Grant proposals often require a description of facilities and resources or other supplementary documentation that describes the environment where the research will be performed. The Research Concierge Service (RCS) has compiled boilerplate language for this purpose. Investigators are advised to tailor boilerplate language to reflect the specific aims of their research project. In addition, the RCS strongly recommends that investigators directly contact the department/institute/center in question when seeking a more in-depth resource description, particularly if a specific resource is integral to the research proposal. If you would like to submit boilerplate language for the website or provide updated language for an existing resource represented here, please email the RCS at ResearchConcierge@hmc.psu.edu.

Career Development

Historically, junior faculty members at Penn State Health have had access to two institutional mentored career development (i.e. “K award”) programs dedicated to the mentorship of junior faculty – the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Program and the KL2 Scholars Program. Established in 2007, the BIRCWH Program embraces multiple colleges on two Penn State campuses – Hershey and University Park. BIRCWH scholars come from multiple disciplines, but are united by their scholarly research in the field of women’s health and understanding sex/gender differences relevant to human health. The BIRCWH Program created a successful cross-campus mentoring model that was expanded in 2011 with the roll-out of the KL2 Program, which is supported by the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Penn State CTSI). The KL2 Program is also a cross-campus program, but is specifically geared toward junior faculty who want to pursue an academic career in clinical and/or translational research. Together, the BIRCWH and KL2 programs co-sponsor a monthly “K Community” seminar series that is open to faculty members who are funded through an institutional K award or an individual K award. The seminar series is also open to faculty mentors.

Grants Academy is an 8-month, structured non-credit program designed to assist faculty members with the preparation and submission of an investigator-initiated grant proposal. Participation in Grants Academy requires approximately 10 percent release time. Meetings of Grants Academy are held once a month, generally from October through April. Participants are required to complete a considerable amount of out-of-class work and once enrolled, are expected to be active participants. Each Grants Academy meeting is accompanied by the required submission of a component of the final grant application. Class sizes are kept small (10-15 persons) to facilitate team-based learning.

On July 23, 2013 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a notice (#NOT-OD-13-093) regarding required components of annual progress reports, which are required of institutions that receive research grants or cooperative agreement awards. Annual progress reports, commonly referred to as RPPRs (Research Performance Progress Reports) are a federal mandate. The NIH uses RPPRs to document grantee accomplishments and compliance with the terms of their award. #NOT-OD-13-093 modifies the RPPR by requesting a statement from the institution regarding Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for all graduate students and postdoctoral scholars supported by any NIH grant. IDPs are strongly recommended for all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NIH funding. This new NIH policy does not require IDPs be included within submitted RPPRs, but it does require that the RPPRs include a statement outlining current practices being used by the institution. Institutions are encouraged to begin reporting IDPs in all RPPRs submitted on or after October 1, 2014.

Since the Fall of 2013, the College of Medicine has implemented a policy that requires all graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to prepare IDPs – regardless of the source of their funding support – to assist investigators with this new NIH reporting requirement, the Vice Dean for Research & Graduate Studies has made the following boilerplate language available for inclusion in RPPRs:

Boilerplate Language for RPPRs:

Each year, all College of Medicine doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars will prepare or update an Individual Development Plan (IDP). This Plan will include at least one activity to be undertaken over the upcoming academic year in support of the trainee’s career development. The trainee is expected to update the IDP and submit for review to his/her advisor prior to the start of the academic year. Thesis advisors and advisors of postdoctoral scholars are expected to review the IDP with the trainee and both parties are expected to agree on a set of career development activities.

The Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) offers a holistic curriculum that serves as a model for faculty professional development programs nationwide. Each year, the program runs from September to May, with 2-hour sessions each Friday morning. Sessions are led by senior faculty members or experts from other institutions. The JFDP consists of two components: (1) a comprehensive curriculum that includes topics on research, education, clinical practice, and academic/career development and (2) a scholarly project completed under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor assigned by the Program. Through written agreement, Department chairs must approve the junior faculty member’s participation in the JFDP and must also approve their proposed project. Participation in JFDP requires approximately 4 hours per week, including class time.

The Junior Faculty Research Scholar (JFRS) Award is unique to Penn State Hershey and specifically, the College of Medicine. Internal funds are used to support the JFRS Award – a competitive mechanism that receives, on average, 22 to 27 applications each year. The College of Medicine awards up to 4 investigators $200,000 over a two-year period for a research project and complementing career development plan.

Mentored career development awards (e.g. “K” awards) provide salary support and research funding to early stage investigators who need to undertake a sustained period (3-5 years) of intensive, supervised career development experiences in order to transition to research independence. The Penn State College of Medicine is committed to supporting early career faculty members and trainees. To that end, the College of Medicine offers the K Grants Workshop Series – an annual 4-week seminar series that provides participants the tools needed to craft a competitive mentored career development proposal. Key topics covered throughout the seminar series include:

  • Types of mentored awards
  • Determining when you are ready to apply for a mentored award
  • Overview of the proposal development process
  • Key ingredients to a competitive research plan
  • Selecting the right mentoring team
  • Integrating the career development plan and research strategy
  • Research resources critical to proposal development and submission
  • What to expect from the review and resubmission process

Several senior faculty members co-direct the workshop series, which is structured in the following format. Each session combines didactic training with group discussion. Each session focuses on a specific theme that builds upon the previous week’s session. Participants who attend all 4 sessions learn to develop a rigorous, well-defined mentored career development proposal.

The Office for Support in Learning and Teaching Excellence offers workshops on teaching strategies and new methods as well as observation and one-on-one consulting sessions.

In November 2013, the Office of the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the Penn State College of Medicine, in collaboration with the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Penn State CTSI), established the Research Concierge Service (RCS) to help investigators at all career stages and in all disciplines pursue extramural funding for research. The RCS enhances the research development infrastructure at the Penn State College of Medicine by working with investigators to identify strategic funding opportunities, to build and nurture trans-disciplinary research teams, to provide editing and writing support, and to guide the development of multi-investigator proposals. The RCS’ overriding goal is to improve the quality and increase the number of extramural funding submissions. The RCS has a full-time administrator that reports to the Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Research. The Associate Dean guides the service area and also assumes the role of Director of Research Development. The RCS maintains a website that provides timely and robust guidance for finding funding, identifying collaborators, and developing proposals for external submission. The Penn State College of Medicine is leading the effort to establish a research concierge paradigm that can be replicated at other Penn State campuses as a vehicle for increasing the efficiency of connecting potential research collaborators, mentors, and reviewers.

The postdoctoral program at the Penn State College of Medicine is designed to support the training and education of postdoctoral scholars and fellows, to promote postdoctoral research accomplishments across the University, and to foster a sense of community among its scholars. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs helps meet all these goals through a variety of resources and programs, including Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs coordinates all postdoc RCR training, which incorporates new NIH requirements for formal instruction in rigorous experimental design and transparency to enhance reproducibility.

All postdocs are required to complete RCR training within the first two years of their training period and must repeat the training if their appointment extends beyond four years. The training curriculum consists of online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) coursework and real-time discussion groups led by trainees and faculty. The CITI training must be completed within three weeks from the first day of employment. Postdocs who have had no prior RCR training must complete CITI’s RCR Basic Course, which addresses the following topics: authorship, collaborative research, conflicts of interest, data management, financial responsibility, mentoring, peer review, plagiarism, human subjects research, research misconduct, and animal research. CITI’s RCR Refresher Course is available to postdocs who have previously completed the Basic Course. In addition to receiving a certificate of completion for one of these CITI modules, postdocs must attend a minimum of 8 workshops in the College’s Professional Development Workshop Series: “Lab Management and Research Survival Skills.” This monthly workshop series is intended for a culturally diverse trainee group. Each one-hour workshop is designed to bring focus to the unique roles of postdocs as laboratory personnel. Trainees select and present case studies from laboratory settings; case study presentations are followed by small group discussion between trainees and faculty. Participating faculty include postdoctoral mentors and general research faculty at the College of Medicine. Attendance is recorded and a certificate provided upon completion. For additional details about RCR training for postdocs, please visit the website for the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

The “K Community” Seminar Series supported by the Penn State BIRCWH and KL2 programs was founded in 2007 by the BIRCWH Program and subsequently expanded in 2011 to include Penn State CTSI KL2 recipients and individual K-awardees. Monthly seminars take place on the first Monday of each month for 2 ½ – 3 hours. Reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the K scholars and their mentor teams, the seminar series alternates between the University Park campus and the Hershey campus. Each session includes a networking lunch and a formal presentation by an internal or external speaker that is selected by the K awardees. These presentations provide an opportunity for K awardees to expand their professional networks by inviting experts in their fields from other universities to visit Penn State. Seminar sessions are either a scientific talk or a professional development topic. Professional development topics have included strategies for effective time use, preparation of NIH resubmission applications, preparation of PCORI grants, promotion and tenure issues, and internal resources for pilot project funding and grant preparation. The seminar series also provides an opportunity for K awardees to present their own research and to “workshop” draft manuscripts, posters, or grant applications. In workshop sessions, K awardees receive constructive feedback from their peers on works in progress. These workshop sessions have received overwhelmingly positive evaluations by K awardees due to the benefits of receiving feedback in a supportive, multidisciplinary context.

