Translational research is an approach to research that seeks to produce more meaningful, applicable results that directly benefit human health. This approach emphasizes removing barriers to multidisciplinary collaboration among laboratory and clinical researchers. It also incorporates the desires of the general public, with communities being engaged to determine their needs for health innovation. The goal is to move basic science discoveries more quickly and efficiently into practice. This concept is often summarized by the phrases “bench-to-bedside” and “bedside-to-community” research. Translational research also encompasses efforts to identify and support the adoption of best medical and health practices. At the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Translational Research Institute (TRI), we provide numerous targeted resources to address barriers that can curb productivity and the swift translation of research into new health care advances.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which supports the work of TRI, studies translation on a system-wide level as a scientific and operational problem. The NCATS website states that:

  • 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.
  • Translational science is the field of investigation focused on understanding the scientific and operational principles underlying each step of the translational process.