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Scientific Partners Advancing Research Kickoff (SPARK)

Mentorships and consultations on designing and conducting clinical and translational studies

Contact:  Satya Sree N. Kolar, MS, MD, PhD - 713-500-7924

The mission of SPARK is to mentor junior investigators and assist experienced investigators by providing multidisciplinary assistance on the design, implementation, and conduct of clinical and translational research studies. 

SPARK services include:

  • Guidance on the formulation of research projects and programs
  • Advice on protocol design
  • Assistance with IRB/CCTS applications
  • Suggestions for finding outside funding
  • Research career advice

SPARK team members have expertise in:

  • Study design and methodology
  • IRB review
  • Clinical trial coordination
  • Clinical research practice
  • Funding strategies
  • Grants management
  • Protocol budgets
  • Ethical issues
  • CCTS core laboratories
  • Informed consent
  • Database design and data collection
  • Research administration
  • Specific CRU services
  • Other CCTS services

Interested investigators can ask for specific services or a meeting with the SPARK team.  The team recommends that new investigators have a SPARK meeting before submitting a protocol for IRB/CCTS approval, as the team can help identify issues that might hinder support. It is unnecessary to have a complete protocol written; investigators in the planning stages can meet with the SPARK team for preliminary advice on the protocol's design.  For a meeting, the SPARK team requires a short written summary of the proposed study (see instructions below).

To schedule a meeting or speak with specific members of the SPARK team, please contact Satya Kolar, MS, MD, PhD - - 713-500-7924.

SPARK Summary Abstract

Describe the proposed project in a 1-page abstract with the following subheadings: 


Background:  Briefly describe the field of study, the gap in knowledge the proposed study will fill, why filling that gap is essential, and how it will benefit patients. 

Hypothesis and specific aims:  State the hypothesis and specific aims of the study. 

Subjects and methods:  State how the subjects will be accrued, the sample size, what tests will be performed, and how the data will be analyzed.

Results:  State the expected results. 

Conclusions:  Describe the anticipated conclusions.