Idea to Impact: Case Studies in Translational Science

Get an inside look at research projects supported by Duke CTSI as they make the journey from bench to bedside.

How does a scientific idea become a reality? How does a research team navigate scientific, funding, and regulatory challenges to make a difference in the lives of patients and communities?

This series of Idea to Impact Case Studies provides a window into successful projects supported by Duke CTSI, revealing both their translational paths and the benefits they are yielding to the healthcare world.

Each Case Study includes:
  • Project Overview

  • Timeline of Funding and Commercialization Milestones

  • Summary of Translational Impact and Benefits

  • Resources Used

Individually and collectively, these case studies aim to:
  • Provide a contextualized lens on CTSA services by conveying their use within specific studies and research projects.

  • Provide a clear summative focus addressing translational research outcomes and impacts.

  • Permit understanding of inhibitors or challenges in translational research process that CTSA may be situated to address.

  • Disseminate facilitators or best practices for improving translational research.

Paving the Pathway: YOJO, An Online Platform to Facilitate Persistence and Sustainability in Educational and Professional Development Programs

Pathway programs – which are programs that help someone move from one stage to the next in their educational career – operate in silos, making it difficult for learners to chart and persist on a path that supports their long-term career goals.

The Center for Pathway Programs is developing YOJO (short for “Your Journey”), an online platform that connects pathway programs, simplifies the application process, tracks participants, enhances evaluation, and ultimately promotes persistence.

New Option for Treatment of Uterine Fibroids: Engineering Smart Therapeutics

Uterine fibroids are common reproductive-age tumors. More than 80% of Black women and nearly 70% of White women have fibroids by age 50. Currently available interventions are either expensive, difficult to access, or have significant systemic side effects.

Thanks to a collaborative partnership between Duke and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) researchers developed and tested a protective carrier for drug therapeutics to enable a direct local injection into the uterine fibroid. This presents a minimally invasive treatment option for women suffering from uterine fibroids.

Collaboration Across Campuses: The NCCU Clinical Research Sciences Program


The lack of a diverse workforce in clinical research negatively impacts health outcomes and equity in clinical trials, healthcare, and medical practices.

The Clinical Research Sciences Program (CRSP) leveraged the partnership between North Carolina Central University and Duke University to create an environment for producing a highly trained and diverse workforce in clinical research.

Download the Case Study (PDF).

Oxysterols for Treatment of Perinatal Brain Injury

A First-In-Class Therapy to Prevent Cerebral Palsy in Premature Infants


Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Benner, Duke University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics

Premature infants are at higher risk for brain injuries that can cause lifelong impairments, such as cerebral palsy. This research is developing the first treatment to reverse the damage of these brain injuries, using a molecule found in human breast milk.

Download the Case Study (PDF).


Aspirin Dosing: A Patient-Centric Trial Assessing Benefits and Long-Term Effectiveness


Principal Investigators: Adrian Hernandez, MD, Vice Dean and Executive Director, Duke Clinical Research Institute; W. Schuyler Jones, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine

Aspirin is a mainstay therapy for patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), but there are unanswered questions about the best dosage. ADAPTABLE studied the effectiveness and safety of the two most common aspirin doses, and also served as a demonstration project for clinical trials in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research network (PCORnet), enrolling more than 15,000 participants across multiple sites.

Download the Case Study (PDF).

Biopsychosocial Determinants of Pain in Sickle Cell Disease

A Study of the Contributors to Severe Pain, Toward Better Management


Principal Investigator: Mitchell Knisely, PhD, RN, Duke University School of Nursing

Many people with sickle cell disease frequently experience severe pain, and the contributing factors to that symptom have not been fully understood. This research project identified a biomarker that is significantly associated with pain in people with sickle cell disease, offering a new exploratory direction for research.

Download the Case Study (PDF).

About the Translational Science Benefits Model

These case studies have been produced using the Translational Science Benefits Model (TSBM) developed at Washington University. The TSBM is a framework public health and clinical scientists use to demonstrate the impact of their work in the real world. To learn more, visit TSBM on the web.

Citation: Institute of Clinical & Translational Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Translational Science Benefits Model website. Published February 1, 2019. Accessed December 20, 2020.