Translational research in health sciences: Educational implications and challenges

Investigación traslacional en ciencias de la salud: implicaciones educativas y retos
Flora Hernández-Carrilloa,*, Magda Campillo Labranderoa , Melchor Sánchez-Mendiolaa,b

a Coordinación de Desarrollo Educativo e Innovación Curricular (CODEIC), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cd. Mx., México.
b División de Estudios de Posgrado, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cd. Mx., México.

Recibido: 4-julio-2018. Aceptado: 12-septiembre-2018.

* Autor para correspondencia: Flora Hernández-Carrillo. Coordinación de Desarrollo Educativo e Innovación Curricular (CODEIC), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Cd. Mx.. 04510. México.Teléfono: 55-5622-6666, ext. 82300.
Correo electrónico:

Palabras Clave

Investigación traslacional, Práctica basada en evidencias, Ciencias de la implementación, Educación médica, México.


Translational research, Evidence-based practice, Implementation sciences, Medical education, México.


The article provides a conceptual approximation to Translational Research (TrR) in the health sciences. A historical review of recent years was performed, as well as the study of its relationships with applied research, evidence-based research, implementation sciences and innovation-transference of knowledge and technology. TrR in medicine and education are strongly linked because of their mutual feedback and the fertile common ground in medical education.

A pedagogical guide (template) was developed for the analysis of studies that aim to articulate basic research with different translational research phases, including: 1) Introduction to study, 2) Analysis of the problem, 3) Basic research, 4) Translational research, 5) Translational mechanisms and 6) Evaluation and dissemination of results. The use of these sort of tools, like other resources or pedagogical strategies, may contribute to updating and innovating the educational aspects of health and other sciences, such as curricular innovation, research, evaluation or academic/professional trajectories in higher education institutions.

TrR has strengthened several academic and institutional initiatives in different countries such as the creation of partnerships, research centers and publications that promote interdisciplinary collaboration and the integration of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. Some of its challenges are to develop and link models and instruments to enhance collaborative work among researchers and members of the community, the appropriate prevention and management of fraudulent data, and the training and assessment of graduates with a clear vision for connecting science with professional practice. TrR highlights the need for an articulated dialogue between different disciplines’ advances in the search for society’s benefit.