Core Facilities

Directed by Eugene J. Lengerich, VMD, MS, the mission of the Community Sciences and Health Outcomes (CSHO) Core of the Penn State Cancer Institute (PSCI) is to facilitate community-based, behavioral, interventional, and health services/outcomes research within the PSCI. Core faculty and staff have been active in external funding from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society, Pennsylvania Department of Health and various foundations. Established in 2010, the Core is co-located on the third floor of the PSCI and on the fifth floor of the Ford building on Penn State’s University Park campus.  In addition, the CSHO core maintains active collaboration with community-based sites within the PSCI’s 27-county catchment area.  The CSHO core offers the following services and resources to PSCI members:

  • Established networks of community engagement
    • Northern Appalachia Cancer Network
    • Community Health Worker Program
  • Comprehensive information on 27-county PSCI catchment area
    • Mapping and spatial analysis
  • Analysis of secondary data sets
    • PA data sets
    • Unique national data sets
  • Access to external rural health care providers and affiliate hospitals
    • Protocol development and approval
    • Study recruitment and retention
  • Consultation
    • Cancer prevention, early detection, survivorship and quality of life research
    • Community-based research
    • Cultural sensitivity and health literacy
    • Recruitment and retention of diverse participants
    • Qualitative study design and data analysis
    • Strategies for dissemination and implementation

Both clinical samples and research samples are routinely analyzed in this clinically (CAP)–accredited facility. The Flow Cytometry Core Facility routinely analyzes both Clinical samples and Research samples in this clinically (CAP)–accredited facility. Two 2-laser, 4-color Becton Dickinson FACSCaliburs, one 3-laser, 8-color Becton Dickinson FACSCantoII, one 2-laser, 6-color Becton Dickinson FACSCanto, one 4-laser, 15-color Becton Dickinson LSR II and one 4-laser, 16-color Becton-Dickinson LSR Fortessa are available for use by investigators.  In addition, a 4-laser, 16-color Becton Dickinson Aria III high-speed 4-way sorter housed within a biocontainment hood is available for operator-assisted live cell sorting. Computer workstations equipped with multiple flow cytometry analysis software are available for data analysis. For the most up-to-date information, see the facility’s web page and links at: http://med.psu.edu/web/core/flow-cytometry

The Penn State Hershey Genome Sciences Facility is a full service facility and provides consultation, instrumentation, and services to both Penn State and non-Penn State investigators in genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic studies. The variety of instrumentation allows for capabilities ranging from highly focused analysis of candidate SNPs, and mRNAs to whole genome, exome, epigenome, and transcriptome sequencing. Services are also available for a variety of study designs extending from a few laboratory samples to large (100s to 1,000s of samples) clinical projects. Full bioinformatics service is also available for data analysis. The Facility resides in 5,000 square feet of newly renovated space, encompassing separate “pre-amplification” and “post-amplification” rooms to prevent any contamination of PCR-amplified materials to pre-processed input DNA/RNA samples. Four well-experienced staffs are available for assisting project operation. In addition, the lab space is available for investigators who need temporary room for sample preparation. The facility receives either tissue, DNA/RNA, or customer-generated NGS libraries. It processes samples according to prior consultation and agreement with the PI on experiment design. The facility develops new applications to accommodate state-of-the-art NGS technologies. It also conducts sequencing reads alignment, secondary analysis (quantitation, variant calling, functional annotation, visualization, etc) and follow-up interpretation of results. The facility provides grant writing support and educates/trains students/post-docs with hands-on NGS processing. For the most up-to-date information, see the facility’s web page and links at http://med.psu.edu/web/core/gene-expression-analysis.

Penn State Health purchased a High Performance Computing (HPC) system in July 2015. To comply with requirements for managing grant-supported research data, the HPC system is used for computational and storage services. The HPC system is dedicated for use by Penn State College of Medicine researchers. The HPC system was purchased to provide researchers the computational and storage tools needed to efficiently and effectively process data. The Penn State College of Medicine’s Research Informatics department provides full support of both the operation and maintenance of the HPC environment. The HPC system is physically located on the Penn State Health campus in Hershey. The data center was designed to Tier III data center standards. The system is ideal for processing genomic, DNA sequencing, imaging, and other scientific analysis. The system contains 3 administrative, 10 standard, and 3 high memory compute nodes. The system provides 1 Petabyte of enterprise storage that is divided into 100 Terabytes (TBs) of high-speed scratch space and 900 TBs of usable storage space.

The ten compute nodes provide 240 2.5GHz Intel v3 cores (480 threads) with a total of 2560 Gigabytes (GBs) of RAM and the three high memory nodes provide 2.3 GHz 96 v3 cores (192 threads) with a total of 2304 GBs of RAM. The total compute capacity and total RAM of the system is 4864 GBs with the standard and high memory compute nodes providing 10.5 GBs of RAM and 24 GBs of RAM per core respectively.

The cost for the HPC system is derived from charges for computational processing hours per core utilization and storage per GB per month.

For information about the Research Informatics department refer to: http://med.psu.edu/core/informatics.

The purpose of the Macromolecular Core Facility is to provide state-of-the-art methods for analysis and synthesis of protein and nucleic acid structures. Current services include: Protein/peptide sequencing (Mass Spec), Peptide synthesis, Oligonucleotide synthesis, and Film Image analysis. For the most up-to-date information, see the facility’s web page and links at http://med.psu.edu/web/core/macromolecular-synthesis

This facility provides multiple separation, digestion, chemical derivatization, mass spec, and database searching services for proteomic, carbohydrate, oligonucleotide, lipidomics, and small molecule analysis. Analyses available including targeted methods for quantitation of pre-determined metabolites or proteins, data-dependent discovery methods to ID and quantitate hundreds to thousands of metabolites or proteins, and SWATH/Data-Independent Analyses (DIA) for simultaneous identification and quantitation. Instrumentation includes an ABSciex TripleTOF 5600, an ABSciex MALDI TOF-TOF 5800; an MDS/Sciex 4000 QTrap (Hybrid Ion Trap); a Waters Synapt HDMS; and a Voyager DE-PRO MALDI-TOF; an ABI Tempo LC-MALDI Plate Spotter; Shimadzu, Eksigent, Agilent 1100, Waters Acquity and NanoAcquity HPLC and UPLC systems; and a Beckman- Coulter PF-2D system for whole protein level separations and quantitation. For the most up-to-date information, see the facility’s web page and links at: http://med.psu.edu/web/core/proteins-mass-spectometry.

The Microscopy Imaging Facility (MIF) provides services in ultra-high resolution imaging of cells and tissues in fixed or live states. The MIF also provides expert services in quantitative image analysis and consultations on microscopy-related research projects. The MIF houses: (1) a high end inverted confocal microscope system [Leica SP8 AOBS White Light Laser] and a sophisticated inverted wide field microscope with optical sectioning and deconvolution capabilities [DeltaVision Elite] which are capable of high resolution 3D or 4D fluorescence imaging of histological tissue sections (5-100 microns thick sections) or live/ fixed cells; (2) a transmission electron microscope [JEOL 1400 TEM] capable of ultra-structural biological imaging; (3) a cryo-transmission electron microscope [JEOL2100 Cryo-TEM] capable of single particle and single macromolecular complex imaging; (4) image processing workstations [Bitplane Imaris and Huygens] for complex 3D or 4D fluorescence image processing and quantitative image analysis; (5) image processing workstations [auto3dem and EMAN2] for cryo-TEM image processing and 3D reconstruction. For the most up-to-date information including recent publications, see the facility’s web page and links at  http://med.psu.edu/web/core/microscopy-histology.

