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Centers at Penn State College of Medicine

Centers at Penn State College of Medicine are multidisciplinary, collaborative entities that must include faculty members from multiple departments and must encompass at least two of the College’s core missions: clinical, research, education, and community outreach. All centers must have either research or education as one of their core missions.

View criteria to become a center

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Our Centers

Carlino Family Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center Expand answer

Co-director: Walter Coltun, MD

Co-director: Kofi Clarke, MD

The Carlino Family Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center is committed to the study of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Our research goals in both clinical trials and basic science are focused on finding new therapies to improve the health of patients with IBD and discovering the possible genetic causes and treatment alternatives for the disease.

Learn more about Carlino Family IBD Center

Center for Applied Studies in Health Economics Expand answer

Director: Guodong Liu, PhD

The Center for Applied Studies in Health Economics (CASHE) is located in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Penn State University College of Medicine. CASHE conducts high quality research in the areas of health services research, health economics, medicine, cost-effectiveness analysis, public health, health outcomes, and health policy. We offer our collaborators access to millions of records from large databases (including Medicaid, private health insurance, hospital discharge, and Department of Veterans Affairs), at reduced rates to help them understand health economics and treatment outcomes. We have the computing resources and technical expertise to assist with:

  • Preliminary Analysis
  • Study Designs
  • Grant Proposal Development
  • Manuscript Development
  • Cost and Cost-effectiveness Analysis

Learn more about CASHE

Center for Cannabis and Natural Product Pharmaceuticals (CCNPP) Expand answer

Director: Kent Vrana, PhD

Scientific director: Wesley Raup-Konsavage, PhD

The Center for Cannabis and Natural Product Pharmaceutics (CCNPP) was established to expand upon the scientific progress of the state-approved medical marijuana academic clinical research center at Penn State. While, Cannabis will remain an integral part of the research conducted by the center, interests will also encompass other natural products in both basic and clinical science studies for a wide range of diseases and disorders. Current projects outside of cannabis include research on decursinol (derived from Angelica gigas), schweinfurthins (from Macaranga), pawhuskins (from Dalea), among others. Diseases and disorders currently being studied include: cancer, pain (particularly chemotherapeutic-induced peripheral neuropathy), inflammatory bowel disease, and high blood pressure. Other areas of interest include the growth and cultivation of plants of medicinal importance, using artificial intelligence to examine complex botanical mixtures, and synthesis of novel compounds based upon natural products. It is important to note that the CCNPP provides ready access to infrastructure for natural product extraction and analytical chemistry analysis. In addition, a variety of biological science pipelines (animal assessments, cell culture analysis, etc.) have already been established and are available.

Center for Medical Innovation Expand answer

Director: Kevin Harter, MBA

Penn State College of Medicine clinicians, faculty, staff and students are building a better future by moving their groundbreaking innovations down the path of technology commercialization and into the lives of patients around the world. The mission of the Center for Medical Innovation is to provide a service-oriented organization within the Penn State system to drive economic and social value from Penn State medical innovation. The Center provides guidance and support to streamline the process of moving innovative technologies through the commercialization pipeline to industry, to make a positive economic and social impact in the community.

Learn more about the Center for Medical Innovation

Center for NMR Research Expand answer

Director: Scott Hwang, MD, PhD

The Center for NMR Research was founded in 1988 by the Penn State Health Department of Radiology, receiving funding as a Bioengineering Research Partnership through the NIBIB. CNMRR is a state-of-the-art research facility focusing on two fronts: first, methodology development in magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy, functional MRI and their clinical applications in human models (including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and concussion) and animal models; and second, radiofrequency magnetic field engineering. The research faculty in the CNMRR, collaborate with and support research activities and provide imaging analysis software to interested researchers.

Learn more about the Center for NMR Research

Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science (CORTS) Expand answer

Director: April Armstrong, MD

The multidisciplinary foci of CORTS include:

  • Molecular biology of cartilage development and osteoarthritis
  • Transgenic animal models of musculoskeletal disease
  • Bone and cartilage cell biology
  • Biophysical signal transduction as it applies to orthopaedic problems
  • Pathophysiology of age-related and post-menopausal osteoporosis
  • Computational biomechanics
  • Effects of exercise on bone and cartilage
  • Assessment of orthopaedic implant function and failure
  • Matrix metalloproteinase expression in connective tissue
  • Tendon/ligament mechanics and mechanobiology
  • Roles of non-coding RNAs and retrotransposons in skeletal biology

Learn more about CORTS

Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine Expand answer

Director: Claire de Boer, MS

Endowed Chair: Ben Fredrick, MD

The Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine supports projects and initiatives that promote empathy and compassion in health care settings. Originally established as the Center for Humanistic Medicine in 1979 and renamed The Doctors Kienle Center in 1991, this center supports education and research aimed at promoting a humane, compassionate and patient-centered approach to medicine. The Center is named in honor of the late Drs. Lawrence F. Kienle and Jane Witmer Kienle, whose generous support created the center.

Kienle members participate in dedicated and productive working groups. The three working groups are: Workplace enrichment, research, and the annual symposium.

