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A graphic showing translational research.

Case studies

Read about previous winners of our Access to Expertise award below.

Case study 1: Research Nurse required for obtaining human tissue  

Nurse taking details

  • A2E 2018 Awardee; Mark Travis, Professor of Immunology (UoM)
  • Award duration: 6 months Costs: 5% Study co-ordinator, 32% Research Nurse, 5% Consultant time

 “My lab has been interested in determining how the immune system is regulated, and how this goes wrong in inflammatory disease. The use of mouse models has been fundamentally important in our work, but it is crucial that findings in mice are translated to determine how identified pathways are altered in human disease.

 “However, obtaining clinical samples can be challenging, with help from research nurses essential in identifying potential study participants, sending out study information, consenting patients on the day of their procedure and co-ordinating obtaining the samples from the clinician.

 “One major challenge is acquiring the funding for the research nurse. This can be requested as part of normal grant applications, but if samples are required quickly to help finish off a study, things can be difficult.

 “In our case, last year we submitted a paper to a high-impact journal, which got favourable reviews but with requests for additional experiments requiring human intestinal samples. However, funding for obtaining such samples had just lapsed.

 “The Access to Expertise call came at an ideal time, which allowed us to apply for short-term funds (6 months) for a research nurse. This allowed us to perform the necessary experiments, and successfully publish our paper.”  

Case study 2: Augmented Reality expertise required for app development  

Girl using phone

  • A2E 2018 Awardee; Kathryn Abel, Professor of Psychological Medicine (UoM/MFT)
  • Award duration: 9 months Costs: Workshop tools, Digital consultancy, Stipend for workshop participants

 “Within the domain of preventive mental health for children and young people, management of self-harm is a top priority. Self-harm among young people is increasing and is the biggest risk factor for suicide.

 “CAMHS.Digital wanted to co-produce an innovative digital solution for self-harm self-management with and for young people using Augmented Reality.

 “We had produced initial evidence that a self-harm self-management app ‘mSootheBox’ could be effective in creating distraction techniques for children and young people who self-harm, especially at times when services are scarce (i.e out of hours and late at night when children feel alone). However, we were blocked from moving the research forward by a lack of Augmented Reality expertise.

 “The Access to Expertise award enabled us to co-design the app with Augmented Reality industry experts, Sparta Digital and most importantly, young people, in interactive workshops. The award funded 4 workshops with young people and 1 roadshow event demonstrating the designs to key mental health stakeholders.

 “We are currently half way through our funding, but success has already been evident by the enthusiasm of the young people and interest from a large mental health charity, who wish to fund further development of the app.” 


Case Study 3: Examples of translational research projects that do not follow the D1-T4 sequential pathway

There is an assumption that translational research occurs in a linear and sequential way, progressing stage by stage from D1 to T4, however, this is not always the case. Translational research can start at any point of the translational pathway and can skip stages and/or go backwards (from clinic to discovery). Translational research does not always start at D1 and does not always end at T4 - the ‘end point’ is reached when the maximum benefit to patients and clinical practice has been established.

The following examples show real translational pathways for medical devices that did not follow the sequential D1-T4 translational pathway.