The MRI/MRS Core Facility is located in the Center for NMR Research (CNMRR), which occupies approximately 6,500 square feet in the MRI building facing the Biomedical Research Wing of the College of Medicine. The core provides both in vivo and ex vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) services in animals and humans. These are particularly attractive techniques because they allow the viewing or measurement of closed internal structures or metabolism of living animals or cells in a completely noninvasive and nondestructive manner. Magnetic Resonance offers a wide variety of fundamental measurements of anatomy and physiology. These include detailed anatomical imaging in soft tissues, quantitative measurements of blood flow or perfusion, brain white matter fiber tracking, measurement of metabolism and kinetics in internal organs in situ, volume and staging of tumors, and functional MRI (fMRI) which can view the effects of specific stimuli on specific brain neurons or regions, allowing one a means to “see” the brain think. For the most up-to-date information, see the facility’s web page and links at https://research.med.psu.edu/departments/center-for-nmr-research/

The NMR Facility has a 500 MHz and a 600 MHz Bruker spectrometers with cryoprobes for macromolecular structure determination, small molecule structure elucidation and metabolomics studies. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the facility’s web page at: http://med.psu.edu/core/imaging.

The Zebrafish Functional Genomics Core at Penn State College of Medicine was established to provide the Penn State research community with a modern, centralized facility for housing, breeding and performing experiments with zebrafish, one of the fastest growing model systems in biomedical research. The core includes a central housing room equipped with 32 racks of recirculating aquaria, an isolated quarantine room, a sentinel program monitoring each system for the presence of pathogens, a procedure room with microinjection stations, three independently controlled light-tight breeding cabinets, and two photo booths to provide bright field and fluorescent imaging. Traditionally employed as a model of developmental biology, due to its optical clarity and regenerative capabilities, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become one of the preeminent models of human genetic disease, thanks in part to the availability of a high-quality, annotated genetic sequence. Approximately 70 percent of human protein-coding genes and 84 percent of human disease-associated genes have functional genetic homologs in zebrafish. For the most up-to-date information including recent publications, see the facility’s web page and links at http://med.psu.edu/core/animal-services.

General Descriptions

Established in 1963, the Penn State College of Medicine is one of the country’s leading medical schools. Comprised of 24 academic departments – 8 basic science departments and 16 clinical departments – the Penn State College of Medicine contributes to an annual portfolio of more than $100 million in funded research. The College is located on the 550-acre campus of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center – one of the country’s leading teaching and research hospitals. The Penn State College of Medicine and the medical center are partners in a fully integrated health system, sharing a common leader who serves as both CEO of the medical center and dean of the college. This progressive leadership structure provides a fertile environment for faculty physicians to integrate the latest biomedical knowledge across all mission areas. Campus Teams have been an integral part of the Penn State College of Medicine’s leadership for over a decade. These teams, in conjunction with either a vice dean or other member of campus leadership, are responsible for a large part of the strategic planning for three mission areas: Academic (Education), Community Health, Research and Graduate Education. Campus Teams cut across departmental and hierarchical boundaries to allow faculty and staff from across the college and medical center communities to bring new ideas, talents and expertise to strategic and budgetary processes. The Penn State College of Medicine is recognized for achieving several “firsts”:

  •  The first medical school to develop a Department of Humanities (the focus on humanities remains an essential component in training students to become compassionate physicians);
  • The first medical center to develop an independent Department of Family and Community Medicine and a family and community residency program;
  • The first researchers to discover a gene that suppresses the metastasis of melanoma;
  • The first scientists to map the gene for hemochromatosis, the most common genetic disorder in the United States; and
  • The first surgeons to perform a robotically assisted heart bypass on a patient.

Physicians employed at the medical center hold academic appointments at the Penn State College of Medicine and many faculty members have close working relationships with clinicians at the medical center. For more information about the College’s mission and values: http://med.psu.edu/mission-values

Founded in 1963 through a gift from The Milton S. Hershey Foundation, the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is one of the country’s leading teaching and research hospitals. It is the only medical facility in Pennsylvania to be accredited as both an adult and a pediatric Level I trauma center. The facility draws patients from a 27-county catchment area that includes more than 1.9 million people and several federally designated medically-underserved areas. In addition, it is a quaternary care referral center for Pennsylvania and neighboring states, with a referral base of more than 2.5 million people. This large referral base provides an ideal platform for researchers to examine novel diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to treat a diverse range of acute and chronic diseases. In fiscal year 2016, the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Children’s Hospital admitted more than 28,000 patients, logged more than 74,000 emergency visits, over 1 million outpatient visits, and performed in excess of 32,000 surgical cases. The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has twice been designated as a Magnet hospital and achieved the highest level of recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) – a designation that is conferred on fewer than 7 percent of all U.S. hospitals. The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center employs more than 10,000 people and anchors a 550-acre health campus. The campus features the region’s only Children’s Hospital fully equipped to treat the most severely ill and injured children and the region’s only comprehensive cancer center.

The Penn State Children’s Hospital is supported by more than 200 pediatric medical and surgical specialists renowned in disciplines such as cancer, cardiology, orthopaedics, surgery and critical care. The Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in the region to perform bone marrow stem cell and kidney transplants for pediatric patients. It also has the only fully equipped and staffed academic level IV (highest level possible) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The Children’s Hospital has been named a national leader in 5 pediatric specialties (cancer, neonatology, neurology  and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, and urology) in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.

The Penn State Cancer Institute is the region’s only comprehensive cancer center, with access to internationally recognized cancer specialists and scientists who deliver a multidisciplinary approach and advanced medical technology. The Penn State Cancer Institute has full accreditation with gold level commendation status from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). This recognition highlights the Cancer Institute’s membership in an elite group of cancer programs committed to providing high-quality cancer care to patients in central Pennsylvania and beyond. It underscores the team’s commitment to excellence and plays an important role in advancing its mission to improve lives. As a CoC-accredited cancer program, the Penn State Cancer Institute demonstrates an important commitment to providing all patients with access to services they need from diagnoses through treatment, rehabilitation, and survivorship care.

Penn State University  ranks among the top 20 research universities in the United States. The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) currently ranks the University in the Top 50 among 1,000 research institutions across the globe. This impressive world ranking was determined from objective leading indicators of academic performance, including alumni employment, faculty honors/awards, publications, and patents. According to Penn State’s Annual Report of Research Activity issued by the Office of the Vice President for Research, research expenditures in fiscal year (FY) 2016 totaled $836 million – a 4 percent increase in research spending from the previous year and the second highest spending levels in Penn State history. These record-setting expenditures reflect increases in support from a number of federal agencies, including NASA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Health and Human Services. In FY 2016, federal sources accounted for $530 million – or roughly 63 percent of all Penn State research expenditures.

The Penn State College of Medicine is a key contributor to the University’s research portfolio. The Penn State College of Medicine is affiliated with one of the country’s leading academic medical centers and strives to be a national leader in basic, clinical, translational and health services research. The Penn State College of Medicine spent a record $109 million on research activity in FY 2016 – an increase of 15 percent from the prior year. The College of Medicine’s portfolio receives significant support from grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In FY 2016, the NIH released 215 awards to the College of Medicine representing $58.6 million – 54 percent of the College’s award activity that year. At $23.4 million in awarded funds, nonprofit organizations represented the second largest source of external research dollars, followed by private industry at $14.3 million.

Established in 2011, the University Park Regional Campus of the Penn State College of Medicine is located in State College, Pennsylvania adjacent to the University Park campus – Penn State’s flagship campus. The primary mission of the regional campus is to create an educational environment for training the next generation of healthcare providers and to improve access to patient-centered, high quality, cost-effective health care for local residents. This regional medical campus is being developed on 165 acres of land owned by Penn State and the Mount Nittany Medical Center, a 260-bed acute care facility offering medical, surgical, diagnostic, and community services to help patients reach their healthiest potential. One of the region’s top places to work, Mount Nittany Medical Center employs about 2,200 skilled healthcare professionals and support staff and credentials hundreds of employed and non-employed physicians in more than 60 specialties and subspecialties.

