Clinical Research Program – Boston Musculoskeletal Clinical Research Collaboratory

The Boston Musculoskeletal Clinical Research Collaboratory (Boston MCRC) serves as a central resource for clinical research focused on the most common musculoskeletal disorders, osteoarthritis and gout, and provides research resources for investigator-based research in scleroderma, spondyloarthritis, musculoskeletal pain and osteoporosis, among others. Center grant funding produces 30-35 papers annually in leading peer-reviewed arthritis journals and general medical journals. This center has trained many of the leading clinical researchers in rheumatology throughout the US and internationally; many of these former trainees have active collaborations with the center.

We are a broad research community with a core group of faculty. The research community’s ready access to core faculty and to the sophisticated research methods and assistance they provide enhances the clinical and translational research of the community and increases collaborative opportunities. The MCRC updates BU’s historical focus on epidemiologic methods to include new approaches to causal inference and adds new methods in machine learning and mobile health.

The Accelerator Core Unit is the focal point of this MCRC. A key feature is the weekly Research Accelerator meeting in which ongoing and proposed research projects are evaluated critically. This feature ensures frequent interactions between clinician researchers, epidemiologists and biostatisticians who are the core members of the MCRC. The Research Accelerator provides critical support for other federal and foundation grants related to rheumatic and arthritic disorders at Boston University.

The overall goal of this center is to carry out and disseminate high-level clinical research informed both by state of the art clinical research methods and by clinical and biological scientific discoveries. Ultimately, we aim either to prevent or find better treatment strategies for common musculoskeletal diseases to improve the lives of those living with the diseases.

PILOT GRANTS

Boston MCRC aims to support researchers with pilot award projects through its methodology services. These services are for exploring and/or catalyzing new research questions that take advantage of Boston University-based cohort studies or other databases that focus on musculoskeletal disorders, musculoskeletal research that includes new epidemiologic study designs, machine learning, or mobile health and wearable technologies. The goals of the Pilot Program are to catalyze new collaborative opportunities with core investigators of the MCRC to grow research community ties to the Boston MCRC.