Learn more about the Doctors Kienle Center

Global Health Center Expand answer

Director: Ben Fredrick, MD

The Global Health Center at the Penn State College of Medicine is a gathering point of multidisciplinary approaches to Global Health, all of which seek to better understand and address health issues and healthcare disparities that transcend geographic borders and that commonly present a greater burden to vulnerable populations.

Learn more about the Global Health Center

Penn State Addiction Center for Translation Expand answer

Director: Sue Grigson, PhD

Co-director: Erika Saunders, MD

Penn State Addiction Center for Translation was created to address substance-use disorders, particularly given the current rise in drug overdose deaths.

A team of Penn State researchers, clinicians and community partners have come together to conduct and disseminate cutting-edge research and share evidence-based methods in substance use prevention and treatment with the community.

The center educates and trains current and future clinicians, health care providers, researchers and community members on issues related to substance use and substance use disorder; helps patients find compassionate and effective care; obtains private and federal funding to support basic science, clinical and translational research; and serves as a resource for the community, as well as the state and federal government, to access evidence-based information and interact with experts in the field.

Learn more about the Addiction Center for Translation

Penn State Center for Research on Tobacco and Health Expand answer

Co-director: Jonathan Foulds, PhD

Co-director: Joshua Muscat, PhD, MPH

The Penn State Center for Research on Tobacco and Health’s mission is to be a national leader of scientific discovery that will translate into effective interventions and policies to reduce tobacco-caused harm. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking and across the world tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death. The goal of the Center is to conduct innovative research that will inform future policymaking on tobacco and health, investigate the toxicology and addictiveness of new and existing tobacco products, and discover new treatments for nicotine addiction.

Learn more about the Center for Research on Tobacco and Health

Penn State Center for Women’s Health Research Expand answer

Co-director: Cynthia Chuang, MD, MSc

Co-director: Jennifer McCall-Hosenfeld, MD

The mission of Penn State Center for Women’s Health Research is to promote research on women’s health ­and on sex/gender differences related to health by supporting a network of faculty members in multiple disciplines who are interested in research collaborations to study various aspects of women’s health.

The center seeks to promote the development of interdisciplinary research teams and can facilitate mentoring opportunities for junior faculty members.

The ultimate goal is to advance science and contribute to the development of health promotion, disease prevention, health services delivery and health policy approaches to improving health and well­-being for women across the life span.

Learn more about the Center for Women’s Health Research

Penn State Critical Illness and Sepsis Research Center (CISRC) Expand answer

Director: Anthony Bonavia, MD

Associate Director: E. Scott Halstead, MD, PhD

Associate Director: Judie A Howrylak, MD, PhD

The Penn State Critical Illness and Sepsis Research Center (CISRC) is a multi-disciplinary, cross-campus consortium of investigators dedicated to the joint missions of research and education. Investigators consist of clinicians and scientists from within Penn State Health, Penn State College of Medicine, and Penn State University. With respect to its core missions, the Center’s unique composition ensures that our research initiatives are mechanistically oriented yet address relevant clinical problems. The Center also acts as a rich mentorship resource for faculty and trainees who seek scientific expertise and/or collaborative investigations relevant to its mission. Focuses of the consortium include artificial intelligence, human/rodent immunology and advancement in sepsis phenotyping. Given the breadth of critical illness, the Center also offers a low barrier of entry to individuals exploring new avenues of research, allowing them access to an established research infrastructure that prioritizes mentorship, respect, and inclusion. It also intended to promote efficient and productive collaborations between sepsis investigators at Penn State and like-minded investigators at other academic institutions.

Learn more about the CISRC

Penn State Hershey Center for Pediatric Cardiovascular Research Expand answer

Director: Akif Undar, PhD

During the past 19 years, the Pediatric Cardiovascular Research Center at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital has established a multidisciplinary research team with the goal of improving outcomes for children undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass procedures and mechanical circulatory support systems. Our research center brings together teams from multiple academic departments and disciplines. It combines basic science, engineering and clinical applications under the unified mission of pediatric cardiovascular research. Scientists and clinicians in the center represent the departments of Pediatrics, Surgery, Bioengineering, Anesthesiology, Comparative Medicine, Public Health Sciences, Pharmacology and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Our major objective is the development of novel technologies and methodologies to be used in minimizing the adverse effects of cardiovascular operations and cardiopulmonary bypass in neonates, infants and children. Particular attention will be focused on reducing the associated morbidities of cerebral, myocardial, pulmonary and renal injury.

Learn more about the Center for Pediatric Cardiovascular Research

Penn State Hershey Clinical Simulation Center Expand answer

Manager and Lead for Interprofessional Learning: Elizabeth Sinz, MD, MEd

Jointly operated and funded by Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State University College of Medicine, The Clinical Simulation Center has a long history of success in simulation-based education and research.

The mission of the Penn State Hershey Clinical Simulation Center is to improve patient outcomes with effective programs that promote and enhance practitioner skills, clinical competence, teamwork, and interdisciplinary collaboration. To advance the field of healthcare simulation, the Center conducts innovative research into simulation theory, practice, and technology.