On January 2011, the corporate structure of Mount Nittany Medical Center transitioned from a hospital-based entity into a system organization. It also announced a major renovation and expansion of the Emergency Department, the construction of a comprehensive Cancer Pavilion, and the addition of 51 physicians to its physician group. Today, Mount Nittany Health has emerged as a regional health system that includes a parent organization, Mount Nittany Health, along with Mount Nittany Medical Center and Mount Nittany Physician Group, a practice with more than 120 healthcare providers, across 20 specialties, located in 15 convenient locations throughout the region as well as its fundraising and development entity, The Foundation of Mount Nittany Medical Center.

In July 2012, the Regional Campus welcomed its first group of medical students to begin their core clinical training, in collaboration with local Penn State College of Medicine faculty, Mount Nittany Medical Center faculty and other medical providers in the community. Thirteen College of Medicine students started their third year of medical education in State College with an orientation session held at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Institutes and Centers

The Center for NMR Research was founded in 1988 by the Department of Radiology with continuing extramural funding including a Bioengineering Research Partnership grant through the NIH/NIBIB. The Center for NMR Research (CNMRR) is a state-of-the-art research facility of the Department of Radiology at the College of Medicine. The research activities in the CNMRR focus on two fronts: 1) Methodology development of magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy, functional MRI and their clinical applications in human and animal models. 2) Radiofrequency magnetic field engineering. There are 4 full time research faculty members in the CNMRR collaborating with and supporting research activities within the College of Medicine.

The Center for Pediatric Cardiovascular Research dates back to 2003, when the Department of Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine brought together a new multi-disciplinary team focused on reducing the adverse effects of cardiovascular operations at the Pediatric Cardiac Research Laboratories. The center combines basic science, engineering, and clinical applications under the unified mission of pediatric cardiovascular research. Its main objective is the development of novel technologies and methodologies aimed at minimizing the adverse effects of cardiovascular operations, mechanical circulatory support systems, and cardiopulmonary bypass procedures in neonates, infants, and children. Particular attention is focused on reducing the associated morbidities of cerebral, myocardial, pulmonary, and renal injury. The Center for Pediatric Cardiovascular Research was formally recognized in 2009 and has more than 20 faculty members from Departments of Pediatrics, Surgery, Bioengineering, Public Health Sciences, Pharmacology, Comparative Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Microbiology & Immunology, and Anesthesiology, as well as several national and international faculty members from China, France, Germany, Korea, Italy, and Turkey. Within the first 9 years, the Center’s pediatric cardiac research group generated more than 360 publications, more than 250 national and international presentations and invited lectures, as well as more than $7 million in grants. The Center has trained dozens of medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate biomedical engineering students. For more information, visit the website at: http://childrens.pennstatehealth.org/community/participate-in-research/research-programs/pediatric-cardiovascular-research.

A key physical resource of the Penn State CTSI is the Clinical Research Center (CRC) – the institute’s home for clinical research. On a fee for service basis (with discounted rates for NIH funded studies and trainees), the CRC provides expert nursing care, equipment and state of the art facilities that include approximately 6,800 square feet of space, five patient exam rooms, an interview/consult room, a DXA room, two procedure rooms, three infusion sleep rooms and an exercise room. Since 1995, over 950 different protocols and 190 investigators have used the CRC facilities. The CRC hosts investigators funded by NIH and other federal, state and local agencies as well as by the private sector.

The Clinical Simulation Center at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center centralizes clinical training resources for students, residents, and other health care personnel. To advance the field of healthcare simulation, the Clinical Simulation Center conducts innovative research into simulation theory, practice, and technology. In January 2010, the Clinical Simulation Center underwent a major renovation, nearly doubling its size and relocating to a more central location on the campus of Penn State Health – the second floor of the Harrell Health Sciences Library at Penn State College of Medicine. A key feature of the 9,500 square-foot Clinical Simulation Center are the 10 small encounter rooms that support one-on-one or small group training with standardized patients (SPs), manikins or task trainers. Each room is equipped with 2 cameras and audio plus an auxiliary input for capturing signals from patient equipment or manikin monitors. Room layout is similar to a patient exam room with computers inside and outside the room that can be used for pretests, post encounter questionnaires or SP scoring. These rooms are ideal for the Standardized Patient Program, which uses actors and patient volunteers to help medical students develop and practice skills like history taking, physical examination, and patient communication, without risk to patients. The Clinical Simulation Center also includes 3 larger bays that can accommodate a variety of layouts, such as an ICU or operating room with real equipment and monitoring or an ED trauma bay. Each bay can be used separately, or the partitions between the bays can be raised to create spaces large enough to house several manikins for triage scenarios or care team training. The bays can each be recorded and the largest bay is equipped with a large 54″ LCD display. Skills are practiced in one of two spaces: the virtual reality room is equipped with virtual reality trainers, phantoms and box trainers; the skills task training room has individual task trainers and non-anatomic models. There are several cameras set up in the skills room to record trainees performing procedures for competencies. The models can also be moved into the bays to create blended training sessions with manikins or SPs, or into the rooms to create multiple learning stations that students can rotate through. Conference space and debriefing rooms are used for pretests, lectures in preparation for a hands-on session, debriefing videos of sessions, or post session questionnaires. Some of the rooms have smart boards and teleconference capabilities. All rooms can also be recorded for archiving lectures or for instructor quality improvement training. For large groups there is a lecture hall very close to the Center which holds approximately 150 students and a large classroom for approximately 80 students. Teleconferencing between the large classrooms and a debriefing space is possible. A computer lab located next to the Clinical Simulation Center is equipped with presentation equipment and computer stations for approximately 25 students. In addition, there are two small rooms adjacent to the Clinical Simulation Center that have audiovisual equipment, which supports an increase in the number of small encounter rooms from 10 to 12 when needed. To learn more, visit the Center’s website at: https://sites.psu.edu/hersheysimulation.

The Institute for CyberScience (ICS) was created in 2007 with the specific objective of coupling computing and information sciences with the core disciplines and exploring how cyberscience could enable connections between disciplines and promote large-scale collaborations. The catalyst for developing the ICS was a major research instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which positioned Penn State to purchase CyberSTAR, a shared system that has computing rates of 20 teraops (1012 operations/sec) and a half petabyte (1015) of storage. CyberSTAR provides new capabilities, including hosting of the data-intensive Galaxy bioinformatics gateway and an observatory science gateway with real time sense-simulate-predict functions. CyberSTAR is used by 120+ researchers across all institutes and colleges and in undergraduate and graduate courses throughout Penn State.

Launched in early 2012, the Institute for Personalized Medicine (IPM) brings together faculty, resources, and programs devoted to advancing personalized medicine. IPM uses a multifaceted approach to understand the correlation among a person’s biologic framework, the environment in which he or she lives, disease predisposition, and treatment options. By pursuing translational research—the kind of research that directly applies the latest scientific technologies to a patient’s clinical condition—physicians and scientists can tailor health care to individual patients and help improve medical outcomes. A major goal of IPM is to establish a large bank of genetic samples from patients and to use those samples for the conduct of research to develop more targeted treatments. IPM works in close collaboration with departments and institutes across the Hershey campus to translate research into clinical applications. For more information, refer to the IPM’s website at: http://sites.psu.edu/psuipm.

Founded in 1966, Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities is one of the oldest and most distinctive interdisciplinary centers in the nation. Over the past fifty years, major American universities have created dozens of advanced research institutes in the humanities and/or centers for the fine and performing arts, but because the arts and humanities are almost always housed in different colleges with different administrative structures, most universities have kept their arts and humanities centers separate. Penn State, by contrast, is one of a handful of universities whose interdisciplinary institute was designed from the outset to bring together innovative work in the arts and humanities– under one roof, across two colleges.

