professor of neurological surgery, Fay Horak, Ph.D., professor of neurology, Aaron Janowsky, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Jeff Kaye, M.D., professor of neurology, George Keepers, M.D., chair and professor of psychiatry, Miranda Lim, M.D., Ph.D., Jennifer Loftis, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, Daniel Marks, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics, Pruis, Jon Purnell, M.D., professor of medicine, Joe Quinn, M.D., professor of neurology, Susan Rowell, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, and Steven Shea, Ph.D., CROET director.

“Answering important biological questions these days usually relies upon expertise and collaborations across many fields,” said Dr. Shea. “Participation in these workshops is a great way to learn about the existing expertise and  opportunities for collaboration across OHSU. More importantly, we hope to identify important gaps that can be filled in each thematic area. The initial workshop was already informative and made us think about the big-picture and how our research and the research of our colleagues fit into this picture. Now the task forces need to add detail to this picture, which will help us identify the gaps that we can target. Developing an overall research program in a thematic area that draws upon existing expertise, develops new collaborations and targets new opportunities will surely help our research be more relevant to today’s existing and emerging health problems. This endeavor ought to help researchers make more engaging arguments to funding agencies regarding the need for their work. We hope that will lead to better funding success and will help us solve our most important research questions.”

Participants in the Aug. 22 workshop included Dennis Bourdette, M.D., chair and professor of neurology, Eric Fombonne, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Susan Hayflick, M.D., chair and professor of molecular and medical genetics, Stacy Nicholson, M.D., MPH, professor of pediatrics, Tamara Phillips, Ph.D., professor of behavioral neuroscience, Helmi Lutsep, M.D., professor of neurology, Rena Bahjat, Ph.D., research assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, Gary Banker, Ph.D., professor of cell and developmental biology.

The initial workshop participants represent the following areas of neuroscience:

  • Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
  • Hearing
  • Meth Abuse and Addiction
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Neurodegeneration/Alzheimer’s
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Pain
  • Parkinsonism
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
  • Rare Neurological Disorders
  • Sleep Disorders and Circadian Biology
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Both workshops were led by Chris Wallace of Catalysis LLC and included participation by Dr. Stenzel-Poore, Terry Lo, Ph.D., Jackie Wirz, Ph.D., as well as OHSUF and TTBD leadership.

Read more results of the School of Medicine Research Roadmap.


Pictured: (top) Mary Stenzel-Poore, Ph.D.; (bottom) Sarah Panetta