Research Centers in Minority Institutions Research Network (RTRN)
(RCMI) Translational Research Network (RTRN)

Please Visit the Network Site: WWW.RTRN.NET

The Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Translational Research Network (RTRN) was established in 2007 to foster collaboration across RCMI institutions, with the aim of improving minority health and reducing health disparities. Collaborations within and beyond the RCMI community are expected to promote joint grant applications and publications and accelerate the pace of basic, clinical and translational research.

The Strategic Goals of RTRN are to:

    Enhance infrastructure to facilitate multi-site, cross-disciplinary translational research, especially research focused on addressing health disparities.
    Enhance processes to increase the efficiency of conducting multi-site clinical trials and translational research.
    Enhance web-based research, training, and educational resources for investigators, health care providers, research participants, and the general public.



CLINICAL TRIALSThe Effect of Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) on Vascular Function and Cardiovascular Risk Factors (N=130)

RTRN’s first multi-site clinical trial tested the effects of vitamin d3 on cardiovascular risk factors. Through innovative recruitment strategies, a 100% recruitment rate was achieved. This proof-of- concept project enabled the network to establish systematic approaches for conducting effective and efficient FDA-compliant clinical trials and provided physiological insights into the design for a larger multi-site clinical trial.


Community research, community-inspired research and community-partnered research will be defining features of the RCMI network. With their unique access to vulnerable populations suffering disproportionately high morbidity and mortality from cancer, cardiovascular and related diseases, HIV/AIDS, obesity and metabolic syndromes, and neurological and mental health disorders, the RCMI grantee institutions are well positioned to dissect the complex array of socio-economic, environmental, epigenetic, genetic, nutritional, occupational, behavioral and gender-based determinants of health disparities.

To increase the quality and efficiency of community-partnered research projects, the RTRN Research Coordinating Center will work closely with the Community Engagement Cluster and the Community Engagement Subcommittee, as well as the Community Engagement key function teams at G12 RCMI and U54 RCTR grantee institutions, to improve coordination and expand the breadth and scope of research activities aimed at improving minority health and reducing health disparities. The RCC will expend human resources in the following areas:

    Develop a roster of community researchers and lay community leaders
    Develop an inventory of community-based organizations and their assets
    Develop a roster of community-based physicians and their experience in clinical trials
    Develop a Community Engagement and Advisory Committee

Efforts are underway to reinvigorate the Community Engagement Subcommittee of the RTRN Steering Committee. Importantly, Ms. Loretta Jones, the founding Executive Director of Healthy African American Families, a non-profit, community-serving agency for improving the health outcomes of African Americans, Latinos and other minorities in South Los Angeles, who has devoted more than 40 years as a civil rights activist, health policy advocate, and social architect, has accepted the nomination to serve on the RTRN Steering Committee. Also, Dr. Emma Fernandez, the RTRN Steering Committee Chair, has engaged Dr. Angela Sy, a community researcher in the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, one of four RCC Collaboration Coordinators, who will assist in developing and coordinating the activities of the Community Engagement Cluster, led by Dr. Sheba George, of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, and Dr. Sharon Davis Thompson, of the University of Texas at El Paso.


The Center has 37 publications since 2008.

Recent Significant Publications (Acknowledging RTRN grant U54RR022762)

    Higa JK, Liang Z, Williams PG, Panee J. Phyllostachys edulis compounds inhibit palmitic acid-induced monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) production. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45082. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045082. Epub 2012 Sep 18.PMID: 23028772 PMCID: PMC3445604

    Hlaing SM, Garcia LA, Kovanecz I, Martinez RA, Shah S, Artaza JN, Ferrini MG. Sildenafil promotes neuroprotection of the pelvic ganglia neurones after bilateral cavernosal nerve resection in the rat. BJU Int. 2013 Jan;111(1):159-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11278.x. Epub 2012 Jun 6. PMID: 22672418 PMCID: PMC3548048

    Rivera-Molina YA, Rojas BR, Tang Q. Nuclear domain 10-associated proteins recognize and segregate intranuclear DNA/protein complexes to negate gene expression. Virol J. 2012 Sep 28;9:222. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-9-222. PMID: 23021128 PMCID: PMC3502357

    Panee J. Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) in obesity and diabetes. Cytokine. 2012 Oct;60(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2012.06.018. Epub 2012 Jul 4. Review.PMID: 22766373 PMCID: PMC3437929

    Perez KJ, Martínez FP, Cosme-Cruz R, Perez-Crespo NM, Tang Q. A short cis-acting motif in the M112-113 promoter region is essential for IE3 to activate M112-113 gene expression and is important for murine cytomegalovirus replication. J Virol. 2013 Mar;87(5):2639-47. doi: 10.1128/JVI.03171-12. Epub 2012 Dec 19. PMID: 23255797 PMCID: PMC3571397

    Selariu A, Cheng T, Tang Q, Silver B, Yang L, Liu C, Ye X, Markus A, Goldstein RS, Cruz-Cosme RS, Lin Y, Wen L, Qian H, Han J, Dulal K, Huang Y, Li Y, Xia N, Zhu H. ORF7 of varicella-zoster virus is a neurotropic factor. J Virol. 2012 Aug;86(16):8614-24. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00128-12. Epub 2012 Jun 6. PMID: 22674980 PMCID: PMC3421744