The Materials Research Institute (MRI) was established in 1995 to promote, develop, and integrate materials science across the Pennsylvania State University. A university-wide resource, the MRI is focused on facilitating interdisciplinary interaction and collaboration among faculty and researchers within and beyond Penn State through administration of core facilities for materials characterization and nanofabrication and pursuit of strategic research themes based on faculty expertise, grant challenges and funding opportunities, and partnerships with industry. The MRI boasts extensive capabilities across broad areas of materials science that include: 1) electronic materials, devices and systems; 2) materials characterization and processing; 3) optics, photonics and imaging; 4) nanoscience, nanomaterials, nanostructures and nanofabrication; and 5) biomedical materials and devices. All of the STEM disciplines are represented in the MRI’s diverse and distinguished faculty. As a centrally administered major research institute, the MRI effectively supports the research of faculty across several departments and colleges while pursuing joint initiatives with other major Penn State institutes, including, the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences (co-located with the MRI in the Millennium Science Complex), the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment and the Institute for Cyberscience. The MRI is located in the Millennium Science Complex, a 297,000 square foot research building located in the heart of the science corridor at the University Park campus. The LEED Gold certified building features 16,000 square feet of materials characterization space, 16,000 square feet of cleanroom, and 2,800 square feet of collaboration spaces. The building is shared with the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

The Penn State Bone and Joint Institute is a leader in the care of patients with disorders of the bones, joints, and spine, providing innovative care to adults and children with common to the most complex disorders. The institute embraces a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach with specialists in orthopedics, sports medicine, spinal disorders, hand surgery, metabolic bone disease and osteoporosis, rheumatology, radiology, chronic pain management, and therapy services. To learn more, visit the website at: https://research.med.psu.edu/departments/bone-joint-institute/.

The Penn State Cancer Institute (PSCI) was founded in 2001 to advance patient-centered research in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship. The PSCI mission includes clinical care, research, education and strategic outreach. The PSCI is central Pennsylvania’s only comprehensive cancer center, with access to internationally recognized cancer specialists and scientists who deliver a multidisciplinary approach and advanced medical technology. The PSCI has full accreditation with gold level commendation status from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). This recognition highlights the PSCI’s membership in an elite group of cancer programs committed to providing high-quality cancer care to patients. As a CoC-accredited cancer program, the PSCI demonstrates an important commitment to providing all patients access to services they need from diagnoses through treatment, rehabilitation, and survivorship care.

The PSCI’s clinical mission in anchored at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, which is located in Hershey (Dauphin County), Pennsylvania. Each year, approximately 24,000 incident cancers arise among the 4 million people (85% non-Hispanic white) who reside in the 27-county PSCI catchment area within central Pennsylvania. The PSCI’s 27-county catchment area spans the rural-urban continuum, including metropolitan areas (e.g. Lancaster/York: population 507,766), small cities (e.g. Harrisburg: population 49,082), and rural communities (e.g. Lewistown: population 8,328).  In 2015, the median age within the catchment area (40.1 years) was 2.5 years older than median age for the United States. With cancer being a condition of older populations, the burden from cancer within the PSCI’s catchment area is higher on average than it is for the United States. The catchment area includes 18 counties (2015 population 1.4 million) immediately north of Hershey that are Appalachian, a population recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as having substantial cancer health disparities associated with low levels of income and education, a high prevalence of behavioral risk factors, and less access to health care. The catchment area also includes unique opportunities to engage with vibrant farming communities of Amish and Mennonite populations. Of note, the largest United States settlement of Amish is located to the south of Hershey, in adjacent Lancaster County.

In addition to its rural populations, the PSCI catchment area includes communities that have a majority-minority population.  For example, the City of Harrisburg, located just 12 miles west of Hershey, is a majority-minority city with 52 percent of the population being black/African American and another 18 percent being Hispanic/Latino. Importantly, 19.8 percent of Harrisburg’s population does not have health insurance.  In addition to having a majority-minority population, Harrisburg is the Pennsylvania state capital, which presents unique opportunities related to statewide cancer policy and programs.  Located approximately 60 miles east of Hershey, the City of Reading (population 81,000) also has a majority-minority population, with a population that is 56 percent Hispanic/Latino and 14 percent black/African American.  The diverse and at-risk communities situated proximate to Hershey, as well access to state government, provide PSCI investigators with unique opportunities for population, clinical, and dissemination research that will inform cancer prevention and control policies and programs.

The primary clinical location for the PSCI is on the campus of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. A stand alone PSCI building opened in 2009 and includes 180,000 square feet on 5 floors – the top two of which are devoted to research and administration. From 2010 through 2014, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center provided care for 9,631 invasive cancer cases, an average of approximately 2,000 cases per year, but with an upward trend of over 3,000 cases in 2014.  During this time period, more than 95 percent of patients resided within the 27-county catchment area.  Among males, 13.5 percent (n=679) were prostate, 12.1 percent (n=608) melanoma; 11.2 percent (n=564) lung/bronchus; and 6.8 percent (n=340) colon/rectum.  Among females, 18.5 percent (n=852) were breast; 10.9 percent (n=504) lung/bronchus; 10.0 percent (n=459) melanoma; 6.9 percent (n=319) thyroid; and 6.2 percent (n=285) colon/rectum.

While the Milton S. Hershey Medical Cente serves as the hub of clinical care, the PSCI has also developed a network of cancer affiliate hospitals throughout its catchment area.  Affiliate hospitals share the mission of excellent cancer care for residents of central PA through development of seamless patient referral as well as shared registry data, clinical trials operation, population research and dissemination network. Hospitals currently in the PSCI affiliate network include:

  • Carlisle Regional Medical Center (Carlisle, PA)
  • Heart of Lancaster (Lancaster, PA)
  • Lancaster Regional Medical Center (Lancaster, PA)
  • Mount Nittany Medical Center (State College, PA)
  • Susquehanna Health System (Williamsport, PA)
  • Joseph Medical Center (Reading, PA)

In addition to care for cancer patients, the PSCI has active partnerships with clinical specialties within Penn State Health System, especially those that focus upon cancer prevention, early detection, and survivorship. The Penn State Health System includes 58 outpatient clinics and 900 physicians.

In research, PSCI is positioning itself for NCI designation with an upward trajectory of the number of NCI-funded investigators in a broad cross-section of expertise areas. Experienced senior leadership, breadth and depth of its scientific programs, outstanding facilities and strong institutional support, as well as its important focus on medically underserved rural populations provide an important foundation for Center Support Grant application for NCI designation. With over 150 investigative members on either the Hershey or the University Park (State College, PA) campuses, the PSCI has three scientific programs: 1) Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis; 2) Experimental Therapeutics; 3) Population Health and Cancer Control. In addition, the PSCI supports five shared resources: 1) Flow Cytometry; 2) Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry; 3) Organic Synthesis; 4) Biostatistics; and 5) Community Sciences and Health Outcomes (CSHO) Core.

For more information about the PSCI, visit the website at: http://www.pennstatehershey.org/web/cancer/home?doAsUserId=TO1smAGdBrU%3D

The mission of the Penn State Center for Women’s Health Research is to promote research on women’s health – and on sex/gender differences related to health – by supporting a network of faculty members in multiple disciplines who are interested in research collaborations to study various aspects of women’s health. The Center maintains information about active projects, data sets, and funding opportunities; promotes the development of interdisciplinary research teams around specific topics; provides mentoring opportunities for junior faculty members; and facilitates preparation of grant applications. The goal is to advance the science and contribute to the development of health promotion, disease prevention, health services delivery, and health policy approaches to improving women’s health and well-being across the life span. The Center was founded in 2004 as the Central Pennsylvania Center of Excellence for Research on Pregnancy Outcomes, with a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (nonformula tobacco settlement funds). The Center was re-named the Penn State Center for Women’s Health Research in 2011 to reflect the expanded research and training agenda in women’s health. The Center coordinates with the Penn State BIRCWH Program, a K12 training program funded by NIH that provides mentored research career development for junior faculty members interested in women’s health or sex/gender differences related to health. Administratively based in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Medicine, the Center welcomes participation by Penn State faculty members and students interested in research on women’s health and sex/gender issues related to health. The Center offers opportunities for research collaboration, mentoring, datasets and measures, and other resources for developing and conducting women’s health research projects.

The Penn State Center for Women’s Health Research has developed boilerplate language that describes institutional resources in women’s health. This language could be used in any grant application on a women’s health topic. Visit the website for more information.

The Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Penn State CTSI) was established in June 2011 with a $27.3 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In September 2016, the Penn State CTSI received an additional $20 million NIH award to support its mission for an additional 4 years. The Institute leverages resources from numerous colleges and departments across two Penn State campuses – Hershey and University Park. The Penn State CTSI is a member of a prestigious consortium of institutions, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the Mayo Clinic, that are using the NIH funding to increase their infrastructure to support translational research. The institution’s commitment to the CTSI includes a 14,000 square foot Clinical Research Center (CRC) at the University Park campus, a 6,800 square foot CRC at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and a 1,900 square foot office at the Penn State College of Medicine that functions as the administrative core. The CRCs are a key physical resource of the Penn State CTSI. On a fee for service basis (with discounted rates for NIH-funded studies and trainees), the CRCs provide expert nursing care, equipment and state of the art facilities that include patient exam rooms, interview/consult rooms, and procedure rooms. The CRCs host investigators funded by NIH and other federal, state and local agencies as well investigators funded by the private sector. The Penn State CTSI helps to foster the career development of junior faculty committed to careers in translational research. The Penn State CTSI achieves this objective through dedicated programs, such as the KL2 grant that is made available to junior faculty on both Penn State campuses to undertake additional mentored research and training.

The Penn State Eye Center consists of 19 full-time faculty members representing most ophthalmic specialty areas, including Ophthalmology, Physiology, Cellular and Molecular Biology and Neuroscience. The Center’s interdisciplinary team of scientists seeks to characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to vision impairment in diabetes and to generate novel treatments to cure diabetic retinopathy. The Center’s clinical studies are conducted through the Clinical Research Unit, which provides high-quality, personalized and confidential care for patients who participate in clinical research. The Retina Research Laboratories represents a collective group of research facilities and scientists studying degeneration of vascular and neural cells in diabetic retinopathy. The Center has an active medical student education program.

The Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute (PSHVI) participates in both clinical trials and investigator-initiated physiology research experiments that seek to understand neurovascular mechanisms of circulatory control and to determine cause-and-effect pathways relating to heart disease and how exercise impacts the cardiovascular system. The HVI pioneered the total artificial heart in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and continues to be at the cutting edge of cardiovascular device development and implementation. When the Penn State College of Medicine launched the Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute (PSHVI) in 2005, it brought together specialists and researchers previously housed in the clinical departments of medicine, surgery, and radiology. The PSHVI is a national model for comprehensive cardiovascular care that includes a team of more than 40 specialists who treat patients with the most severe heart and vascular conditions. PSHVI faculty participate in both clinical trials and investigator-initiated physiology research experiments that seek to understand neurovascular mechanisms of circulatory control and to determine cause-and-effect pathways relating to heart disease and how exercise impacts the cardiovascular system. The PSHVI pioneered the total artificial heart in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and continues to be at the cutting edge of cardiovascular device development and implementation. PSHVI researchers use the Penn State CTSI’s Clinical Research Center (CRC) to conduct all human studies. Within the last 5 years, the PSHVI has continued to expand its presence in State College, not only in terms of preventative care and surgical intervention, but also with clinical trials undertaken in collaboration with the Hershey campus. To learn more, visit the PSHVI website: https://research.med.psu.edu/departments/heart-vascular-institute/.

The Penn State Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center (IBD Center) was established in 1998 to investigate the causes of IBD as a means toward identifying novel therapeutic targets and improving patient care. This nationally-recognized facility is dedicated solely to the diagnosis, treatment and eventual cure of patients suffering with inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The IBC Center is comprised of medical experts from multiple specialties, all highly-trained and well experienced in the treatment of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In 1998, the IBD Center established the area’s first IBD-dedicated BioBank, which consisted of an IBD patient registry that characterizes the clinical factors used to define subcategories of IBD. Today, the BioBank includes 2 additional components: a DNA bank derived from the blood samples of IBD registry participants and an IBD tissue library (established in 2006) from samples harvested at the time of surgery. The BioBank fosters strong academic and clinical collaboration. The Center’s basic research programs seek to identify and characterize the genes and epigenetic changes involved in causing IBD and related conditions. The Center also offers patients the opportunity to participate in clinical studies of new, investigational drug therapies for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The IBD Center currently treats more than 5,000 IBD patients. To learn more, visit the IBS Center’s website at: https://research.med.psu.edu/departments/ibd-center/.

The Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE) is the central coordinating structure for energy and environmental research, education, and outreach at Penn State. It is a dynamic, tightly coupled, intercampus network of expertise and infrastructure organized under the Office of the Vice President for Research. The mission of the PSIEE, according to its 2012-2019 strategic plan is “…to foster and facilitate interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration to positively impact important energy and environmental challenges.” The PSIEE Is organized around five working research themes: (1) Smart energy systems, (2) future energy supply, (3) health and environment, (4) climate and ecosystem change, and (5) water and biogeochemical cycles. (For a detailed discussion of the PSIEE’s 5 working research themes and strategic goals, review its 2014-2019 Strategic Plan, which is available on PSIEE’s website.)

In an effort to fight this trend, Penn State Melanoma Center offers a multidisciplinary approach to developing new treatments for melanoma patients. The Penn State Melanoma Center convenes researchers and clinicians from surgery, dermatology, medical and radiation oncology, pharmacology, orthopedics and other areas with a goal of identifying and evaluating new agents and clinical interventions. Discoveries developed in the research portion of the Melanoma Center are tested through a portfolio of clinical trials offered to patients. The Consortium of Pennsylvania Melanoma Centers was established on February 26, 2013 and includes melanoma centers/programs from Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson, The Wistar Institute, St Luke’s Hospital, Temple University/Fox Chase and the University of Pittsburgh. The consortium is the first of its kind in the melanoma arena and is significantly advancing efforts to prevent and treat melanoma. The consortium serves as a resource for researchers, clinicians and melanoma patients and provides its members with opportunities to collaborate, calling upon complementary expertise and resources to address many of the obstacles associated with this disease. Clinicians from the consortium have access to melanoma patients from all sites for accrual to personalized therapeutic trials. Patients can also easily access up-to-date information regarding the latest clinical trials at each institution. The Consortium also addresses legislative issues related to the disease and interacts with grassroots organizations/foundations.

The Penn State Neuroscience Institute fosters collaboration among the neuroscience-related departments and divisions within Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.

https://research.med.psu.edu/departments/neuroscience-institute/

Penn State PRO Wellness is committed to helping Pennsylvania communities live healthier lives using evidenced-based strategies for measurable and sustainable results.  With programs in nearly 1,000 schools across Pennsylvania, the Center is highly visible in the health and wellness arena and has a solid history in obesity prevention and whole child wellness solutions. Since 2003, PRO Wellness has led statewide efforts to improve the health of children and their families. In 2013, a rebranding propelled the Center to work more heavily in public health. The approach of Prevention, Research and Outreach provides schools, communities, and like-minded organizations with program development and implementation, assessment and evaluation services, capacity building, technical assistance, collaborative partnerships and access to proven wellness interventions. Led by a physician and clinical-investigator, the PRO Wellness team consists of 11 full-time and 2 part-time staff with expertise in project management, community health education, dietetics, public health, school and community-based organization environments, marketing and communications.

The Center’s work has been supported by funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Department of Transportation, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Boy Scouts of America, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), Faulkner Nissan Harrisburg, and foundations such as Highmark Foundation and Kohl’s Cares. One notable achievement is the launch of an expert-revised BMI screening letter. The Center’s parent-tested letter, notifying parents of their child’s BMI screening results, is now provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as the state recommended letter to Pennsylvania schools. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) features it as a national resource on their Healthy Schools website. The Center also has national presence with the Boy Scouts of America, currently providing programming in three states with plans for a national roll-out.

Penn State PRO Wellness has developed boilerplate language that describes institutional resources in community health and wellness. Visit our website for more information.

Penn State PRO Wellness is housed within the Penn State College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. The college, one of the country’s leading medical schools, is comprised of 24 academic departments – 8 basic science departments and 16 clinical departments. It is part of an academic medical center group that also includes: Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the flagship hospital, a 551-bed, tertiary-care facility that serves central Pennsylvania; Penn State Children’s Hospital, the only free-standing children’s hospital in central Pennsylvania as well as the only Level I pediatric trauma center between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Penn State Children’s Hospital has 150 pediatric medical and surgical specialists who support advance clinical and basic research on childhood illness; and Penn State Medical Group, the academic physician practice and associated outpatient practice sites of the group.

Having close proximity to the knowledge base of the Penn State Health network uniquely positions PRO Wellness to access the latest advancements in clinical care, research, education and community services, as well as, receive comprehensive support on an institutional level.

