John Eisenach, M.D.
"In today's competitive environment, we couldn't train all our aspiring investigators if we didn't have the CTSA."
Using genetics to predict cardiovascular disease and hypertension
Disease prevention — it's what drives the research of John Eisenach, M.D., an anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester. Dr. Eisenach's research focuses on identifying the genetic components, as well as environmental factors, that lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. He hopes this work will one day translate into models that can predict and prevent these diseases.
Dr. Eisenach says Mayo's Center for Translational Science Activities (CTSA) encourages collaboration and teamwork amongst investigators.
"There's more team research at Mayo now," he explains. "Neither institutions nor investigators can conduct research and survive in the traditional ‘silo model' of independent study. To be competitive and successful, investigators are taking more cross-disciplinary, collaborative approaches to research."
Dr. Eisenach works with colleagues in Mayo's Human Integrative Physiology Laboratory, as well as in hypertension and pulmonary research. But the team approach doesn't stop there.
"I'm 100 percent dependent on the Clinical Research Unit (CRU), he says. "The CRU nursing staff assists with data collection, and I use the core laboratories, pharmacy and metabolic kitchen for my studies." Research volunteers for his studies are located with assistance from the CTSA volunteer recruitment office.
Mobile research vehicle
Blood samples — and lots of them — are needed for Dr. Eisenach's research. On several occasions, Dr. Eisenach has enlisted the help of the CRU's mobile research vehicle and nursing staff. The vehicle allows investigators to bring their research directly into the community, enabling them to reach volunteers — such as students or the elderly — who may otherwise be unable to visit Mayo to participate in research.
Dr. Eisenach has traveled to sites such as Winona State University in southeastern Minnesota and the Olmsted County Fair, where his team can draw hundreds of blood samples in a single visit.
The next generation
Mayo Clinic's CTSA has developed and refined a variety of educational opportunities — certificate, Master's and Ph.D. programs in clinical and translational science; career development programs; training and continuing education in clinical research coordination; and Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses. Participation in these programs continues to grow, and clinician-researchers are taking notice.
"The CTSA has greatly enhanced the training of early investigators, and facilitating more research ultimately means improving our ability to deliver quality health care," says Dr. Eisenach. "In today's competitive environment, we couldn't train all our aspiring investigators if we didn't have the CTSA."
Certainly, Dr. Eisenach is doing his part. Since joining Mayo in 2002, he has mentored more than 20 students and residents.