Learn more about the Simulation Center

Penn State Liver Center Expand answer

Co-director: Karen Krok, MD

Co-director: Jonathan Stine, MD

Founded in 2013, the Penn State Health Liver Center provides the region’s most comprehensive liver-related patient care, research and education. The Liver Center integrates multiple specialties including transplant hepatology, transplant surgery, interventional radiology, oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology and offers translational research, clinical trials. Our research team is conducting groundbreaking clinical trials, providing unique access to the latest treatments including those which utilize personalized medicine. The Liver Center supports the educational mission of the Penn State College of Medicine by providing formal postgraduate training to the physicians and scientists of tomorrow.

Learn more about the Liver Center

Sleep Research and Treatment Center (SRTC) Expand answer

Director: Alexandros Vgontzas, MD

The Sleep Research and Treatment Center was founded in 1971 at Penn State College of Medicine by Anthony Kales, MD founding chair of the Department of Psychiatry and pioneer in sleep disorders medicine and sleep research. He along with Dr. Edward Bixler and other colleagues published many ground-breaking studies in clinical translational, epidemiology and health outcomes related to sleep and arousal disorders. Dr. Bixler through NIH funding established several large cohorts in men (1990), women (1995) and children (2000). The child cohort has been awarded by NHLBI to follow-up this population twice, the last headed by Dr. Fernandez-Mendoza. Having built strong collaborations widely throughout Penn State and with extramural national and international institutions, STRC has received funding from diverse federal and foundation sponsors. The Center throughout its existence has been a magnet for scientists from the United States and abroad who later on built their own sleep centers throughout the States and the World. The Center also supports many educational and outreach programs.

Learn more about SRTC

Translational Brain Research Center Expand answer

Director: Xuemei Huang, MD

The vision of the Penn State College of Medicine Translational Brain Research Center is to:

  • provide infrastructure and support for translational brain research studies;
  • train and mentor multidisciplinary physician-scientists and basic science researchers as future leaders in translational research; and
  • enhance community visibility and engage our patients in research partnership.

The Translational Brain Research Center is composed of:

  • a comprehensive care center for movement disorders;
  • an administrative scientific support core;
  • clinical trial management/coordination; and
  • several cross-campus multidisciplinary research cores.

Learn more about the Translational Brain Research Center

Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education Expand answer

Co-director: Susan Glod, MEd

Co-director: Lisa Shantz, PhD

The Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education strives continuously to foster an engaged community of educators and learners. We offer programs, workshops, events, and consultations designed to improve health sciences education. We also work to recognize outstanding educators at the Penn State College of Medicine. Each year, we host EdVenture, a day-long celebration of teaching and learning that includes a plenary session from an internationally known educator, workshops, and an awards ceremony.

Learn more about the Woodward Center

Criteria to become a Center at Penn State College of Medicine

Centers must address most, if not all, of the following criteria:

Fosters Multi-Disciplinary Research/Scholarship in one or more of the following ways:

  • Promotes interdisciplinary teams across departments, colleges, and campuses as appropriate for its intended scope and reach
  • Facilitates significant multi-investigator awards
  • Includes a scope of work that bridges basic, clinical, or educational sciences as appropriate to the Center’s mission and focus
  • Promotes research with a goal of creating health equity

Promotes Excellence aligning with the CoM Strategic Plan in one or more of the following ways:

  • Promotes research excellence which aligns with targeted strategic research initiatives
  • Supports the pro-active pursuit of extramural funding

Promotes Multi-Disciplinary Membership in the following ways:

  • Attracts, maintains, and supports a diverse and committed faculty membership
  • Represents varying departments, colleges, and/or university campuses
  • Promotes interactions with Penn State Health (PSH) or other Penn State entities
  • Engages faculty who are under-represented in medicine and science

Acts a catalyst for the College’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging cultural growth by:

  • actively engaging persons underrepresented in health sciences in both leadership and membership roles

Enhances Faculty Recruitment and Retention in the following ways:

  • Assists with identifying and recruiting new faculty
  • Supports retention of high performing faculty

Fosters Faculty Development and Mentoring by providing a collaborative framework for mentoring faculty

Provides Distinctive Educational Programs and Opportunities in one or more of the following ways:

  • Supports development of unique educational experiences for students, trainees, staff, faculty, and/or community stakeholders
  • Encourages development of programs that cross disciplines, departments, and/or colleges

Contributes to Shared (Core) Facilities: Centers may also develop and maintain special shared facilities for services, e.g., that promote basic, translational and clinical research in support of the Center’s mission.

New Center Applications

Interdisciplinary work is a hallmark of Penn State and is encouraged within all mission areas at Penn State College of Medicine. However, interdisciplinary work alone, does not qualify for designation as a center at Penn State College of Medicine. Applications for evaluation as a center at Penn State College of Medicine are accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis. Groups who believe their work meets the criteria for designation as a center may apply at any time.

New center application

College of Medicine Centers Committee