The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Virginia Commonwealth University have signed an informal agreement to work closely together on health research.
According to a news release, the agreement is built around the National Institutes of Health's Clinical and Translational Science Award. The institutions are among 62 academic research centers in the nation to receive CTSAs, which are intended to spur collaboration around scientific health discoveries.
"VCU and Penn State will be collaborating to conduct biomedical research, educate future translational scholars and practitioners and seek funding for joint research," said Dr. Lawrence Sinoway, director of the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which is based on the campus of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.
The institutions said the effort "builds on established and successful collaborations" of faculty members, including the following:
• Jonathan Foulds (Penn State) and Thomas Eissenberg (VCU) have collaborated on research on electronic cigarettes, work that continues with a planned clinical trial of 520 smokers — half recruited at Penn State and half at VCU. The trial will evaluate the effects of cigarette substitutes on smokers who have decided to not quit smoking. The results of the study will advise the FDA for regulation of novel tobacco products.
• VCU Drs. Jerome Strauss III, John Nestler and Ponjola Coney have collaborated with Penn State's Dr. Richard Legro and Jan McAllister on numerous studies related to familial polycystic ovary syndrome. Strauss is also collaborating with Mark Shriver (Penn State) on a grant to study the genetics of preterm birth.
• Vernon Chinchilli (Penn State) and Chris Gennings (VCU) have developed a new statistical model on social network analysis to study research groups. The team hopes to identify whether factors like distance between collaborator offices, gender and faculty rank affect publication success rate.