Our team is comprised of dedicated professionals who are committed to the patients they serve. Our coordinators, nurses, doctors, scientists, and research personnel come from diverse backgrounds in both clinical and non-clinical fields.

NinaBracken | Director of Clinical Research Operations

I am an Advanced Practice Nurse and have been managing research teams and protocol operations for over 10 years. I am responsible for program operations, protocol preparation + start-up and maintenance. I also provide clinical consult for our coordinators and participants.  I am passionate about the innovative research we conduct at the BCC and PHSP, and am dedicated to providing education to our patients to empower them to better manage their condition.

YvetteCabada | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Breathe Chicago Center© and Population Health Sciences Program. I have a background in neuroscience and love working in research. I assist in coordinating studies that focus on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) research. My goal is to ensure timely handling of recruitment and retention efforts for clinical research studies, provide guidance on best practices and lessons learned from recruitment efforts across protocol, and develop plans for engaging target population in clinical research. Working with a great team in studies that contribute in the improvement of the lives of those affected with COPD is a rewarding and unique opportunity I’m thankful for.

ValentinPrieto-Centurion | Assistant Professor of Medicine

I am an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UIC. I am interested in the development and evaluation of interventions to improve outcomes in persons with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), particularly during the hospital-to-home transition.

DebbyCogley | Senior Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC). Before coming to the BCC team, I received my Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona. During my time at the University of Arizona, I performed community-based research with the National Park Service and assisted in clinical research of novel therapies for post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury with the Department of Psychiatry. As a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator, my goal is to work towards reduced health inequities through advancements in personalized patient care and treatment. I am proud to be part of a team that truly values the well-being and time of their patients and works to improve quality of life for individuals with lung disease.

JanCotton | Patient Research Advocate

I am a Patient Research Advocate at the Breathe Chicago Center©. My area of concentration is the PELICAN study. Since I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), this gives me the added expertise needed to reach out to others needing help with this disease. I firmly believe that patients should have the latest information available. I enjoy learning new techniques and how they affect people who are in need of the services offered.  I was an info line associate at the COPD Foundation, am a governing board member of the COPD Patient- Powered Research Network (PPRN), and an advocate for the Respiratory Health Association. I have a Master’s degree in Human Resources.

JulieDeLisa | Assistant Director of Research Compliance

I am a research Project Manager and Assistant Director of Research Compliance with over eight years of experience coordinating clinical trials in asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). I have worked with nationwide multi-site NIH-funded and industry-funded networks, in addition to single-site investigator-initiated trials. As Assistant Director of Research Compliance, I maintain over fifteen active protocols, and help to manage amendments, continuing reviews, and reporting requirements for each protocol. I also act as a resource for program staff and leadership to ensure our regulatory documents reflect our commitment to conduct our research in the best interest of our participants and communities.

Dalilah Earley

DalilahEarley | Web Consultant

I am a Web Consultant for the BCC and Population Health Sciences Program. As a Web Consultant, I am responsible for assisting with the creation and posting of web content for our asthma and COPD studies, as well as motoring our social media accounts. I truly enjoy working with this talented and passionate team that conducts research studies to help find better treatments for asthma and COPD.

JocelyneGeorge | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) and Population Health Sciences Program. Prior to joining the BCC team, I was a Bilingual Research Assistant for the Department of Sociology at UIC. Currently, I assist in the RELIANCE study call center as a bilingual point of contact to help serve the Spanish speaking population, as well as develop and implement effective patient recruitment strategies for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease studies. I am committed to helping improve the lives of individuals with lung disease and overall patient care.

LynnGerald | Assistant Vice Chancellor for Population Health and Research Professor of Medicine

I am Assistant Vice Chancellor for Population Health and Research Professor of Medicine. I am a behavioral scientist and epidemiologist who is responsible for developing, testing, and implementing interventions to improve health outcomes of patients with respiratory disease. I am passionate about engaging patients in the research process to address questions of importance to them, their families, and the healthcare system.

