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What is Translational Research?

Updated: Feb 2

Translational research refers to any research and clinical work that is involved in the process of taking discoveries and knowledge from basic biology, bioinformatics, and clinical research and applying them to clinical practice or medical practice, often to referred to as the “bench to bedside” bridge [1,2]. The goal is to turn discoveries in the lab and basic research more quickly and effectively into improved health outcomes [1, 3].


Right now, although there are about 10,000 known diseases and conditions that affect humans, only about 500 have known treatments or cures [1]. There are still a very large number of diseases that are not fully understood or that do not have known or effective treatments. In addition, the current lab-discovery to drug development pipeline is often very expensive and time consuming [1]. It can take up to 10 years and 10-100s of billions of dollars to develop successful drug candidates for diseases [1].


Recent advances in research and technology, including advances in genetics and bioinformatics, systems biology, imaging, tissue processing, and more have provided valuable opportunities to both improve our understanding of diseases and conditions and speed up the process of developing treatments for those conditions.


Translational research often involves multidisciplinary collaborations between different kinds of scientists and can involve projects that include basic biologists, bioinformaticians, clinical scientists, clinicians, engineers, pharmacists, and others [1,2]. It often also involves partnerships between academia and industry, as expertise if often needed in basic biology, applied biology, clinical research, drug development or treatment development, and drug manufacturing or treatment application [1,2,3].





1. UC Davis. 2021. What is Translational Research?. [online] Available at: https://www.ucdavis.edu/one-health/translational-research/.

2. Mrc.ukri.org. 2021. About our translational research - Funding - Medical Research Council. [online] Available at: https://mrc.ukri.org/funding/science-areas/translation/about-our-translational-research/.

3. https://tri.uams.edu/. 2019. What is Translational Research?. [online] Available at: https://tri.uams.edu/about-tri/what-is-translational-research/.

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