Committee on Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)

The Committee on Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is an independent academic unit based in the University’s Biological Sciences Division (BSD). With support from CHeSS and the Institute for Translational Medicine, we advance multidisciplinary training in clinical and translational science at the University of Chicago and develop high-quality coursework for researchers and students committed to significantly impacting medical science and practice.

The CCTS supports the development of curriculum in clinical and translational science at the University. Courses are designed to provide undergraduates, graduate-level trainees, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty with state-of-the-art skills in the field. For more information, please contact Kelsey Bogue or Absera Melaku.

Current Areas of Concentration include:

  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Translational Informatics
  • Health Services Research
  • Quality and Safety
  • Clinical Research
  • Community-Based Research
  • Global Health
  • Pharmacogenomics

View Past CCTS courses here.

Spring 2022 Courses

Scholars in Ethics and Medicine Cohort (SEM) – CCTS 21005 / 41005
Instructor(s): Kathryn Rowland
Time: Wed 05:30 PM-08:30 PM
Location: TBA
Note: Cross-Listed: MED 31005 / CCTS 31005; This is a yearlong course. Students must register for Aut, Win, and Spr Quarters to receive 100 units at the end of Spring 2022. 

This multi-disciplinary course draws insights from medicine, sociology, moral psychology, philosophy, ethics and theology to explore answers to the unique challenges that medicine faces in the context of late modernity: How does one become a “good physician” in an era of growing moral pluralism and health care complexity? Students will engage relevant literature from across these disciplines to address issues regarding the legitimate goals of medicine, medical professionalism, the doctor-patient relationship, vocation and calling, the role of religion in medicine, and character development in medical education. The course will first introduce the challenges that moral pluralism in contemporary society presents to the profession of medicine along with the subsequent calls for a renewed pursuit of clinical excellence in today’s complex health care system. It will then survey the resurgence of a philosophical discipline (virtue ethics) that has begun to shape contemporary debate regarding what types of “excellences” are needed for a good medical practice dominated by medical science and technology.

Clinical Research Design And Interpretation Of Health Data – CCTS 21011 / 41011
Instructor(s): Gregory Ruhnke
Time: Tuesday Thursday 11:00 AM-12:20 PM
Location: TBD

This course will introduce the interdisciplinary field of clinically-oriented health services research with a focus on the interpretation of health-related metrics and policy-related applications. We will examine how translational medical science informs healthcare providers, payers, and professional societies. COVID-19 and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy will illustrate the challenges of data interpretation, translation of research findings into clinical medicine, and the adoption of evidence-based guidelines. Using a highly interactive approach, students will gain experience in selection of research study designs, measurement of health status, risk adjustment, causal inference, and understanding the placebo effect. We will discuss how clinicians, administrators, and public reporting entities judge and use information derived from investigations. The COVID-19 pandemic will demonstrate the challenges that varied clinical presentations, diagnostic accuracy, and case definition (identification of diseased patients) create in the formulation of health statistics (e.g. case-fatality rates and disease attribution of mortality). We will also discuss methods of defining study populations for both clinical research and public health reporting.

Health Economics And Public Policy – CCTS 38300
Instructor(s): David Meltzer
Time: Tuesday Thursday 2:00 PM-3:20 PM
Location: The Keller Center 1022
Note: This course is crosslisted with PPHA 38300. You may waitlist for this course by adding yourself to the waitlist for PPHA 38300.

This course analyzes the economics of health and medical care in the United States with particular attention to the role of government. The first part of the course examines the demand for health and medical and the structure and the consequences of public and private insurance. The second part of the course examines the supply of medical care, including professional training, specialization and compensation, hospital competition, and finance and the determinants and consequences of technological change in medicine. The course concludes with an examination of recent proposals and initiatives for health care reform.

Introduction to Infectious Disease Epidemiology – CCTS 43200
Instructor(s): Maria N Pyra
Time: Mon Wed 01:30 PM-02:50 PM
Location: BioSci Learning Center 240

This intermediate-level course will build off basic epidemiology foundations to understand principles of infectious disease epidemiology as well as focus on specific diseases & their public health significance. We will examine disease transmission and the interactions between pathogens, hosts, and environment. This course introduces key pathogens, diagnostics, and immune responses. In addition, we will explore the roles of climate change, globalization, and social determinants of health on infectious diseases. Students will learn about research and public health responses to infectious diseases, including study design, modeling, molecular epidemiology, surveillance, outbreak investigation, and prevention.

 

Winter 2022 Courses 

Health Disparities in Breast Cancer — CCTS 20400 / 40400
Instructor(s): M. Eileen Dolan
Time: Mon Wed 03:00 PM-04:20 PM
Location: BioSci Learning Center 115

Across the globe, breast cancer is the most common women’s cancer. In the last two decades, there have been significant advances in breast cancer detection and treatment that have resulted in improved survival rates. Yet, not all populations have benefited equally from these improvements, and there continues to be a disproportionate burden of breast cancer felt by different populations. In the U.S., for example, white women have the highest incidence of breast cancer but African-American women have the highest breast cancer mortality overall. The socioeconomic, environmental, biological, and cultural factors that collectively contribute to these disparities are being identified with a growing emphasis on health disparities research efforts. In this 10-week discussion-based course students will meet twice weekly and cover major aspects of breast cancer disparities.

