Supporting innovation and teams in diagnostics, prevention, biomarkers, and therapeutics. Reactor: Accelerating Clinical and Translational Research

Program Services

  • Launch challenges for the pan-Harvard community to identify gaps and opportunities and prioritize solutions in Clinical & Translational (C/T) research.

  • Provide incentives and awards to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and team building.

  • Establish and grow C/T research communities.

  • Make available project management expertise, skills development, mentorship, and fiscal resources to promising teams, projects, and programs.

  • Offer project launch strategies and support.

Reactor is composed of three interdependent components: Innovator, Incubator, and Start Up.

Launched in April 2013, Reactor convenes cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional teams and communities, providing support to expedite C/T research. Reactor helps facilitate skills development, team building, mentoring, funding, and identifies external resources, allowing investigators and teams to translate clinical discoveries. Our ultimate goal is to leverage these discoveries to impact patient care through the development, testing, and adoption of novel prevention strategies, diagnostics, therapeutics, and biomarkers. The result: innovation in clinical and translational research methods and the incorporation of new technologies to improve patient healthcare.

The Reactor program's mission is to:

  • Develop innovative technologies and methodologies and assist with their clinical implementation while creating opportunities for cross-disciplinary investigators to enter collaborations and form teams.
  • Bridge the chasm between discovery of basic biomedical observations and their clinical applications through the provision of resources, mentoring, and expertise.
  • Reach throughout and beyond Harvard to identify collaborators, tools, technologies, and monetary support to help support promising initiatives.

Researchers can take part in Reactor by participating in the program's three interdependent, yet separate components:

Innovator: Pilot Funding

Innovator makes available pilot project funding opportunities to teams that employ novel technologies and methodologies to address significant healthcare issues in their C/T research. Innovator will:

  • Award pilot grants based on innovative ideas from promising teams to address significant clinical and translational medical issues
  • Employ novel methodologies and pilot grants to convene cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional teams to conduct innovative C/T research
  • Apply econometric and social science analyses to determine which novel methodologies are most effective
  • Identify teams to advance to Incubator

Selected successful teams will progress to the next component of Reactor, Incubator.

Incubator: Team Building and Collaboration

With the goal of improving the quality, efficiency, and cost of translation, Incubator will facilitate team building and the formation of large, collaborative communities. At this stage, pilot awardees will work closely and interactively with other research communities within and outside their respective areas.

Incubator leadership and staff will assist selected project teams to identify and access resources and expertise such as the following:

  • Team building
  • Resource identification (equipment and technologies)
  • Education
  • Consulting services, including bioinformatics and statistical core resources
  • Funding

Selected successful teams will progress to the next component of Reactor, Start Up.

Start Up: Launching a New Venture

To adequately prepare researchers for the successful launch of new ventures, Start Up will provide teams with critical services and resources, including the following:

  • Project management expertise
  • Team building
  • Formal assessment of tools and technology needs
  • Skills development
  • Mentorship
  • Guidance on plans for a successful launch

This late- to mid-stage support serves to propel select teams forward, allowing them to move closer to achieving focused impact such as commercialization, applying for larger grants, practice in community settings, and partnerships with public health agencies. Awardees selected will receive additional funding for up to two years, and receive ongoing support as they complete predetermined milestones and success metrics.

Advanced Microscopic and Nanoscale Technologies Further Human Healthcare

Pilot grants utilize advanced microscopy at the Harvard Center for Biological Imaging and electron microscopy or nanoscale fabrication technologies at the Center for Nanoscale Systems.

Human Oral Microbiome: Collaboration Opportunity

Explore the recently awarded pilot grants to support collaborative research analyses using the Human Oral Microbiome Database.

OPTICS: Open Translational Science in Schizophrenia

Review the pilot grants that support collaborative analyses of the open-source schizophrenia data sets. Read more about the OPTICS project.