The Accelerating Excellence In Translational Science (AXIS)Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1) What is AXIS?
2) What are the goals of AXIS?
3) What is translational research?
4) Does AXIS provide funding for research?
5) Does AXIS provide grant-writing support?
6) Does AXIS provide resources and services to CDU researchers?
7) What are the electronic research resources provided by AXIS?
8) Does AXIS provide services to students?
9) How do I request services from AXIS?
10) What is the Research Concierge?
11) How do I cite AXIS?
12) What information does AXIS have for patients/study volunteers?
13) Who are the Community Faculty?
14) How can I find out what’s happening in AXIS?
15) How do I use the Research Calendar?
16) How do I leave feedback about my experience with AXIS?
17) How do I contact AXIS??
18) How do I find out more about the translational research process?
19) Who runs AXIS?
20) How is AXIS run?



1) What is AXIS?
AXIS stands for Accelerating Excellence in Translational Science. AXIS is the translational research center of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) and supports the vision of the university to be among the leading national resources for conducting clinical and translational research that produces high-quality, cost-effective and culturally relevant solutions to improve health and wellness in minority and medically underserved populations.
AXIS is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities #U54MD007598 (formerly NCRR #U54RR026138), National Institutes of Health (NIH).


2) What are the goals of AXIS?
The overall purpose of AXIS is to better position CDU for conducting clinical and translational research, especially research that is focused on health disparities.

The goals of AXIS are:
a. To transform the CDU research enterprise from traditional basic and clinical research domains into a highly integrated clinical and translational research environment by reorganizing research administration, centralizing and enhancing physical and intellectual resources, and promoting participation in the RCMI Translational Research Network (RTRN) and Clinical and Translational Science Institutes (CTSI).
b. To develop a unique model for community, multi-disciplinary, and/or multi-institutional partnerships that ensures that clinical and translational research yields high-quality, cost-effective health outcomes.
c. To implement innovative translational research training and career development activities at CDU and in partnership with RTRN that recognize that the interdependence of basic science, clinical discovery, and patient-oriented research will accelerate improved patient outcomes.


3) What is translational research?
Translational research is scientific research with a focus on applying research results so that humans benefit. Instead of scientists finding the answer one puzzle piece at a time, this approach relies on clinical insight, basic research and interaction with a community that is being studied. So, doctors, scientists and community members all play a role in translational research. It is not a linear process, but a multidirectional continuum rich with feedback from development to discovery.

Here is an article about the role of translational research in addressing health disparities.


4) Does AXIS provide funding for research?
YES. The Pilot Function of AXIS is specifically designed to support promising junior investigators at CDU to generate high-quality data that will result in external grant funding, particularly those that focus on research in areas where there are substantial health disparities. The Pilot Program is designed to facilitate the conduct of multi-site studies and encourage innovative translational approaches to basic mechanisms, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases that disproportionately affect minority and underserved communities. In addition to producing a critical mass of health disparities researchers, the Pilot Program is designed to train and develop highly skilled research scientists from minority groups underrepresented in health disparities research.

Requests for proposals (RFPs) for pilot projects are issued once a year around May or June. Reviews of project proposals take 6-8 weeks and selected projects are announced in August or September.

More information on AXIS-funded pilots from previous years can be found here.

More information on the Pilot Function of AXIS can be found here.


5) Does AXIS provide grant-writing support?
YES. The Research Education and Training Function of AXIS provides grant-writing support to junior investigators and community faculty.

More information on the resources and services provided by Research Education and Training Function to CDU researchers can be found here.


6) Does AXIS provide resources and services to CDU researchers?
YES. Each AXIS function provides specialized resources and services to basic, clinical and community faculty researchers engaged in translational research at CDU. These services range from assisting in designing experiments and data analysis (Research Design and Biostatistics Function), to data storage (Biomedical Informatics), to performing experiments (Technology Core Laboratories). Each function provides a variety of services which are detailed on their parts of the web portal. Some services are free of charge while others are fee-based.


7) What are the electronic research resources provided by AXIS?
AXIS, via the Biomedical Informatics Function, provides electronic resources to CDU researchers and community faculty to facilitate their work in translational research. These resources are provided for free. Individual and group training on these resources is available by appointment, conducted by our science navigators.

CDU REDCap – for collecting and storing survey and experimental (basic and clinical) data

CDU Profiles – for promoting your research, scientific accomplishments and finding collaborators locally and nationally

FTP site – for files exchanges between CDU researchers

Research Calendar – for advertising research events to the general CDU research community


8) Does AXIS provide services to students?
While AXIS does not directly provide resources and services to students, student researchers may utilize AXIS resources and services through their mentors who must be CDU researchers.


