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SQLIFTS Translational Innovation Program

Ankit Bharat, MBBS

We provide investigators who study diseases of the chest easy access to tissue that will allow them to develop novel therapeutics, run trials to validate biomarkers and administer rapid diagnostic tests for personalized medicine."

Ankit Bharat, MBBS
Director, SQLIFTS Translational Innovation Program
Chief of Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery
Harold L. and Margaret N. Method Professor of Surgery
Professor of Surgery (Thoracic Surgery) and Medicine (Pulmonary & Critical Care)

Our Mission

The Simpson Querrey Lung Institute for Translational Science (SQLIFTS) Translational Innovation Program connects investigators seeking to identify novel therapies for patients with lung disease with clinical resources. 

A major goal of SQLIFTS is to accelerate the translation of findings from the laboratory or from patient studies to the care of patients. To this end, the Translational Innovation Program will support sample collection and processing for pilot studies that can lead to external funding, including support for IRB approval and monitoring.

The program will be engaged, further, in fostering industry partnerships, facilitating clinical trials and providing an infrastructure for extracting clinical and genomic data for translational studies.

Benefits of Clinical Partnership With Northwestern Medicine

SQLIFTS works in collaboration with the Canning Thoracic Institute (CTI) at Northwestern Medicine, providing patients across the Northwestern Medicine health system opportunities to participate in lung research. For investigators of pulmonary health and disease, this partnership offers:

  • Access to tissues collected as part of clinical care or research for investigators who wish to understand diseases of the chest.
  • Opportunities to develop and test novel therapeutics identified in the SQLIFTS Discovery Program.
  • Volunteers to validate biomarkers and rapid diagnostic tests for personalized medicine, as well as for innovative investigator and pharma-driven clinical trials.
  • Access to lung bioengineering, through which damaged lungs can be repaired for successful transplantation.

Meet Our Director

The SQLIFTS Translational Innovation Program is led by Ankit Bharat, MBBS, executive director of the Canning Thoracic Institute (CTI). During the pandemic, CTI research focused on understanding the mechanisms of COVID-19. Bharat used these findings as the scientific underpinnings for his decision to perform the first lung transplant for a patient with COVID-19 in the United States. Since then, his team at CTI has performed more than 40 lung transplant procedures for patients with COVID-19, among the largest counts in hospital systems nationwide.

Bharat has also led the development of innovative programs for lung transplant in patients with lung cancer and the A-PLUS (Ambulatory Precision LUng Sparing) program, allowing for the diagnosis and surgical treatment of lung cancer as a one-day outpatient procedure.

Under his leadership, Northwestern Medicine surgeons have pioneered robotic platforms to reduce the morbidity of surgery and have partnered with industry to bring new treatments, diagnostic test and therapies to patients with lung disease. Bharat's team has also introduced new paradigms such as offering lung transplant for patients with medically refractory cancers limited to the lung through a registry trial (DREAM – Double lung transplant REgistry Applied for lung-limited Malignancies).

Connect With Lung Patients for Northwestern Studies

A major goal of the program is to link patients with lung disease at Northwestern Medicine with investigators seeking to improve patient health through research. If you have a project related to therapy that may be applied to patients with lung disease, please contact the institute to discuss your project.

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