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Keywords:

  • team science;
  • multidisciplinary teams;
  • translational research

Abstract

Translational science requires that scientists from multiple disciplines work together to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human disease. Although a literature exists on the design and management of multidisciplinary teams, little has been written on multidisciplinary translational teams (MTTs). MTTs are distinct hybrid entities, with goals taken from both industry and academic models. We identified 30 design factors in 10 domains from a literature survey relevant to our MTT model: specific goals, structures, and processes. These dimensions were adapted to our own institutional environment in the selection and management of 11 MTTs that exploited resources of University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards (CTSA). Case illustrations of two specific MTTs illustrate some of the challenges encountered and opportunities realized in terms of education and scientific advances. Network depiction of disciplinarity indicated that CTSA KRs and CTSA leadership contributed to discipline diversity especially in small (or nascent) MTTs. A separate depiction of MTT-KR utilization indicated that data analysis, translational technologies, and novel methods were heavily utilized by MTTs, whereas other KRs contributed significant effort to infrastructure development. We conclude that the CTSA can provide a rich infrastructural framework and scientific environment for the development of successful MTTs. Clin Trans Sci 2013; Volume 6: 60–71