Programs and Cores

Most JI research projects fall under one of four thematic areas, selected because of their potential for broad impact and mutual expertise across both partner institutions. Projects in other fields are considered, but these areas are emphasized:

    • Cancer
    • Precision Health
    • Neuroscience
    • Reproductive Health

Supporting each Program at the heart of the Joint Institute is an organizational structure that fosters the relationship-building, collaboration, and innovation necessary for success of the individual research teams. Three “Core” groups (Collaboration; IRB and Human Protection; and Biorepository and Biomedical Informatics), each with representatives from both partner institutions, provide the JI’s primary administrative framework, helping the individual research teams overcome specific challenges and issues associated with complex international collaborations. In addition to the technological infrastructure and administrative assistance needed for success, the Cores provide joint oversight to ensure the work adheres to established standards and practices for research involving human subjects and tissue.


Collaboration Core

The Collaboration Core was established to facilitate a genuine partnership between the University of Michigan Health System and Peking University Health Science Center. The Collaboration Core conducts research into the science of collaboration. It tracks the collaboration needs and goals of each institution, defines success measures, and identifies the management structures and processes that lead to favorable outcomes. By conducting and publishing this research, the Collaboration Core furthers the science of collaboration, sheds light on the social and technical practices that facilitate effective collaborations, and helps develop knowledge about how to build and facilitate effective partnerships.
Based on its research, the Collaboration Core assists the Joint Institute management teams to formulate strategies related to communication, project management, and coordination by providing advice and guidance to the program and management teams and coordinating with the Biorepository/Biomedical core to build the technical infrastructure necessary to support collaboration. This important function touches virtually every facet of the Joint Institute and serves as a central “hub” of information for research conducted by the program scientists.

Institutional Review Board & Human Protection Core

The central mission of the Joint Institute’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Human Protection Core is to promote the protection of human participants in the research being conducted by the Joint Institute. The Board comprises representatives from the internal IRBs of both universities. Through careful review and monitoring of Joint Institute Programs and proposals, the Board works to ensure that research activities adhere to all applicable laws, regulations, and institutional policies for research involving human subjects. The Joint Institute IRB serves as liaison to the Michigan Medicine IRBMED and the PKUHSC IRB ensuring that all collaborations meet the human protection standards in place at both universities.


Biorepository/Biomedical Informatics Core

The Biorepository and Biomedical Informatics (BRBI) Core is responsible for establishing standardized procedures for the acquisition, storage, and management of biospecimens and data that support the Joint Institute’s research missions. The BRBI Core provides a robust electronic data capture infrastructure to support field data entry and sharing and long-term management of the data. It also strives to provide project management support such as patient consent and sample tracking, allowing investigator teams to focus on their core research tasks. All Joint Institute programs and investigators are required to follow the standards established by this core.