The objective of the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) TL1 training program is to give pre- and postdoctoral
fellows a unique experience in cutting-edge methodological and analytical approaches aimed at making them efficient in
the complex arena of translational and precision medicine. This program’s affiliation to a basic research institute instead of
a medical school gives it a unique position and strength by offering education in basic research, drug discovery and
development, preclinical models, and mechanistic insights into diseases. With a strong emphasis on team science and the
integration of attending physicians from Scripps Health in all projects, this program will produce leaders with the skills
required to conduct transformative translational science. To date, this young program has trained only predoctoral fellows.
All 8 who have graduated, publishing 31 papers in the process, have remained in science, and 6 students remain supported
by the program. Based on this success, and after thorough analysis of what bottlenecks remain in the delivery of efficient
translational research, we will implement a series of changes to enhance our program by carrying out 3 specific aims:
Specific Aim 1. Expand the current coursework to deliver cutting-edge clinical-translational research competencies, and
enhance mentorship. This objective will be achieved by adding new courses aimed at addressing the most current scientific
and medical issues. Mentorship will be reinforced by coordinating each project around monthly meetings with presentation
of progress. The use of Individual Development Plans, already widely used at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI)
Graduate School, will be progressively implemented with the goal of improving efficiency and training.
Specific Aim 2. Expand the current TL1 program to provide the full representation of trainees necessary for successful
clinical-translational projects. In addition to our successful predoctoral program, we will include a 3-year postdoctoral
pathway to add translational competencies beyond PhD completion. To achieve this goal, the number of slots on the training
grant will be increased to 9. Summer undergraduate research interns supported by the TSRI Graduate School will also be
mentored within this program to add translational competencies at all levels of training. A more inclusive TL1 program will
stimulate scientists at each level of development to pursue careers in translational clinical research.
Specific Aim 3. Increase diversity in our training program. Precision medicine cannot be achieved without an acute
perception of diversity. Our efforts will be targeted at increasing the number of underrepresented students in our program
by adding recruitment relationships with colleges and graduate schools serving these populations. Ongoing summer research
internship programs with this philosophy have been highly successful at TSRI and STSI. In addition, we will amplify this
necessary effort by establishing relationships with disease-specific advocate organizations.
These changes and evolution of the program come at a remarkable time with two exciting developments at TSRI: the
integration of the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr) a drug-discovery and development institute that
will allow training of TL1 students in that field, and the creation of a Scripps Research Biosciences College in 2018.