Research navigators are your new guide to the Indiana CTSI


Customer friendly service isn't a term often heard in the world of scientific research, but the phrase plays an important role in the grant recently submitted by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute to the National Institutes of Health to re-fund the institute for another five years.

The concept is the driving force behind the creation of a whole new class of professional within the Indiana CTSI -- research navigators -- scientists by training who serve as the front door to the Indiana CTSI. They are the new gateway by which investigators can enter into the organization and find the answers they need to advance their research.

"The navigators act as a single point of entry to the Indiana CTSI," said Tammy Sajdyk, Ph.D., clinical and translational sciences research officer for the Indiana CTSI Project Development Team Program, who serves as the research navigator for the IUPUI campus, including the IU School of Medicine.

The system spans multiple universities and campuses to include every institution participating in the Indiana CTSI. In addition to Sajdyk, Yvonne Lai, Ph.D., a senior scientist in the College of Arts and Science's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, serves as the research navigator at IU Bloomington; Tommy Sors, Ph.D., chief scientific liaison for the Bindley Bioscience Center, serves as the research navigator at Purdue University; and Andrew Bullock, Ph.D., MBA, associate director for the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute, serves as the research navigator at the University of Notre Dame.

With four navigators at the state's three major research universities, the Indiana CTSI is creating a statewide research navigation network to increase faculty engagement in the many services offered by the Indiana CTSI. These facilities, including laboratories, seed grants, patient recruitment assistance, clinical research facilities, scientific collaborators, and compliance and bioethical consultations, were all established or brought under the umbrella of the Indiana CTSI for one specific purpose -- to speed the transfer of projects from the lab or clinical trial to the health care system.

"Notre Dame came into this partnership a little later than IU or Purdue so we're really trying to get more researchers involved and provide more information about what we bring to the table," Bullock said. "It's really about trying to lower the activation energy for any sort of research. Researchers have so many things on their plate -- anything we can do to simplify the process is beneficial."

To access the full article, go to the Indiana CTSI Newsletter

To speak to a research navigator, contact Andrew Bullock at 574-631-2136 or (Notre Dame).



Andrew Bullock, Ph.D., MBA, is the Indiana CTSI research navigator for the University of Notre Dame.