Tufts CTSI was founded on a long history of bold and enthusiastic research collaboration at Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center. This timeline shows some of the groundbreaking advancements our researchers have accomplished over the last thirty years.

image relating to timeline


The Gastroenterology Research in Absorptive and Secretory Processes Center (GRASP) is founded by Mark Donowitz, MD. Tufts CTSI Portal Co-Director, Andrew Plaut, MD will serve as Director from 1986 through 2008. During this time, the Center will be continuously funded by NIDDK, eventually supporting the work of 40 NIH-funded researchers across the Tufts Health Sciences campus.


Tufts Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences is founded with a mission of providing a graduate school for future leaders in research and teaching, stressing interdisciplinary approaches that integrate the basic and clinical sciences.

image relating to timeline


Recruited as first Dean of the Sackler School in 1984, Louis Lasagna, MD, is considered by many to be the father of clinical pharmacology and to have spurred formation of the FDA; he leads the School in a direction ideal for the eventual CTSA initiative. Dr. Lasagna brings with him the Center for the Study of Drug Development which is the most frequently quoted source of information on drug development in the world. Under Dr. Lasagna, the Sackler School becomes the first graduate school of biomedical sciences to offer a degree in clinical research.


Eminent translational clinical researcher and Tufts Medical Center Chair of Medicine, Sheldon Wolff, MD, establishes the first Division of Clinical Decision Making (now Informatics and Clinical Decision Making) with Stephen Pauker, MD, and Jerome Kassirer, MD. This unit brings new methods to the analysis of medical care, effectively creating the discipline of medical decision making and giving rise to the Society for Medical Decision Making.

image relating to timeline


Tufts Medical Center recruits Harry Selker, MD, MSPH, and supports the creation of a Center based on the obscure method of making predictive models to inform clinical care. Soon after, the Medical Center recruits the international leaders who are the principal scientists of the landmark Medical Outcomes Study. This renowned group spans medicine, clinical epidemiology, psychometrics, mathematics, and sociology, and forms The Health Institute.


Dr. Selker recruits Thomas Chalmers, MD and Joseph Lau, MD to create a Center for the fledgling discipline of meta-analysis and evidence based medicine (EBM) that soon becomes an official US center for the international Cochrane Collaboration and an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center.

image relating to timeline


Diana Bianchi, MD, develops a groundbreaking multidisciplinary translational clinical research program in pediatric and reproductive genetics. Dr. Bianchi’s research group will be the first to demonstrate that fetal stem cells can persist in the mother for as long as 27 years following the delivery of the infant. Her group will also develop noninvasive prenatal diagnostic tests using cell-free DNA and RNA, as well as novel genomic approaches to fetal therapy.


Robert Sege, MD, PhD and Howard Spivak, MD create an innovative research program in violence prevention, starting a new area of pediatric clinical research.

image relating to timeline


The Molecular Cardiology Research Institute is established, directed by Michael Mendelsohn, MD, with Richard Karas, MD, PhD directing its Preventive Cardiology Center of Cardiology Division, and Gordon Huggins, MD directing its Center for Translational Genomics. MCRI investigators will study how blood vessels relax and contract for nearly 20 years. Discoveries will include several important mechanisms of vascular smooth muscle relaxation in response to nitrovasodilators.


Dr. Selker starts the nation’s first clinical research MS/PhD Graduate Program based in a biomedical graduate school (the Tufts Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences) as opposed to in a school of public health. A model for clinical research graduate programs nationally and internationally, the clinical research program will continue to obtain ongoing NIH K30 support.

image relating to timeline


Tufts Medical Center establishes itself as a premier site for oncology studies and care with the creation of the Molecular Oncology Research Institute and Tufts Cancer Center, directed by Philip Tsichlis, MD and Richard Van Etten, MD. The Institute’s team will go on to identify genes that are involved in oncogenesis or that regulate phenotypic changes in tumor cells, including Akt1, Tpl2, Gfi-1 and Gfi-1B.


Tufts receives a Clinical and Translational Science Award and forms the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). While our historical entrepreneurial innovation was key for laying the foundation for Tufts CTSI, it is leveraged by another hallmark of Tufts, a tradition of friendly collaboration across the entire scientific and academic environment, Tufts Schools, Tufts Medical Center, and affiliated hospitals. 

image relating to timeline


CTSI's Building Your Capacity Program is launched. Within 2 years, 30 community Fellows, representing 20 community organizations will be trained in community engaged research. This Program becomes a model for other CTSAs to follow and corollary one day trainings begin, targeting nearby communities, such as Asian community program leaders.


Truly bringing research to the public, Tufts CTSI expands its partnership with Museum of Science Boston through The Living Lab, where scientists, such as Sam Sommers, PhD, Associate Professor in Tufts University's Psychology Department, conduct research studies within museum exhibits.

image relating to timeline


Tufts CTSI's interactive learning portal I LEARN is launched allowing users to access courses free of charge whenever they want and wherever they are in the world. Within one year, 500 researchers will access I LEARN's Comparative Effectiveness Research course.


Tufts CTSI hosts a national conference examining the impact of the nation's largest health policy change: the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over 100 stakeholders, key policymakers, government officials and others who were involved in the development of this historical legislation, attend and recommend next steps for translational research in the post-ACA passage era. In 2014, the results of the conference are published by Springer Science+Business Media.

image relating to timeline


Tufts CTSI was recognized as a translational science leader when the NIH awarded a second Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). This major accomplishment allows Tufts CTSI to continue to provide extensive services, resources, education, and mentorship to investigators until 2018.