Dr. Moeller Discusses Clinical Research with Visiting Italian Medical Students

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The VCU C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research proudly welcomed nine medical students from the Università Campus Bio-Medico in Roma, Italy to VCU for a two and a half week program titled, “A Primer on Clinical and Translational Research.”

The program took place from Monday, Sept. 5 to Saturday, Sept. 24, during which time the Italian students attended lectures on clinical and translational research with Antonio Abbate, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Wright CCTR’s Clinical Research Services, and associate chair of the VCU Scientific Review Committee, and other esteemed VCU scientists and researchers. 

The students also visited the Richmond Academy of Medicine (RAM) building to meet with F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., director of the VCU Wright CCTR, who sat down with the group to discuss the value of clinical research and the paths to a research career. 

“As a medical professional, there is always a pull to just do clinical work because the career path of a researcher is difficult,” Moeller said. “But the work done by researchers is a vital component of the scientific field and there are many funding opportunities, fellowships, and mentors available to support you along your path.”

Dr. Moeller also stressed the importance of young scientists finding a good team and supportive institution. He explained the functions and services of the various programs offered to researchers by the VCU Wright CCTR, including protected time in the form of the KL2 (formerly known as K12) scholar program. The KL2 provides substantial salary support and $25,000 in start-up funds for faculty-level clinical and translational scientists near the beginning of their investigative careers. 

The Italian medical students’ visit to VCU was made possible by a cooperative partnership between VCU and the Università Campus Bio-Medico. This past June, five American students in their 3rd and 4th years of VCU’s medical program visited Italy for three weeks as part of an intensive training program dedicated to generating enthusiasm for research and exposing VCU students to medical practices abroad. 

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First image up top: F Gerard Moeller, M.D., director of the VCU Wright CCTR , presents a lecture on the value of clinical research

Longtime VCU Benefactor Donates $16M to VCU’s Center for Clinical and Translational Research

LogoOn Friday, Dec. 11, Virginia Commonwealth University announced that longtime benefactor C. Kenneth Wright has made a $16 million gift to name the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research at VCU.

The gift is the fifth-largest single gift in the history of the university and will be used to establish six C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Distinguished Chairs in Clinical and Translational Research as well as the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Physician-Scientist Scholars program.

“The gift by Mr. Wright will provide important support to catalyze continued growth in the CCTR in its mission to accelerate translational research for the betterment of human health,” said F. Gerard Moeller, M.D., director of CCTR. “It is a major commitment by Mr. Wright and VCU to the CCTR for advancement of clinical translational research and education, including education of future physician scientists. This gift is an indication of the importance of research and education supported by the faculty and staff of the CCTR to VCU and the VCU health system.”

The endowed chairs, established with $12 million of the gift, will enable the university to recruit distinguished clinical and translational researchers from around the country. Initially, faculty whose research is focused in the Pauley Heart Center and the Massey Cancer Center will be awarded the chairs, which will be held for five years. The chairs can then be renewed or shifted to other areas of excellence in the health sciences.

The additional $4 million will launch the physician-scientist scholars program, which will help VCU prepare the best and brightest students for careers in clinical and translational research, providing tuition and stipends for M.D.-Ph.D. candidates in the VCU School of Medicine.

“The Center for Translational Research is improving the lives of patients at VCU Health,” Wright said. “I am excited about helping to put the very best faculty and students in the laboratories and clinics so new discoveries can be made and new treatments can be developed. I know that Dianne would be very pleased about this gift and the impact it will have across VCU.”

Follow CCTR in the coming months as we undergo an exciting and major brand change to reflect becoming a named center due to the generosity of C. Kenneth Wright.

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C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright