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Clinical Research Resource Core (CR-RC1) The Pepper Center at UTMB

The Clinical Research Resource Core (CR–RC1) continues to function as the primary UTMB-OAIC resource for subject recruitment, tracking and retention activities, and for training of our Scholars in clinical research. The core supports research studies on: 1) the biological mechanisms underlying functional loss and recovery; 2) physical function and disability in healthy and frail community-dwelling older adults, and in patients admitted to the hospital; and 3) studies in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) on recovery from illness.


Core Leader: Elena Volpi, MD, PhD [web bio]
Co-Leader: Gulshan Sharma, MD, MPH [web bio]
Co-Investigator: Jaques Baillargeon, PhD [web bio]
Research Operations Manager: Roxana Hirst, MS [email]

The Specific Aims of the CR-RC1 are to:

  1. Recruit, track and retain older adults for scholar projects, external projects, developmental and pilot studies 
  2. Provide standardized health screenings, physical exams, functional status and disability assessments for OAIC investigators
  3. Maintain a health outcomes database on patients admitted to the UTMB Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  4. Coordinate training in recruitment and retention, and functional assessments.
  5. Ensure compliance with regulations governing clinical investigations involving human subjects
  6. Develop novel methodologies to improve research subject recruitment, retention and satisfaction.

Investigator Support

  1. Subject Recruitment:
    • Recruit, track, and retain a pool of older subjects who have agreed to participate in research.
    • Specialize in recruitment of subjects from under-represented minority groups.
  2. Conduct Health Assessments & Screenings - These include but are not limited to:
    • Physical exams
    • Blood work
    • Functional Status
    • Muscle strength testing
    • Face-to-face interviews
    • Chart reviews
  3. Provide Regulatory Support - Provide assistance with:
    • IRB submissions
    • Continuing reviews
    • Progress reports
    • Support letters for grant submissions and study planning
    • Conduct of clinical research studies
    • Coordination of clinical studies

CR-RC1 Staff

  • Roxana Hirst, MS, Research Operations Manager [email]
  • Shawn Goodlett, Clinical Research Coordinator [email]
  • Catherine Iliadou, Senior Research Associate [email]
  • Eloisa Martinez, Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator [email]
  • Sneha Siva Prasad Nagamma, Clinical Research Coordinator [email]
  • Paula Skinkis, Clinical Research Coordinator [email]
Human Subjects (IRB) Citi Training ITS-CRC Volunteer Research Registry

Anchored by our expertise in muscle biology, nutrition, and metabolism in aging, the UTMB-OAIC is a leader in translational research in healthy and clinical older populations. Our evolving, translational focus on interventions to prevent functional loss and improve recovery in older adults, demands a coordinated and efficient recruitment, tracking and retention strategy to ensure continued productivity and faculty development.

The core supports three streams of investigator-initiated activities. First, it provides expertise and resources for translational and mechanistic investigations on the pathophysiology of muscle aging and sarcopenia. Second, the core provides expertise and resources for the assessment of functional status and disability using a standardized battery of subjective and objective measures. Third, we also provide support for innovative qualitative studies and pragmatic clinical trials in patient centered outcomes research (PCOR) in recovery from illness and fall prevention, a new area of research in which several of our investigators are funded and have initiated studies.

Recruitment efforts target older adults from the community, patients seeking healthcare in our clinics, and patients admitted in the ACE unit. We have also initiated the development of a research unit in the ICU. Many MICU patients are older adults subsequently transferred to the ACE Unit after critical care. By expanding our hospital research lab to the ICU we will be able to capture these patients earlier and follow their recovery. The CR–RC1 will also continue to prioritize the recruitment and retention of a diverse subject population including women and older adults of racial/ethnic minority origin.

Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • January 2019

301 University Blvd. Galveston, TX 77555-0177 | p 409.747.0008 | f 409.772.8931
The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Award #P30-AG024832 is funded by
the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.