For more information, visit the website: www.pennstatehershey.org/PROwellness

The Rock Ethics Institute was established in 2001 and is focused on developing tools to identify and deal with ethical challenges. The Institute sponsors a bioethics lecture series that addresses research ethics, including the impact of industry and government funding on biomedical research. The multiple intersecting, yet often incongruent interests of scientists, individuals, communities, and industry engaged in biomedical research create complex conflicts of interest that can cause physical, emotional and economical harm to individuals and society. Open-minded, prospective and sensible consideration of ethical concerns is critical to take full advantage of new discoveries and knowledge.

The mission of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) is to foster novel, interdisciplinary research that addresses critical human and social problems at the local, national, and international levels. In addition to its strong collaborative ties with the CTSI, SSRI is made up of 9 core units: 1) the Population Research Institute (PRI), which aims to advance the scientific understanding of human population dynamics and is one of only 24 NIH funded population research centers in the nation; 2) the Children, Youth and Families Consortium (CYFC), which promotes research on behavior, health, and development in diverse populations of children and families; 3) the Research Data Center (RDC), which provides researchers with a secure connection to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics; 4) the Social, Life and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center (SLEIC), which provides equipment and support for human and animal MRI and EEG studies for researchers across the university; 5) The Survey Research Center (SRC), which provides high quality, cost effective survey research services to faculty around the University; 6) the Network on Child Protection and Well-Being, which is an interdisciplinary group of faculty dedicated to identifying the causes of child maltreatment and developing evidence-based approaches that will promote prevention, detection, and treatment; 7) the Quantitative Development Systems Methodology core (QuantDev), which provides consultation on measurement, study design, and analysis techniques for social scientists; 8) the Geographic Information Analysis Core (GIA), which provides services to facilitate the use of geospatial data and a spatial perspective in social science research; and 9) the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness, which provides expertise in the science of program implementation and evaluation and is a comprehensive
resource for professionals working with military families.

General Description:

The Huck Institutes (“The Huck”) encompass a highly successful group of interdisciplinary institutes at Penn State. Since inception, The Huck came to be regarded as a national model to share talent, resources and expertise, and to foster truly interdisciplinary collaborations. The Huck Institutes supports several intercollege graduate training experiences designed to provide future scientists from a variety of disciplines interdisciplinary and curricula and mentoring. The Huck encompasses a group of scientists from the Eberly College of Science, the College of Medicine, and the College of Information Sciences and Technology that use innovative tools to study and approach infectious diseases “from protein to pandemic.” The history of The Huck exemplifies Penn State’s visionary commitment to interdisciplinary team science. The Huck is dedicated to strengthening research in the life sciences, preparing students for successful careers, and encouraging new perspectives across disciplinary boundaries. The institute co-funds many faculty members and graduate students, and provides administrative and technical support for research and teaching. With completion of the Millennium Science Complex in 2011, the Pennsylvania State University gained an exciting interdisciplinary space inhabited by some of the best researchers in life and materials sciences. The 275,600 square foot facility, which was designed to LEED Gold standards, is shared between The Huck and the Materials Research Institute (MRI). At the Millennium Science Complex, researchers and students work side-by-side in a space designed to put everyone in constant contact with one another.


Detailed Description:

The Huck is recognized as a national model to share talent, resources and expertise, and to foster truly interdisciplinary collaborations. The Huck supports several intercollege graduate training experiences designed to provide future scientists from a variety of disciplines interdisciplinary and curricula and mentoring. The Huck co-funds many faculty and graduate students, and provides administrative and technical support for research and teaching. The Huck and the Materials Research Institute (MRI) are housed in the Millennium Science Complex, an exciting interdisciplinary space inhabited by some of the best researchers in life and materials sciences. The 275,600 square foot facility, which was designed to LEED Gold standards and provides an infrastructure the supports interdisciplinary endeavors. The Huck coordinates many of the shared resources at other centers and institutes and supports the education and research missions of the University by serving as the umbrella for University-wide centers and institutes that support the life sciences. The history of The Huck exemplifies Penn State’s visionary commitment to interdisciplinary team science. Founded in 1996 as the Life Sciences Consortium to encourage greater coordination and interdisciplinary collaboration in the life sciences, the Consortium was renamed in 2002 in recognition of the generosity of support from Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck. The Huck Institutes are one of several interdisciplinary research units supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research at Penn State.

The Huck encompasses a highly successful group of interdisciplinary institutes comprised of faculty from colleges and departments across the University system. The 4 institutes that comprise The Huck are supported by numerous Centers of Excellence, which concentrate on building the institution’s competitive strength within a defined area of research and education. The Huck and corresponding Centers of Excellence are as follows:

Genome Sciences Institute

The Genome Sciences Institute seeks to understand the function and evolution of genomes, how they interact with each other and the environment and the consequences for health and fitness. This mission requires a combination of new high throughput experimental techniques and innovative approaches to handling, analyzing and integrating the massive amounts of data produced by these techniques. This institute brings together researchers from across Penn State in the areas of bioinformatics, computational genomics, evolutionary genomics, functional genomics, and proteomics. The primary aim is to catalyze collaborations between researchers in the fields of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. Projects within the Institute belong to four broad thematic areas: (1) algorithms, (2) computational tools and bioinformatics, (3) statistics and machine learning for high throughput data analysis and integration, and (4) functional, evolutionary and ecological genomics, translation and biomedical applications. The Institutes is comprised of the following Centers of Excellence: Center for Comparative Genomics and Bioinformatics; Center for Computational Proteomics; Center for Eukaryotic Gene Regulation; Center for Medical Genomics; Center for RNA Molecular Biology; Center for Statistical Genetics; Center for Systems Genomics; Center for Cellular Dynamics.

Infectious Disease Institute

The Infectious Disease Institutes brings together theoreticians and empirical scientists in a wide variety of disciplines to collaborate and innovate in the area of infectious disease research. Comprising the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD) and the Center for Molecular Immunology and Infectious Disease, the Infectious Disease Institute and its faculty are at the leading edge of infectious disease research at Penn State. The Institute and its faculty also support the Huck Institutes’ Immunology and Infectious Diseases emphasis area in the Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Biosciences Program (MCIBS) graduate program.

Institute of the Neurosciences

Facilitating collaboration and networking between scientists and students in the areas of neuroscience at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine and the University Park campus. The Institute also provides oversight and coordination for neuroscience-related activities in education, research, patient care and outreach, while promoting an intellectual environment that enhances the interdisciplinary neuroscience educational experience from the undergraduate to postdoctoral levels. The Institutes is comprised of the following Centers of Excellence: Center for Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease; Center for Brain, Behavior, and Cognition; Center for Language Science; Center for Molecular Investigation of Neurological Disorders; Center for Motor Control; Center for Neural Engineering; Hershey Spine Center; Hershey Stroke Center.

Ecology Institute

Building and promoting ecological science and its application through interdisciplinary research. The Institutes is comprised of the following Centers of Excellence: Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD); Center for Pollinator Research; Center for Chemical Ecology; Riparia; Center for Landscape Dynamics; The Polar Center; The Agriculture and Environment Center; Center for Climate Risk Management.

Research Administration

The Office of Research Affairs (ORA) at the Penn State College of Medicine works with investigators to promote, foster, and sustain excellence in basic and clinical research. Major services include assisting researchers and staff with all pre and post-award activities, including budget and grant development, cost recovery, compliance, institutional reporting, and training mandates.

The Office of Technology Development (OTD) serves Penn State Health and the College of Medicine with a mission to deliver optimal economic and social value from Penn State Medical Innovation.  This mission is accomplished by positively influencing the research enterprise and moving innovative technologies along a development path through the commercialization pipeline.  The OTD provides educational programming focused on entrepreneurship to support new ventures, fully engages the regional economic ecosystem, and has created strong partnerships within industry to encourage greater collaboration and licensing opportunities.  Successful deployment of Penn State innovative technologies into the marketplace will ultimately improve human health and have a positive impact on economic development.

Research Development helps to strengthen the environment for sponsored research at the Penn State College of Medicine by providing leadership in several areas:

  • serving as the central coordinating body for the distribution of funding information,
  • managing limited submission funding opportunities and down-select processes,
  • administering internal award programs designed to sustain the research programs of productive investigators, and
  • working with research administration offices at other Penn State campuses to coordinate high priority funding initiatives.