SharonHasek | Manager, Research Communication Center (RCC)

I am the Manager of the Research Communication Center. I am responsible for providing vision, leadership, and oversight of the RCC. My focus will be on the hiring, training coaching and motivating staff members to provide excellent service to all participants in COVID related studies. Key performance metrics, measures and controls will be developed for continuous improvements. I am excited to work with such a dedicated and talented team.

WendyHasse | Project Manager

As a part of the Population Health Sciences Program, I am responsible for planning and overseeing research projects with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) team. I have previously worked in research as a study coordinator and have a clinical background as a registered dietitian. I am excited to contribute to the innovative efforts of the BCC team in order to improve the lives of individuals with lung disease.

SaiIllendula | Assistant Director, Population Health Sciences Data Cluster

I joined Breathe Chicago Center© and Population Health Sciences Program in June 2016.  I am responsible for data management of multiple ongoing research studies, database development and maintenance, and ensuring data quality. I also produce data reports and data visualization for our clinical research projects. It is always a privilege to be involved in the process of solving problems, especially for a data enthusiast like me. Working with our team keeps me motivated and passionate about helping do my part to answer important research questions through solid data management.

JerryKrishnan | Associate Vice Chancellor, Population Health Sciences Program | Director, Breathe Chicago Center

I am a Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Director of the Breathe Chicago Center© and Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health Sciences Program in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health System). I am responsible for developing, testing, and implementing healthcare interventions to improve care, outcomes, and affordability of care for populations served by the UI Health System. I am passionate about conducting comparative effectiveness research and assessing outcomes that are most important to patients and their caregivers.

CinthiaLeman | Director of Administrative Operations, Population Health Sciences Program

I am the Director of Administrative Operations for the Population Health Sciences Program in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. I am responsible for providing administrative oversight of our program’s innovative initiatives and ensuring that the attainment of our goals is possible from an operational standpoint. I am excited to work with such a dedicated team and to lend my skills to UI Health’s mission to reduce health disparities and improve the lives of the population we serve.

JohnLinnell | Patient Research Advocate

I serve as a Patient Research Advocate for the PELICAN project at the Breathe Chicago Center©. I am also a patient with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) diagnosed in 2005. Firmly believing that the patient needs to be an integral part of both treatment and research, I am heavily involved in patient education and advocacy. I find it rewarding to help other patients understand that their COPD is manageable and it is simply a different chapter in their lives. In addition to helping recruit patients for the PELICAN project, I sit on the Executive Board of EFFORTS (a COPD Foundation led program), am a State Captain/Advocate for the COPD Foundation, am the patient representative of the Data Safety Monitoring Board of another clinical research study, and am a voting patient representative for scientific peer review of a Congressionally Directed Medical Review Program.

IreneLoomis Pinter | Senior Design Strategist

As a Senior Design Strategist for the RELIANCE study, I work to consistently create positive experiences for all stakeholders involved. I use human-centered design to ensure that processes are easy to understand and follow to effectively achieve the best possible outcomes for the study, participants, and researchers. I am motivated by doing work that provides value and matters for people’s daily lives. I have 20 years of work experience including consulting, retail leadership, and experience design. My contributions are bolstered by a Master’s of Design from the IIT Institute of Design and an MBA from the IIT Stuart School of Business.

MiriamMartinez | Agent, Research Communication Center (RCC)

I am a Research Communication Center (RCC) agent with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) and ACTIV-4 COVID-19 Outpatient Thrombosis Prevention Study. As an RCC agent, I am a point of contact for participants and clinicians. I am also responsible for collecting self-reported data from participants enrolled through all participating clinical centers across the country. I am committed to the efforts of the development of a treatment for COVID-19.