9) How do I request services from AXIS?
To request the use of AXIS resources and services, contact the Research Concierge or the appropriate key function providing the service, or use this online Request A Service form.


10) What is the Research Concierge?
The Research Concierge is the physical and virtual hub for all the research services AXIS provides. Through the Research Concierge AXIS provides science navigation across research resources, consultation and referral services to researchers. Our goal is to provide support (in person and online) to link investigators across disciplines, disease states, and institutional divides. We are here to support you through every step of the translational research process. Our science navigators are the first points of contact for all your relevant translational research needs including information on scientific expertise, grants, research protocol development, data analysis and guidance on how to best use human, intellectual and physical resources to excel in translational research. We strive to make navigating the translational research process easier for all CDU investigators and to support a strong, successful group of health disparities researchers.


11) How do I cite AXIS?
The suggested wording when citing AXIS is:

"This publication (or event) was made possible with the support of AXIS, the translational research center of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (NIH/NIMHD grant #U54MD007598 (formerly #U54RR026138)). The contents expressed herein are solely the responsibility of the authors (or organizers) and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science or AXIS.”

Additional citations may be required when using electronic resources (e.g., REDCap - see the REDCap User Agreement form).


12) What information does AXIS have for patients/study volunteers?
Dr. Sheba George, in collaboration with Health Nuts Media, has created an animated video entitled “What is Health Research?” which explains the purposes and goals of health research.
The video can be viewed in Spanish or in English online at:
http://axis.cdrewu.edu/what_is_health_research
You can read more about this project online at:
axis_doc/functions/AXIS/Bilingual_Video_Explains_Health_Research_to_Multicultural_Communities.pdf


13) Who are the Community Faculty?
Community Engagement is a crucial part of CDU’s translational research activities, and a unique program called the “Community Faculty” was implemented to increase research capacity through the collaborative integration of local expertise. The community faculty are made up of local organizers and leaders who are well tuned to the issues faced by their communities. Community Faculty members receive a faculty appointment at the university and are responsible for advancing a research agenda. They are not traditional academics, yet they possess an expertise crucial to the mission and success of the university. They also act as intermediaries between academic researchers and community members. Often, it is up to them to communicate a research project to their community in lay language, and allay participant fears regarding the conduct of research. The community faculty secure a stake in the research enterprise for the community.


14) How can I find out what’s happening in AXIS?
The What’s New section on the AXIS homepage highlights activities, events and other current information about AXIS in chronological order. Some entries in What’s New may also contain announcements, publication information and downloadable files. If you want your activity highlighted in What’s New, please contact the Research Concierge.


15) How do I use the Research Calendar?
The AXIS research calendar is used to publicize any events that CDU researchers might be interested in attending. The calendar can be found on the AXIS web portal here. If you are hosting an event that you want to have published on the AXIS calendar, send an email to the Research Concierge. If you are in charge of a group that regularly hosts events (research cluster, journal club, etc.), we will be happy to give you an account so that you can add your events to the calendar. Please contact the Research Concierge.


16) How do I leave feedback about my experience with AXIS?
Please use the online Give Us Feedback form to provide comments, suggestions and feedback for the improvement of AXIS. You may leave your personal information blank if you wish to remain anonymous.


17) How do I contact AXIS?
If you have further inquiries about AXIS, please contact our program coordinator David Doyen; he can be reached by email (click on his name) or telephone at (323)357-3447.


18) How do I find out more about the translational research process?
Check out our research process flowchart. You can also contact the Research Concierge. We are here to support you through every step of the translational research process.


19) Who runs AXIS?
Dr. Jay Vadgama is the Principal Investigator (PI) of AXIS. The program directors are Dr. Mohsen Bazargan and Dr. Victor Chaban. David Doyen is the program coordinator.

Other AXIS personnel and their contact information can be found here.


20) How is AXIS run?
Administrative Council
The Administrative Council (AC) of AXIS is designed to support the research activities of AXIS. The AC generates evaluation and tracking data and program progress reports. The AC handles operational matters, focuses on the needs at CDU that AXIS can fulfill and provides support to the key function areas.

The AC consists of the directors of the key function areas and the Executive Committee (EC - see below). Each director is the key person responsible for communicating and disseminating information within and outside of the function area. Each key function director is responsible for reporting on their specific areas at quarterly intervals.

The AC meets monthly to discuss daily operations, ensure that resources are optimally used, and perform other key administrative duties. The AC reports to the EC. The efforts and recommendations of the AC are coordinated and the minutes of AC committee meetings are kept on file. Problems and issues are documented with necessary recommendations. Meeting minutes document the date of issue or problems raised, person presenting the problems, and summaries of discussion and recommended action plans.

