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Building an MTT

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Within the UTMB ITS, we facilitate the creation of Multidisciplinary Translational Teams (MTTs), groups of scientific researchers from diverse fields and experience levels united toward reaching a common goal. 

Team Design and Strategy:

  • Goals - Although our teams all focus on a different scientific issue, teams' main goals center on:
    • Studying human disease/community health
    • Accomplishing scientific tasks at an accelerated rate
    • Expanding scientific, educational and team-based capabilities
    • Developing team effectiveness through adaptation and learning
  • Structure
    • Multidisciplinary membership
    • Formally-designated roles
    • Connection with internal and/or external research networks
  • Values
    • Collaboration
    • Interdependence
    • Autonomy and self-selection
    • Egalitarian governance
    • Technological facilitation

Team Organization:

Based on results from analyzing our MTTs' processes and impact, we have found that the most successful teams are those with engaged and transformational leadership, who show capacity to use multiple disciplines and develop external networks, and are focused on their primary translational outcome. As a result, we recommend the following team structure. 

  • Director/Principal Investigator
    • Principal investigator with substantive research record
    • Acts as overall leader – research expert
    • Responsibilities 
      • Role model
      • Foster new collaborations
      • Dissemination of practice-based interventions
      • Transformational leadership in team
  • Associate Director/Project Manager
    • Junior faculty – often trainees
    • Responsibilities
      • Conducting the major translational project of the team
      • Experimental coordination
      • Project management
  • Research Team Members
    • Junior and senior scientists
    • Drawn from multiple disciplines, depending on research question
    • Expected to collaborate and support team functions
  • Trainees
    • Junior faculty, post-docs, medical students, and graduate students
    • Generally a developmental role
    • Critical to fulfilling the ITS mission and NCATS expectations
  • External Team Members
    • Frequently represent discipline-specific expertise not found at UTMB
    • Membership can change over time
    • Support core team members

Team Expectations: 

  • Monthly Meetings
  • Yearly Progress reporting, focused on on scientific progress and team development progress
  • Development planning
  • Ongoing training utilizing ITS Team Science Training modules and UT System Skillsoft courses, attending ITS speakers and symposia

Team Resources:

For our teams, we provide:

  • Informatics analysis and resources: Our ITS Informatics Core provides a variety of services for teams, including biostatistics consultations, REDcap access, and medical informatics/visual analytics consultations
  • Clinical research conduct/design: Our Clinical Trials Studio, Clinical Research Center (CRC), and Ethics Support team all provide vital services for our teams
  • MTT management and meeting coordination services, including iSpace access and physical or virtual meeting locations
  • Training Programs, including:
  • Facilitation / Team Management, via informative resources and readings, as well as tracking/evaluation feedback from our Evaluation team