The intensive care unit is a hostile research environment, filled with uncertainty, uncontrollable elements and regulatory challenges. All of these challenges create opportunity.
Over the past decade we have assembled a platform which permits productive research in the ICU; specifically, acute care surgery patients. The research component of the platform is comprised of 4 Cores: Human Subjects, Informatics, Biomarkers and Genetics. Our long-term vision is to create a platform for translational research using trauma an acute-care surgery as a model for critical care. Our long term goal is pathway discovery, designed to illuminate unappreciated biologic pathways controlling the metabolic response to injury and illness.
It is useful to think of the research enterprise as a portfolio of synergistic businesses. Each business has its strengths and weaknesses but as a well-balanced portfolio they are more efficient and cost-effective then each business line in isolation.
Our research portfolio contains 3 types of research products designed to fulfill our research mission: To Improve patient care, to advance basic science and to train new investigators. Figure 1 depicts the overall research structure for Vanderbilt's trauma/critical care program.
There are 3 products: Clinical trials, investigator initiated research and government funded research. Each of these products complements the 4 cores: Human subjects, informatics, genetics and biomarkers.