Alice Payne, the sister-in-law of a colleague at IUPUI, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctors caught it at an early stage—just a slight shadow on a mammogram that wasn’t there the year before. What if a simple blood test could have made the diagnosis even earlier? What if her physician could mark the exact cells to target for treatment?
IU Cancer Center faculty are actively engaged in research that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and other malignant conditions. Linda Malkas, the Vera Bradley Professor of Oncology, focuses on early detection of breast cancer through a new diagnostic tool, a “biomarker,” which distinguishes healthy cells from cancerous cells, even when only a few are present. George Sledge, M.D., the Ballvé Lantero Professor of Oncology, focuses his research on new drugs that interfere with the formation of blood vessels that feed tumor growth, a process called angiogenesis. Drs. Sledge and Malkas are co-leaders of the IU Breast Cancer Research Program, a multidisciplinary program that includes basic science and clinical investigators from 11 departments.
Earlier this month, the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer made a $6.8 million gift to support IU’s Breast Cancer Research Program. Previously, the foundation endowed the Vera Bradley Chair of Oncology and established the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Research Endowment at the IU School of Medicine.
Research lays the groundwork for innovation, but moving ideas into the marketplace is also important, especially when life and health are at stake.
You will hear about bench-to-bedside advances, more and more often, as IUPUI launches TRIP (Translating Research into Practice), a new initiative that both illustrates and celebrates how research makes a difference in peoples’ lives. Plans include:
- “Inside Out,” a campaign to celebrate and inform the community about our faculty’s research on real-world issues through lectures, presentations, and media alerts.
- “Research in the Everyday World,” focusing on lectures that bring scholars doing translational research from other campuses to showcase their work.
- A national symposium, to launch an agenda for research that works toward the betterment of everyday life and establish IUPUI as a leader in translation.
Leading the TRIP initiative at IUPUI is Sandra Petronio, professor of communication studies, a member of the core faculty in the IU Center for Bioethics, and adjunct professor in the IU Schools of Nursing and Informatics.
More than 10 years ago, Dr. Petronio set out on a mission in her academic discipline of communication to foster translational research. She urged colleagues to translate their research into practice and make the application of academic work better known in the community. She advocates that universities take their knowledge and training into the everyday world so they can address problems people face in their lives.
Because of IUPUI’s commitment to the community and because of the vast talent on the campus engaged in translational research across all disciplines, we believe that the TRIP initiative positions us to be an educational leader in the state and nation.
Dr. Petronio’s own contribution to translating research into practice is a theoretical model for understanding how people manage their private information. Known as the theory of Communication Privacy Management (CPM), it is the culmination of a 25-year research effort that addresses how individuals, groups, families, and organizations regulate the disclosure of private information in various contexts and relationships.
Her book, Boundaries of Privacy: Dialectics of Disclosure, won the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) Book Award in 2004 and the Gerald R. Miller Award from the National Communication Association in 2003.
Last summer, she was invited to brief members of the U.S. Congress and others on privacy issues at a hearing sponsored by the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) in Washington, D.C. The title of her presentation to policy makers was “Protecting Privacy: How Much Are We Willing to Give Up?
Similarly, our Center on Philanthropy uses academic research to help practitioners do a better job of fundraising. It just received a $750,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study. It will provide new insight into personal philanthropy and help nonprofits be more effective.
The study will look at giving and volunteering by the same households over time and across generations as families mature, face differing economic circumstances, and encounter changes in their family size and health. Scholars and others can access data free of charge online. It will allow policy makers to ground debates in solid research.
Analysis of data has already yielded valuable insights that nonprofit fundraisers can use to make their solicitation strategies more effective. These include:
- Single men give less and are less likely to give than single women or married couples.
- Recent immigrants’ giving initially is informal (i.e., to family and friends) but their formal giving to nonprofit organizations increases with time spent in the U.S.
- Adults whose parents give are much more likely to be donors.
As you see, IUPUI’s tradition of practice-based education and civic engagement is a natural fit with the Translating Research into Practice initiative.
This is a real opportunity to position IUPUI nationally as a model campus in emphasizing translational research.
Charles R. Bantz