We interviewed the Principal Investigators responsible for leading each of the CIVICs Centers as part of a two-part interview series. Previously, we learned about the Principal Investigator at the CIVICs Statistical, Data Management, and Coordination Center (SDMCC), Dr. Stephan Bour. This article introduces the SDMCC from the perspective of Dr. Stephan Bour.
If you had to make an elevator pitch for CIVICs, what would you say?
Are you one of the more than 100 million people in the U.S. who have to renew your flu vaccine each year? The researchers in the CIVICs Network are exploring new innovative approaches to make these vaccines more effective and last longer.
Tell me the origin story of your Center.
We were fortunate to be awarded in 2014 the data coordination center for the CEIRS program. We felt that leveraging the systems, methods, and relationships we had developed to serve a flu-focused research program could be compelling for the members of CIVICs. We look forward to continuing to strengthen connections between NIAID’s influenza-focused programs.
Explain the scientific aims of your Center to me, but pretend I’m a high schooler.
Large research programs like CIVICs involve more than 40 institutions distributed across the U.S. and in other countries. While this allows NIAID to focus energies on a common set of goals, it introduces coordination and logistic challenges. The main purpose of our Center is to help the Network operate as efficiently as possible. This mission includes the coordination of data and knowledge flows across the Network and assisting in the development of statistically valid and reproducible clinical protocols. We also are charged with describing and disseminating the goals, progress, and accomplishments of the Network via a diversity of media such as the CIVICs public website, the program’s official Twitter, and newsletters to the Network.
Tell me about an exciting recent discovery from
your CIVICs Center.
We have not yet been in a position to directly contribute to a research project, but we have, in collaboration with Network scientists and data managers, developed several insights that we will apply to make sharing of experimental data and resources more seamless and useful for future research.
If you had to recommend another person from your Center for me to interview, who would it be, and why?
Emily Billings, PhD, and Kyle Martin, PhD, both hold key roles in the operation of the Center. They both interact directly with a variety of stakeholders at NIAID and at the Centers and have an intimate understanding of the needs of the Centers and the impact SDMCC.