New CCHS department approved by UA Board of Trustees

July 3, 2024

The Department of Translational Science and Medicine at the College of Community Health Sciences was approved April 12 by The University of Alabama Board of Trustees. The mission of the new department is to create a rich teaching and research infrastructure for conducting preclinical innovation and therapeutic development in immuno-inflammatory diseases to better understand low-grade inflammation, dysfunctional immune systems and co-existing disease conditions.

“We have been working on creating this department for over three years,” said Dr. M.N.V. Ravi Kumar, Distinguished University Research Professor and CCHS faculty. “The structure of this department is to bring all the necessary elements under one roof with people who have the ability to discover new drugs and help formulate them and improve the effectiveness of drugs that might not be available by conventional ways.

“It’s a great opportunity and not just for us but for the College to help open opportunities for recruiting physician researchers to take the translational element to the next level,” Kumar said.

Translation is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public—from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes, according to the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Translational science is the field that generates scientific and operational innovations that overcome challenges in the translational research pipeline. Translational science represents the stages of research involved in bringing more treatments to people more quickly.

“CCHS is proud to welcome the new Department of Translational Science and Medicine,” said Dr. Richard Friend, dean of the College. “This department represents a significant opportunity for both the College and the University. We are fortunate to have such a talented core group of faculty in this exciting area. I look forward to expanding both the research and academic degree offerings in our new department.”

The Department of Translational Science and Medicine includes Kumar and four other CCHS faculty members. Programs that will be added to the department include a master’s degree program, which Kumar hopes to launch in 2026, and possibly undergraduate and doctoral programs as well.