Machine Learning & Advanced Analytics for Biomedicine — CCTS 20500 / 40500
Instructor(s): Ishanu Chattopadhyay
Time: Mon 04:30 PM-07:20 PM
Location: BioSci Learning Center 205

The age of ubiquitous data is rapidly transforming scientific research, and advanced analytics powered by sophisticated learning algorithms is uncovering new insights in complex open problems in biology and biomedicine. The goal of this course is to provide an introductory overview of the key concepts in machine learning, outlining the potential applications in biomedicine. Beginning from basic statistical concepts, we will discuss concepts and implementations of standard and state of the art classification and prediction algorithms, and go on to discuss more advanced topics in unsupervised learning, deep learning architectures, and stochastic time series analysis. We will also cover emerging ideas in data-driven causal inference, and demonstrate applications in uncovering etiological insights from large scale clinical databases of electronic health records, and publicly available sequence and omics datasets. The acquisition of hands-on skills will be emphasized over machine learning theory. On successfully completing the course, students will have acquired enough knowledge of the underlying machinery to intuit and implement solutions to non-trivial data science problems arising in biology and medicine.

Scholars in Ethics and Medicine Cohort — CCTS 21005 / 41005
Instructor(s): Kathryn Rowland
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Note: Cross-Listed: MED 31005 / CCTS 31005; This is a yearlong course. Students must register for Aut, Win, and Spr Quarters to receive 100 units at the end of Spring 2022. The course will be held on the following dates: Nov. 17th; Jan. 19th, Feb. 16th, and Apr. 6th at 5 pm to 8 pm.

This multi-disciplinary course draws insights from medicine, sociology, moral psychology, philosophy, ethics and theology to explore answers to the unique challenges that medicine faces in the context of late modernity: How does one become a “good physician” in an era of growing moral pluralism and health care complexity? Students will engage relevant literature from across these disciplines to address issues regarding the legitimate goals of medicine, medical professionalism, the doctor-patient relationship, vocation and calling, the role of religion in medicine, and character development in medical education. The course will first introduce the challenges that moral pluralism in contemporary society presents to the profession of medicine along with the subsequent calls for a renewed pursuit of clinical excellence in today’s complex health care system. It will then survey the resurgence of a philosophical discipline (virtue ethics) that has begun to shape contemporary debate regarding what types of “excellences” are needed for a good medical practice dominated by medical science and technology.

Religion, Medicine, and the Experience of Illness — CCTS 21012 
Instructor(s): Mark Lambert
Time: Mon Wed : 01:30 PM-02:50 PM
Location: Hinds Lab Geo Sci 184

This course introduces students to both the dynamic relationship between religion and medicine and the role of religion as it relates to the experience of illness. Through a survey of a broad selection of religious traditions, textual genres, and case studies, students will evaluate how religion offers a pliable explanatory system (through myths, symbols, rituals, etc.) to address questions of causation, coping, and curing vis-à-vis illness. The historical relationship between religions and medical systems has been fascinatingly complex. We will encounter examples where religion and medicine work in tandem as complementary explanatory systems, e.g., with devotion to holy figures such as Saint Jude. We will also discuss what happens when religion usurps the explanatory role of medicine, e.g., when the activity of spirits becomes the diagnostic explanation for a medical condition such as epilepsy. Drawing upon literature from art history, medical anthropology, sociology, history, and theology, this course surveys the impressive variety of responses to illness both across religious traditions and within those traditions. Prior knowledge of religious studies and/or medical history is not required for the course.

Scientists Advancing the Forefront — CCTS 33000
Instructor(s): Erika Claud, Ronald Cohen
Time: TBA
Location: TBA

In this survey course, leading basic and translational biomedical scientists will review cutting-edge themes that constitute the forefront of medical research. Learners will emerge with a broad understanding of: • How these scientific themes relate to human health • How scientists develop and apply new knowledge about each theme to improve the human condition • The career paths of physician-scientists This course is supported through generous funding from the Burroughs

Global Health Sciences III:  Biological and Social Determinants of Health — CCTS 22003 / 42003
Instructor(s): Christopher Olopade, Olufunmilayo Olopade
Time: TBA
Location: TBA

Global health is an interdisciplinary and empirical field, requiring holistic and innovative approaches to navigate an ever-changing environment in the pursuit of health equity. This course will emphasize specific health challenges facing vulnerable populations in low resource settings including in the United States and the large scale social, political, and economic forces that contribute to them through topical events and case studies. Students will study the importance of science and technology, key institutions and stakeholders; environmental impacts on health; ethical considerations in research and interventions; maternal and child health; health and human rights; international legal frameworks and global health diplomacy. Students will gain skills in technical writing as they construct position statements and policy briefs on global health issues of interest. Career opportunities in global health will be explored throughout the course.

 

Eligibility

The CCTS provides quality clinical and translational science training to postdoctoral BSD fellows; advanced graduate students in the biological and social sciences; and junior faculty. However, many courses may be relevant to undergraduates, medical students, and/or more advanced faculty. We encourage interested students, fellows, or faculty members to consider our offerings. Please contact Kelsey  Bogue, CCTS administrator, at kbogue@bsd.uchicago.edu with any questions.

 

How to Enroll

Interested trainees may take advantage of CCTS offerings in any of the following ways:

  • Enroll in the individual course(s) most relevant to their planned research or field of study;
  • Complete an Area of Concentration curriculum in conjunction with a master’s degree through the Department of Public Health Sciences;
  • Attend any of our ongoing lectures or seminar series.

There is no formal application process for participation in most CCTS courses, but we encourage trainees to reach out to faculty instructors prior to enrolling in a course. Students who wish to take courses for academic credit must enroll through the University Registrar. Some courses will also have a separate registration form that you can find on this webpage or in the CHeSS newsletter. For more information on how to enroll, please contact CCTS administrator Kelsey Bogue at kbogue@bsd.uchicago.edu.

 

Support

The CCTS is supported by the Institute for Translational Medicine, which is funded by an NIH-sponsored Clinical & Translational Science Award (CTSA). Additional support is provided by CHeSS.