Building dialogues between clinical and biomedical research through cross-species collaborations

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 Oct:70:49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2017.05.022. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


Today, biomedical science is equipped with an impressive array of technologies and genetic resources that bolster our basic understanding of fundamental biology and enhance the practice of modern medicine by providing clinicians with a diverse toolkit to diagnose, prognosticate, and treat a plethora of conditions. Many significant advances in our understanding of disease mechanisms and therapeutic interventions have arisen from fruitful dialogues between clinicians and biomedical research scientists. However, the increasingly specialized scientific and medical disciplines, globalization of science and technology, and complex datasets often hinder the development of effective interdisciplinary collaborations between clinical medicine and biomedical research. The goal of this review is to provide examples of diverse strategies to enhance communication and collaboration across diverse disciplines. First, we discuss examples of efforts to foster interdisciplinary collaborations at institutional and multi-institutional levels. Second, we explore resources and tools for clinicians and research scientists to facilitate effective bi-directional dialogues. Third, we use our experiences in neurobiology and human genetics to highlight how communication between clinical medicine and biomedical research lead to effective implementation of cross-species model organism approaches to uncover the biological underpinnings of health and disease.

Keywords: Drosophila; Interdisciplinary collaborations; Model organisms screening center; Neurological research institute; Undiagnosed diseases network; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / economics
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Mice
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy*
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Networking
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / economics
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*
  • Zebrafish / metabolism