Several members of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group’s Executive Committee joined the Network’s Leadership and Operations Center staff for an intense week-long working session to complete the competitive renewal application.
The ACTG Network applied for continued funding as a NIAID Clinical Research Network on Therapeutics for HIV/AIDS and HIV-associated Infections in Adults. NIAID is the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and it established the ACTG in 1987.
ACTG Chair Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, worked on the grant at the LOC in Boston along with Network researchers Judith Currier, MD, ACTG Vice Chair and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of California Los Angeles; Robert Coombs, MD, PhD, University of Washington and ACTG Director of Laboratory Medicine; and Ian Sanne, MBBCH, FCP (SA), DTM&H, ACTG International Vice Chair and Founder of Right to Care in South Africa. LOC staff including Lauren Robertson, Executive Director; Haley Salinas, Finance Manger; Angela Rhodes, Financial Analyst; Melanie King, Financial Analyst; and Stephen Fetters, Grants Administrator, worked with the ACTG leadership on the application. The competitive grant would secure funding until 2020.
While in town, Dr. Kuritzkes introduced the group to Barbara Bierer, MD, Senior Vice President for Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Bierer is responsible for managing the hospital’s research program totaling more than half a billion dollars, as well as overseeing the hospital’s Biomedical Research Institute. The ACTG leadership praised the work being done at the LOC.
“Lauren’s group is amazing,” Dr. Currier said. “The budget piece of a grant application is usually a fire drill at the end, but her staff are on top of it.”
The ACTG leadership updated Dr. Bierer on the ACTG’s research priorities, including a specialty tuberculosis site in South Africa, and explained the Network’s laboratory infrastructure.
“The domestic and international sites’ laboratories are functioning at the same level,” said Dr. Coombs. “The footprint for success is there. Once you have the people and the infrastructure in place, it keeps growing and keeps all of our sites self-sustaining.”
Overall, Dr. Bierer said she was impressed by how smoothly the Network was running.
“Usually when a group arrives in my office, it’s not a love fest,” Dr. Bierer joked. “Keep up the great work and stay in touch.”