The key function areas of AXIS and the corresponding directors are:
Biomedical Informatics – Dr. Omolola Ogunyemi
Clinical and Translational Research Center – Dr. David Martins
Innovations and Partnerships – Dr. Roberto Vargas
Community Engagement – Dr. Nell Forge
Evaluation – Assist Management Consulting, LLC
Pilot Program – Dr. Mohsen Bazargan
Regulatory – Dr. Meyer Davidson
Research Design and Biostatistics – Dr. Magda Shaheen
Research Education and Training – Dr. Thomas Yoshikawa
Tech Core Lab 1 – Metabolic/Oxidative – Dr. Indrani Sinha-Hikim
Tech Core Lab 2 – Morphometry – Dr. Susanne Nicholas

Executive Committee
Because AXIS is a collaborative effort (NIH U-Award), the Executive Committee (EC) works together with the NIH on aims, goals and progress. The EC is responsible for overseeing coordination and prioritization of AXIS operations with respect to the research agenda, strategic investments and resource sharing that will best advance the AXIS mission.

To capture the full team science approach, the Executive Committee is made up of three directors, Dr. Keith Norris, the Principal Investigator (PI), and the two program directors (PDs), Dr. Mohsen Bazargan (T2) and Victor Chaban (T1). The PI and PDs share authority and responsibility for leading and directing AXIS, intellectually and logically. The PI and PDs are responsible and accountable to the NIH. The PI is responsible for the overall oversight of AXIS and directs accountability and interaction with the NIH and partner institutions. The PDs focus on internal operations, services rendered, utilization, program implementation, tracking of milestones and management of budget and staff. The Executive Committee meets weekly to discuss the operation of AXIS as a whole.

Advisory Committees
Internal Advisory Committee
The IAC guides, monitors, advises, evaluates and coordinates all NIMHD and NIH-funded programs and centers at the university. Members of this committee provide guidance for the strategic planning of AXIS and review collaborations with other institutional research activities to maximize productivity and minimize redundancies across centers. As advisors to the key functions as well as the leadership, the IAC provides an interactive interface with the university with the intent of harmonizing AXIS activities within and across programs, institutions, and function areas working toward the AXIS mission. This committee re-assesses functions, operations, prioritization, and personnel needs while considering tangible ways to implement institutional rewards and incentives for recruitment, training, mentoring, community partnerships and other program achievements. The IAC is responsible for scientific review, setting the research agenda, team science and team science retreats, and reviewing evaluation and tracking data and progress reports from the function areas on a quarterly basis. The IAC meets quarterly and consist of eight (8) members (see below). To ensure that there is university-wide representation on the IAC, designees from the Community Faculty and a faculty liaison were named by the Division of Community Engagement and the Academic Senate, respectively.

The members of the IAC are:
Richard S. Baker, M.D. (Chair)
Executive Director, Urban Health Institute
Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Gail Orum-Alexander, Pharm.D.
Dean of the College of Science and Health
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Gloria J. McNeal, Ph.D., M.S.N., A.C.N.S.-B.C., F.A.A.N.
Founding Dean Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Jay Vadgama, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine Chief, Division of Cancer Research and
Training Director, Molecular Oncology Program Department of Medicine,
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Loretta Jones, M.A.
CEO, Los Angeles, Healthy African American Families II
Community Faculty
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Ronald Edelstein, Ed.D.
Dean of Academic Affairs
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Sheba M. George, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Multicultural Health and Health Disparities Core
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Suzanne Porszasz-Reisz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

External Advisory Council
The EAC advises the PI and the PDs works closely with key function leadership to assess program priorities and monitor the overall progress of the program, as well as providing scientific expertise and guidance. The EAC functions as an interactive interface with the scientific community at large and provides an external and less biased perspective towards the management of AXIS. The EAC provides oversight and is available to provide recommendations or advice to the AC and to specific function leaders as needed. The EAC consists of six (6) members. The EAC meets annually and reviews AXIS’ structure and progress.

The members of the EAC are:
Isidro Salusky, M.D.
Associate Dean for Clinical Research
UCLA Pediatric Nephrology

James Hildreth, M.D. Ph.D.
Dean, College of Biological Sciences
University of California Davis

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities
University of California Davis

Lucila Ohno-Machado, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Division of Biomedical Informatics
University of California San Diego

James Perkins, Ph.D.
Director of RTRN Data Technology Coordinating Center and
Co-Principal Investigator, RTRN

Vivian L. Carter, Ph.D.
President, HBCU
Interim Department Head
Psychology, Sociology, and Philosophy

AXIS’ organizational structure.