Lifespan is Rhode Island's largest health care system and the major academic medical system affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Lifespan scientists and clinicians almost all serve as faculty members within the medical school, and our faculty are spearheading exciting research initiatives and scientific discoveries that directly lead to lifesaving or life-changing new therapies—across almost all areas of medicine and health care. Our researchers are delving deeper into our most fundamental biological systems, learning more and more about how the body functions at the molecular and cellular level; they are working to understand the biomechanics of bones, muscles and joints, and finding novel ways to prevent disease or repair damage; they are increasing understanding in the fields of psychiatry and human behavior. Whatever their expertise, our researchers work to see their efforts contribute to healing those who suffer impairment of body or mind.
The stories on this site all serve to show how the daily practice of biomedical research, across the Lifespan campuses, directly informs and guides important advancements in the care and well-being of our patients. Much of the research done at Lifespan hospitals is translational research, also known as “bench to bedside” research. Translational research quickly brings new discoveries and new treatments from the lab to the patient—improving outcomes and saving lives. The most significant medical advances occur in translational research, and teaching hospitals like ours are ideal places to nurture and grow this kind of research activity.
The significance and extent of our research enterprises are reflected in our researchers' success in attracting grant funding. In fiscal year 2009 our researchers successfully sought $49.2 million in competitive grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH); among independent hospitals, our combined hospitals ranked 9th nationally, in terms of NIH grants awarded. This funding is a testament to the importance of the research being done at Lifespan, and it is a crucial source for continued growth of our programs.
At the heart of biomedical research lies the remarkable discipline, passion and intelligence it takes to engage in the complex work required to advance medical knowledge. At Lifespan hospitals, each day brings intriguing discoveries. Among them are important breakthroughs—the discoveries that bring to light a previously unknown aspect of biology or medicine, open a new course of biomedical exploration, or offer a heartening leap in treatment of a disease.
This site contains explanations of some of the recent major breakthroughs our researchers have achieved. These encouraging stories, however, capture but a moment of Lifespan's research activity, where inquiry, inspiration and discovery are ongoing and daily give rise to new knowledge. With this site we celebrate the brilliance, creativity, compassion and dedication of our entire academic faculty and research staff.