For faculty pursuing external funding, Research Development also offers targeted assistance through the Research Concierge Service (RCS). The RCS was established in November 2013 by the Office of the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in collaboration with the Penn State Clinical & Translational Science Institute (Penn State CTSI). The RCS supports the mission of Research Development in numerous ways. First, the RCS is a referral resource for investigators – facilitating access to institutional resources, connecting researchers with appropriate offices and staff, and matching research needs with faculty expertise. Second, the RCS provides grantsmanship guidance by developing workshops and special seminars that bring heightened focus to funding mechanisms and resources of special interest to investigators. Third, the RCS provides “virtual support” through its website, which functions as the “front door” to research resources at the College of Medicine. In addition to providing these services to the broader research community, the RCS provides targeted support to PIs who undertake complex funding proposals with the potential for broad institutional impact.

Research Support

The Department of Comparative Medicine prepared text that may be used in grant proposals to describe the resources and veterinary care provided at Penn State Hershey. The information is provided on the Infonet and is accessible to users with an ePass account. You must sign onto the Infonet to access the boilerplate language…click here.

The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center utilizes the Cerner Corporation’s Millennium electronic medical record system. This system is CCHITsm certified and meets the inpatient electronic health record (EHR) criteria. PowerChart, the viewing window for Millennium, allows physicians to access full inpatient and outpatient data, complete orders, and check test results all within one computer program. Electronic medical records help to improve efficiency, safety, and coordination of medical care while reducing costs and errors. Staff enters all orders electronically except for chemotherapy. In addition, through the Penn State CTSI, the medical center has recently added a computer interface with the EMR called i2b2, which allows data mining of the EMR for clinical and translational research studies. Physicians at the University Park Campus and those who practice in the joint venture with the Mount Nittany Cancer Center have access to Mount Nittany’s EMR, which is provided by MediTech.

Harrell Health Sciences Library (HHSL) collections and services support the informational needs of Penn State users engaged in patient care, research, and education, including interlibrary loan, search services, and instruction. The HHSL currently employs 8 faculty librarians who hold, at minimum, a Master’s degree from an American Library Association accrediting library program. Full time and part time staff are also employed by HHSL. Library faculty members teach literature searching, information literacy, basic database search skills, evidence-based medicine and bibliographic software programs (e.g. Endnote) in course integrated instruction or workshops to all members of the Penn State community. A suite of services and training opportunities are available as requested or on a recurring basis. The HHSL is part of Penn State University Libraries, allowing member access to more than 6.9 million books, almost 400,000 E-books, 110,000 online full-text journals and more than 700 databases. Penn State University Libraries are increasingly electronic, allowing 24-hour access from anywhere. Most digital platforms are compatible with mobile devices. Penn State provides access to many of the major scientific journals, highly used scholarly databases and point of care clinical tools. For more information, visit the HHSL website at: https://hershey.libraries.psu.edu/.

The Investigational Drug Service (IDS) at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is charged with the control and management of investigational (research) drugs used in clinical (human) research trials throughout the institution. The IDS currently controls the procurement, storage, blinding, and dispensing of study medications in over 235 studies. The IDS also supports the AsthmaNet Clinical Research Network and the PSU Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS). Current practice areas for study involvement include, but are not limited to, pediatric and adult oncology, cardiology, asthma and allergy, neurology, rheumatology, dermatology, and biologics. The IDS also provides pharmacy services for multiple national cooperative investigating groups including the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ECOG-ACRIN), Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center reviews and approves protocols for use in the facility. Pharmacists serve on the IRB and the IDS only handles protocols that have undergone IRB review and approval. The IDS can assist investigators with the development of drug blinding/dispensing plans for investigator-initiated trials within the institution.

The IDS pharmacy is a 1,082 square foot pharmacy. Access is limited to pharmacy personnel with badge swipe access. The drug storage room within the IDS pharmacy is locked with a key. Only investigational medications are stored in the IDS pharmacy drug storage room. The IDS pharmacy maintains the following critical equipment: medication refrigerators (2-8oC), -20oC freezer, -80oC freezer, and controlled room temperature storage (20-25oC). Access to laminar airflow hoods and biosafety cabinets is provided by the inpatient pharmacy and the chemotherapy pharmacy. Critical equipment is plugged into red outlets that are connected to the back-up generator.

Temperature monitoring of study medications is accomplished using a system called AmegaView for continuous, wireless, electronic temperature monitoring. Each area (refrigerator, freezer, or room temperature space) where investigational medications are stored has its own temperature probe. Temperature readings are monitored continuously, and as long as no excursions occur, a recording is made every hour. Monthly, IDS pharmacy prints a graph of the temperature readings from each temperature probe. If an excursion occurs, a detailed list report of the time of the incident is printed for review. Temperature probes are calibrated yearly. Refrigerator set-points are 2°-8°C, with pre-alarms at 3° and 7° C. Room temperature set-points are 20°-25° C, with pre-alarms at 21° and 24° C. When temperatures reach a pre-alarm level, the system begins contacting pharmacy personnel via phone and pager, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If the area reaches an alarm level, temperatures are recorded every 5 minutes or until the area is back within the acceptable range, whichever occurs first. The system continually calls and pages until someone acts on the alarm.

Current staffing is provided by 3 Pharmacist FTE’s, 2 Certified Pharmacy Technician FTE’s, and 1 PRN pharmacist. Two additional certified pharmacy FTE’s support the TCORS projects. For additional information, visit the Infonet at: https://infonet.pennstatehershey.net/web/pharmacy/investigational-drug-services?inheritRedirect=true

The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center currently has 1,158 laboratories in 8 basic science departments and 16 clinical departments that total 371,205 square feet of assignable laboratory and research space. At the University Park campus there is 1,303,240 square feet of assignable laboratory and research space.

Established in 2004, the Penn State Health Biorepository offers investigators a resource to enhance research into cancer and other disease processes. Tissue, associated blood, urine, buccal cell swabs and epidemiological data are available to conduct clinical and translational research studies that include genetic studies. All Penn State University researchers can request tissue from the Biorepository with an approved Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol. Informed consent from donors is obtained through the Penn State Health Biorepository, thereby freeing investigators from that process. The Biorepository collects a wide variety of tumor tissue as well as adjacent normal tissue from surgical resections done at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Additionally, select normal control tissue is available. The Biorepository is a member in good standing with the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER).

REDCap is a secure, web-based application that supports data capture and management for research studies. The system was developed by Vanderbilt University in collaboration with a multi-institutional consortium which includes The Pennsylvania State University. REDCap is maintained by a consortium composed of 1,875 active institutional partners in 100 countries who utilize and support REDCap in various ways. REDCap is made available to the Penn State community through the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Penn State CTSI). The Penn State University’s license of REDCap is hosted at and validated within the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State College of Medicine data center. REDCap allows real-time data entry, post data collection data entry, importing data from other sources, or the administration of web-based surveys or questionnaires to participants via manual or automated e-mail invitations. REDCap incorporates all the features of a secure, web-based data entry system: data encryption on a secure server located behind an application firewall with reverse proxy; processes to eliminate breach attacks; HIPAA compliant; user and password authentication; role-based access; logging of all user activities; and a data audit trail. Any participant protected health information (PHI) that needs to be stored in REDCap can be protected using role-based permissions incorporated within REDCap that prevent the viewing or exporting of these identifiers. Source documents can be uploaded into REDCap for effective remote data monitoring. Performance reports can also be created and executed in REDCap to monitor study accrual, protocol implementation, protocol violations or deviations, participant safety, and data quality. The Penn State CTSI website provides drop-in text for investigators to include in Institutional Review Board (IRB) submissions. In addition, the REDCap Consortium maintains a website that provides a detailed discussion of the software and technical overview – both of which can be utilized as drop-in text for funding proposals.

Wells Fargo-H.S. Barsumian Boilerplate

For submissions to the Wells Fargo- H.G. Barsumian/M.D. Memorial Fund and other Wells Fargo funding mechanisms, we developed specific boilerplate language that follows the format of the online application.  Click here to access the Wells Fargo boilerplate.

Special Note: On September 22, 2016, the boilerplate language was updated to capture Penn State’s most recently file tax return (for the year ending June 30, 2015). These updates impacted the section entitled “Prior Fiscal Year Finances.” All other sections remain unchanged.