Clinical and Translational Core

A major goal of the O’Brien Center is to translate basic science research into effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies that will improve the lives of patients by interrupting the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease and its attendant high risk of cardiovascular disability and death.

Over the past 30 years, a large investment in biomedical research has led to substantial improvements in patient care and extended life in the general population.

The Clinical and Translational Core is designed to encourage new collaborative efforts that tear down traditional silos between basic and clinical investigators.

The primary objective is to support the highest quality clinical and translational research in kidney disease and associated cardiovascular disease by funded Center Investigators.

In addition to study populations available to investigators through their own initiatives, an important aspect of the O’Brien Center is access to the Dallas Heart Study population, a unique resource available at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Distinctive Features of the Clinical and Translational Core

Traditionally, human renal and cardiovascular physiology studies have been performed on small selected study samples, while human genetic epidemiology studies have been conducted in large populations without physiological measurements, i.e., without intermediate phenotypes.

Our Core is designed to combine state-of-the-art comprehensive human genetics with detailed state-of-the-art phenotyping of subjects drawn from unique study samples with unprecedented minority representation (below).

Platform for studying the interplay between kidney disease, heart disease, and hypertension.
Platform for studying the interplay between kidney disease, heart disease, and hypertension.

In this regard, a major strength of the Clinical and Translational Core is the availability of the Dallas Heart study—a large multiethnic population-based cohort with over 50 percent of the participants being African American—and the longitudinal cohort of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK).

The Clinical and Translational Core will coordinate the recruitment of study participants for O’Brien Center Investigators and provide them with state-of-the-art phenotypic measurements of human renal and cardiovascular structure and function. Unique capabilities range from microelectrode recordings of sympathetic action potentials to proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic measurements of renal and cardiac steatosis – specific pathophysiological processes that could provide a common mechanistic explanation for the remarkably tight link between cardiac and renal disease as well as identifying novel therapeutic drug targets for early intervention – sufficiently early to prevent (rather than merely delay) clinical endpoints such as end-stage renal disease, stroke, myocardial infarction, and death.

Clinical and Translational Core Services

Request Services:

  • Consultation ( Tammy Lightfoot, RN, Director of Operations.)
    • Initial IRB Regulatory document (e.g., Consents, HIPAAs, Flyers) preparation/eIRB submission to UTSW IRB and performance sites including response to stipulation(s) for final approval.
    • Study Specific Source Document Development
    • eIRB Modifications
    • eIRB SAE reporting
    • Sponsor SAE reporting
    • Annual Renewal Submission
    • Study Closeout
    • Data collection for phenotyping human research subjects
    • Training in methods of clinical and translational research including protocol development, human research subject, and institutional review board documentation

Patient Services:

  • Collect Blood (Phlebotomy)
  • Process Blood
  • Collect Urine
  • Process Urine
  • Exam Room usage ( Martha Cruz, Research Study Coordinator to reserve exam room)
  • ABPM
  • FMD
  • PMV
  • Central Aortic Pressure
  • Iothalamate Assay
  • Study participant recruitment and management
  • Impedimed SFB7
    • This is a whole body multifrequency bioimpedance spectroscopy device that is FDA approved for measurements of body composition in healthy individuals. The device provides measurements of total body water, extracellular water, intracellular water, fat mass, fat-free mass, and body mass index based on input measurements of height, weight, age, and sex. Leads are placed on the ipsilateral hand, foot, ankle, and wrist with measurements available within seconds
  • Cheetah Non-Invasive Cardiac Output Monitor (NICOM)
    • This device utilizes impedance cardiography to obtain measurements of cardiac output (and index) and mean arterial pressure so that peripheral vascular resistance (and index) can be measured. The device simultaneously measures stroke volume (and index), heart rate, stroke volume variation, and thoracic fluid content. Leads are placed on shoulders and trunk while brachial artery cuff is placed. All measurements are available after a 3- to 5-minute calibration period.