DavidMoreno | Project Manager

I am a Research Project Manager for the NIH-funded RECOVER study on long COVID. As Research Project Manager I help to bridge the many teams working on this study to facilitate communication, get people the information and resources they need to move the project forward, and ensure we meet all study aims, targets, and compliance requirements. I received my undergraduate degree in Anthropology and MPH from UIC. For much of the past decade I’ve been managing federal grants, reporting and compliance at local FQHCs through a jack-of-all-trades role that involved bridging multiple teams and included some community and government relations. Prior to that I have experience as an outreach worker for an ER diversion program, and earlier in my career some research experience in hospital, community, and international contexts. Bridging different teams to achieve important work to help others is something I really find fulfilling. I’m thrilled to be part of the Breathe Chicago team and helping us to open the door to answers and relief to those suffering from long COVID.

M.Lourdes Norwick | Research Nurse

I am a Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience in pulmonary and critical care nursing. I am currently the Research Nurse for the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) and cover both asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) trials. I also serve as clinical resource for the BCC, as well as provide education for study participants and clinical patients on inhaler technique.

AndreaPappalardo | Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics

I am an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy at UIC. I received my BA from Washington University in St. Louis, my MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago, completed a combined internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of Chicago, and a fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital. I have been practicing clinical allergy immunology across the lifespan in a variety of settings including: urban, suburban and community practice for over ten years. I am the Medical Director of the Mobile Care Chicago Asthma and Allergy Program, and the Medical Director of CHECK, a care coordination program for Medicaid recipients in Illinois. I am now shifting my career focus to improving healthcare access through implementation-science based healthcare innovation. 

BarbaraPredki | Team Lead, Research Communication Center (RCC)

I am Team Lead for the Research Communication Center (RCC). As the Team Lead at the RCC, I will be focusing on supporting our RCC Agents as well as serving our participants in the best way possible. Currently, our team is focusing on the ACTIV-4 Outpatient Thrombosis Prevention Study. Prior to joining the RCC team, I was Team Lead of Member Services at Interactive Health, Inc. At Interactive Health, my focus was multi-level training, supporting my team, helping the clients and members, and mediator between departments. I established protocols in order to sustain high service levels. I feel very fortunate and excited to be working with the RCC team.

SarahRappe | Clinical Research Coordinator

I graduated in May of 2021 with my Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from University of Illinois Chicago. I started working at Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) as a Research Communications Center agent and have since expanded to a Clinical Research Coordinator role. Prior to joining the BCC team, I worked primary in infectious disease epidemiology. In transitioning to chronic disease research, I value the continued care efforts and passion the BCC team has for study participants at all levels. My goal as a Clinical Research Coordinator is to expand the knowledge of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) development and treatment by assisting in the recruitment of participants, organized data collection and management, and dissemination of participant results to create a larger network of care management to members of our community.

MelissaRutherfoord | Data Scientist

I am a data scientist who joined the Breathe Center Chicago© team in 2021. I have a BFA in design from the University of Arizona, and most recently received my MS in Data Science from Northwestern University with a specialization in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in 2020. I aid in the data management of multiple research studies as well as use data visualization to help gain meaningful insights that tell a clear story.

TinaSchuh | Project Manager

I am a Project Manager with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) and the Population Health Sciences Program. I am excited to be part of such a dynamic team, implementing research that has implications that can improve quality of life and the health care system. I bring over 10 years of public health experience, in both academic research as well as community based work, having led and implemented multiple research projects, both stateside and internationally, on topics ranging from sexual and reproductive health to improving access to care for underserved populations. I am passionate about ensuring that research is conducted in the best interest of the participants and that results are incorporated into a model of care for patients. As a Project Manager, my primary goal is to ensure projects are moved forward expeditiously and in compliance with all protocols. I seek to support Coordinators, stakeholders and patients in the research studies we lead.

JennySculley | Senior Design Strategist

As the Senior Design Strategist for the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC), I am responsible for ensuring that our current and future work is human-centered. That means making sure that we design a positive, seamless experience for our patients, staff and other stakeholders. I joined BCC in June 2015 after getting my Master’s of Design from the IIT Institute of Design, which teaches methods for creating human-centered solutions to complex, ambiguous challenges. I have also worked on a multi-disciplinary team with community members to transform vacant lots into public parks on the west side of Chicago. I am very excited to combine design and stakeholder engagement in support of the BCC’s mission of promoting healthier communities.