Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Case Studies in Translational Research

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Welcome to CSTR

Fall, 2015

Course Directors:

Skip Brass, MD PhD


Emma Meagher, MD


Gregory Podsakoff, MD


Carsten Skarke, MD


Ali Naji, MD PhD


A student-led, faculty-supported exploration of the role of physician-scientists in bench to bedside translational medicine. We will examine 5 case studies of translational research using investigators from Penn and industry as preceptors. The course design, which was pilot-tested last year and revised for this year, requires active involvement by all of the students on all of the case studies, working in small teams in which students will rotate as team leader. The course directors and case preceptors have chosen the topics, but the members of each week’s lead team will be responsible for selecting and guiding deliverables. Team roles are described below.

Students taking the course:

Please look at the remainder of this website before the course begins, particularly the sections entitled “Schedule” and “Student Guidelines”. Please note the August 24th start date. 


Physician-scientists are especially well-suited for guiding the development of new therapeutic and diagnostic modalities from the research setting to the clinic, but may not be trained in all of the skills needed to accomplish this. The challenges attendant with accomplishing this successfully are diverse and in some respects very different from the day to day issues of running a basic science research lab (or a PhD thesis project). The goal of CSTR2.0 is to teach you about these challenges and how to overcome them in the context of translational science.


Among the useful skills that we will focus on in this course are: 1) Setting research goals and meeting milestones in the setting of clinical research. 2) Selecting outcomes and producing deliverables. 3) Protecting intellectual property and managing conflict of interest. 4) Performing preclinical and clinical studies. 5) Organizing, leading and working in teams that include people with different skills.

6) Understanding  statistical analysis as applied to preclinical studies as well as trials.

Lead and Support Team organization:


This course is intended to be part of the second year MD/PhD curriculum. There will be a sign-up sheet by Maureen in Maggie’s office as of Monday August 17. By Friday August 21, please sign up to be on one of the 5 teams, each of which will have either 4 or 5 team members. Each team will be the Lead Team on one of the 5 translational cases, and a support team on each of the other 4.


Course Organization:


The class will meet 12 times in the Fall semester:  an introductory session on August 24th, a field trip to SPARK therapeutics ( on August 28th and 5 double sessions (one double session for each case study).


August 17:                      Team sign-up (Maggie’s office)

August 24:                      Introduction, planning and brief lectures on intellectual property (Dr. Meagher).

August 28:                      SPARK therapeutics (


Sept 2 and 9:                   Lead team A       


Sept 16 and 30:              Lead team B


Oct 7 and 14:                  Lead team C


Oct 21 and Nov 11:        Lead team D


Nov 18 and 24:               Lead team E




• Last updated: 08/03/2015