Bruce Blazar received a BS in Biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and an MD degree at Albany Medical College in Albany, New York in 1978. He completed a residency in pediatrics (1981) and a fellowship in hematology/oncology and bone marrow transplantation (1984) at the University of Minnesota. After spending a year as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, Blazar was appointed assistant professor in the Department. In 2005, Blazar was appointed chief of the new Pediatric and Bone Marrow Transplantation Program; in 2007, founding director of the Center for Translational Medicine; and in 2009, founding director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Blazar also serves as Associate Vice President for Clinical and Translation Science Programs. Since 2008, Blazar has served as principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award grant, which the University of Minnesota was awarded in 2011. Dr. Blazar’s research focuses on developing new approaches to prevent graft-versus-host disease and to enhance immune recovery after blood and marrow transplantation. His work also explores new strategies to prevent cancer relapse. In 2012, Dr. Blazar was elected to the Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Blazar begins by discussing the establishment of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Translational Medicine and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and the relationship between the two centers. He next goes on to describe the application process for the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translation Science Award and the major achievements that have resulted from the CTSA grant. Blazar goes on to discuss the importance of biomedical informatics within the CTSA program; the significance of the appointment of Constantin Aliferis, MD, Ph.D., FACMI as director of the Institute for Health Informatics, director of the CTSI Biomedical Informatics program, and the University of Minnesota chief research informatics officer; and the ongoing support and investment of the Academic Health Center leadership in biomedical and health informatics. Next, Blazar reflects on the distinctiveness of the University of Minnesota’s program among the sixty institutions within the CTSA consortium, and discusses the training initiatives that are part of the CTSA program.