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Florida TRI-MD

“The TRI-MD will shorten the distance between basic research and the clinic to deliver research results faster and on a personalized level.  In addition, clinical findings will lead to discoveries of new mechanisms and investigation of novel ideas at the bench.”

- Dr. Steven R. Smith
Scientific Director, Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes


The Florida Hospital - Sanford Burnham Prebys Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI-MD) is a collaboration that serves as a bridge between basic discovery research and patient-oriented research. The TRI-MD is expected to hasten the discovery and development of new approaches to diagnose, prevent, and treat diabetes, obesity and their cardiovascular complications. One key aim is to produce unique insights into the sub-classifications of diabetes, thus promoting the advent of personalized disease therapies.

TRI History

In 2006, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute initiated plans for a research facility in Orlando, Florida, and began discussions with regional life science organizations about collaborative opportunities. Florida Hospital, one of the largest not-for-profit hospital systems in the country, became an early partner of SBP with complementary clinical expertise in metabolism and an established clinical diabetes research program. In 2008, the Florida Hospital - SBP TRI was formed to facilitate the translation of novel scientific discoveries into practical therapeutic applications for diabetes and obesity.


The TRI-MD brings together the complementary strengths of Florida Hospital’s large patient base and clinical research expertise and SBP’s basic science prowess and advanced research technologies. The organizational synergy is bolstered by a shared disease focus at the Hospital’s Diabetes Institute and SBP’s Metabolic Origins of Disease Center.

The TRI-MD aims to bridge the typical silos of clinical and laboratory research in order to translate fundamental biomedical discoveries and technologies, and to implement specific treatment strategies to deliver care in a manner that is tailored to the individual patient.

Translational research is the bidirectional flow of information between “bench” and “bedside” to ultimately assess the relative merits of an innovative disease target or a novel disease agent to modify disease. TRI-MD investigators working directly with patients will make pivotal observations about disease processes and provide blood and tissue samples from highly characterized patients to SBP researchers in a collaborative two-way interaction.

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By aligning patient-oriented research with metabolic profiling research, scientists broaden their understanding of individual variations in disease and, in turn, foster the development of effective new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches. It is predicted that the integration of newfound biomarkers into clinical practice will revolutionize healthcare delivery with potential for enormous medical, social and economic impact.

The crucial need to bridge basic and clinical research is underscored by staggering epidemiology data. The NIH publication “The Genetic Landscape of Diabetes,” predicts that diabetes will be one of the most common diseases in the world within two decades, affecting at least half a billion people. The increasing prevalence of diabetes is considered a health epidemic as more than 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and another 86 million have pre-diabetes, according to a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes