Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.3389/fped.2021.650302; PMCID: PMC8264183


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity for scientists from diverse disciplines to collaboratively mitigate the singular calamity facing humanity this century. The ability of researchers to combine exponential advances in technology and scientific acumen has resulted in landmark discoveries in pediatric research and is surmounting the COVID-19 challenge. Several of these discoveries exist in a realm of research that is not classically "basic" or "clinical." Translational research characterizes this domain partially, but does not fully capture the integrated research approaches that have spurred these discoveries. Herein, we share our perspective on the common themes underpinning the basic and clinical research. We also highlight major differences in the scope, emphasis, approach, and limitations of basic and clinical research that impede multi-disciplinary approaches that facilitate truly transformative research. These differences in research thinking and methodology are ingrained during training wherein the limitations of the chosen discipline, and strengths of alternate disciplines are not adequately explored. Insular approaches are particularly limited in impacting complex diseases pathophysiology in the era of precision medicine. We propose that integration of -omics technologies, systems biology, adaptive clinical trial designs, humanized animal models, and precision pre-clinical model systems must be incorporated into research training of future scientists. Several initiatives from the NIH and other institutions are facilitating such broad-based "research without frontiers" training that paves the way for seamless, multi-disciplinary, research. Such efforts become "transformative" when scientific challenges are tackled in partnership with a willingness to share ideas, tackle challenges, and develop tools/models from the very beginning.

Journal Title

Front Pediatr



First Page


Last Page



COVID-19; basic and clinical sciences; broad scientific training; rare and complex disease; research; training & development; transformative team science


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Publisher's Link:

Included in

Pediatrics Commons