New Opportunities to Bridge the Research to Practice Gap [HRA Members Meeting, Chicago, Fall 2023]

Monday October 16, 1:30pm-2:45pm CT - Chicago, IL and online via Zoom

How can funders move more of their funded research towards clinical relevance? This session will explore specific things philanthropic funders can do to increase the likelihood of improving patient outcomes. It will include a contextual update on how the research, regulatory, and commercial landscapes are changing, and how this might shift the highest impact funding opportunities for foundations. It will focus on how funders can help drive research findings into clinical practice, including strategies to empower stakeholders throughout the pipeline to work across cultural and professional boundaries.

Michelle McLeod, PhD, ATC
Director, Osteoarthritis Clinical Research Programs | Arthritis Foundation

Lara Bethke, PhD
Chief Science Officer | Health Resources in Action

Chris Austin, MD
Chief Executive Officer | Vesalius Therapeutics

Christopher Austin is a CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering in Cambridge, MA, and founding CEO of one of Flagship’s franchise companies, Vesalius Therapeutics, which is developing and commercializing a novel platform to systematically develop treatments for common diseases.

Before joining Flagship Pioneering in 2021, Chris worked seamlessly with government agencies, nonprofits, and biopharmaceutical companies to advance translational science and drug discovery and development.  He served for almost a decade as the founding Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the NIH.  Chris established NCATS’ strategic vision and led efforts to develop, demonstrate, and disseminate scientific and operational advances across the spectrum of translational science.  Under Chris’ leadership, the Center developed new approaches to speed therapeutic development for all diseases.  This included innovative drug screening platforms, successful preclinical drug development and tissue chips that accurately model human disease and drug response.  He also led critical work to develop and implement clinical development innovations to streamline clinical trials and incorporate both patient and community-based engagement efforts.  Prior to NCATS, Chris directed translational scientific and technology initiatives at the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH for 10 years.  He started his career as a physician researcher at Merck where he focused on genome-based discovery of novel targets and drugs in neuropsychiatric diseases.

Chris received his A.B. in biology from Princeton and M.D. from Harvard Medical School, did clinical training in internal medicine and neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and completed a research fellowship in genetics at Harvard.

Peter Marks, MD, PhD
Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research | US FDA

Peter Marks received his graduate degree in cell and molecular biology and his medical degree at New York University and completed Internal Medicine residency and Hematology/Medical Oncology training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has worked in academic settings teaching and caring for patients and in industry on drug development and is an author or co-author of over 100 publications.  He joined the FDA in 2012 as Deputy Center Director for CBER and became Center Director in 2016.  Over the past several years he has been integrally involved in the response to various public health emergencies, and in 2022 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Harold Feldman, MD, MSCE 
Deputy Executive Director | PCORI

Harv Feldman is Deputy Executive Director for Patient-Centered Research Programs at the Patient- Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

He has more than 35 years’ experience as an epidemiologist, nephrologist, and leader in numerous senior roles at the University of Pennsylvania, including as chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics (DBEI), where he established Penn’s first Division of Informatics. This tri- disciplinary department was created to understand the social, cultural, behavioral, and biological determinants of health within a highly collaborative culture of scholarship.

He also served as Director of Penn’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), which houses seven centers of research excellence, including two highly successful research support centers that support many of the National Institutes of Health’s largest multi-center network research programs.

Dr. Feldman is a past president of the American College of Epidemiology, and currently serves as Editor- in-chief of North America’s highest-impact scientific journal for clinical research in nephrology, the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

He also built a nationally and internationally renowned research program in nephrology that has been a centerpiece of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ kidney-focused clinical research portfolio for over 20 years, including the CRIC Study, the nation’s largest clinical follow- up study of chronic kidney disease, often referred to as the Framingham Study of kidney disease.

Dr. Feldman has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including many contributions to understanding of racial and ethnic disparities in kidney health that plague Black, Brown, Native American, and Latino/a communities.