General Clinical Research Unit (GCRU)

The BU CTSI’s General Clinical Research Unit (GCRU), located on the 8th floor of the Evans Building on the Medical Campus, provides services within the unit and beyond through its additional outreach service “GCRU Without Walls,” across all of BU and BMC.

Under the leadership of George O’Connor, MD, BU CTSI Director of Clinical Research and Ridiane Denis, Director of Clinical Research and Operations, the GCRU provides support to study teams and valuable services to a diverse population of inpatients and outpatients, including the ability to conduct pharmacokinetic studies, infusions, PK sampling, CT scans, DXA (bone densitometry), laboratory processing and/or shipping, storage in our monitored and alarmed bio-repository, and budget review and IRB support. Additional services, such as research coordinator support, protocol review, and study feasibility, are available through the Research Navigation Team (RNT). To learn more about all the services provided by the RNT or to request a service, please visit the Research Navigator Team Webpage.

Currently, the GCRU is home to more than 80 studies, including the All of Us Research Program, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and the ACTIV network, which are aimed at contributing to medical breakthroughs that improve healthcare for all. The GCRU provides a web-based application and scheduling system to facilitate study implementation with the flexibility to accommodate clinical research visits – when you need them – from early morning to evening and on weekends.

GCRU Without Walls

If it is physically impractical for participants to come to the GCRU for a study visit, special arrangements can be made through “GCRU Without Walls” for GCRU staff to go to your participant to provide the requested services.

In this way, the GCRU offers essential support to non-COVID and COVID-related clinical studies implemented at Boston Medical Center, including sample collections, consenting, and other study-related needs.

COVID Implementation Team (CIT)

At the outset of the pandemic, under the guidance and mentorship of Ridiane Denis, the GCRU’s Director of Clinical Research Operations, a COVID Implementation Team (CIT) was established to provide resources and services to COVID studies outside its own setting through “GCRU Without Walls.” Under the supervision of Ycar Devis, Senior Research Assistant and CIT Clinical Practice Assistant, and Della Carter, Lab Manager, the CIT consists of highly trained clinical research and/or lab assistants, including Scarlett Salerno, Deepa Anbumani, Tori Blot, Kanika Bisht, Taylor Sa, Oltion Sina, Yeshwanth Sankranthi, Anna Gao, Amrutha Chandrasekaran, Sarvani Dhandibhotla, Saima Syed, and Sanya Thomas. The CIT’s administrative staff includes Lea Bele.

COVID-19 Studies: Services Provided by the GCRU CIT:

The GCRU has implemented 20 COVID studies to date; eight have been completed and 12 are active.  And, there are more in the pipeline. From March 2020 through December 2020, our CIT provided services for over 2,200 study visits that included:

  • Administrative Support: Consenting, Data Entry (Webcamp, RedCap, Velos, iMedidata), Interviews, Scheduling
  • Clinical Support: Physical Assessments, Injections, Infusions, Vital Signs, Phlebotomy, Swabs: (Nasopharyngeal, Oropharyngeal), Saliva Collection
  • Laboratory Support: Processing, Packaging and Shipping, Sample Storage

The GCRU CIT and BU CTSI, in collaboration with the BMC Clinical Trial Office, the Infectious Disease Divisions of the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, and others, provide critically-needed staff to support these clinical research activities. The CIT has worked long hours in settings entailing the personal risk of infection during the pandemic, and provide truly indispensable support to COVID studies, making clinical research at BUMC and BMC possible at the most difficult of times. The GCRU team is especially proud of BMC’s successful site performance in the Pfizer vaccine trial led by Dr. Elizabeth Barnett.

Currently, the GCRU CIT is working with Dr. Ben Linas to implement the first randomized clinical trial of an immunomodulatory therapy as part of the NIH’s Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV 1) initiative. Other COVID-19 treatment trials are also ongoing at BMC, including the follow-up phase of the Pfizer trial.

Research Job Connection (RJC)

The BU CTSI’s Research Job Connection (RJC) features a pool of research professionals from across BU and BMC who are interested in working additional hours to supplement their income, or in finding a new position as a Research Coordinator or Research Assistant.

In 2020, we received 46 new applications and matched 13 participants to PIs or projects, 12 of whom were successfully hired part-time and/or full-time.

If you are interested in being matched with Investigators or Study Teams seeking qualified research professionals, please register here.