AboutUs

OurTeam

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 thrilled to be able to work with such a dynamic and forward thinking group.  I am an Advanced Practice Nurse and am responsible for protocol preparation, start-up, and oversight, and 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.

TaylorBreiter | Agent + Graduate Student, Research Communication Center

I am one of the agents working for the Research Communication Center (RCC). I joined the RCC in August 2020 and I am beyond excited to work alongside this incredible team. Additionally, I am a first year Masters in Public Health student at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health. My MPH focus is Epidemiology and Maternal/Child Health. I am passionate about health equity, reproductive justice, and improving healthcare access.

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.

LauraCarerra | Agent, Research Communication Center

I am an agent for the Research Communication Center (RCC). Currently, my team is dedicated to the ACTIV-4 Outpatient Thrombosis Prevention Study. I just started with UIC at the end of August 2020. Prior to joining the RCC team, I was a Member Services Representative at Interactive Health, Inc (IH). My primary focus at IH was to assist members through their health/wellness program. I was also a Web Support Specialist, which included guiding members and staff through our website and troubleshooting web issues. My work has always been concentrated on helping customers by providing support and education. I am very excited and proud to be a part of the UIC team.

LaurenCastro | Director of Clinical Operations

I have been a part of the UIC research community since 2008, I am honored to be a part of the Breathe Chicago Center© and the Population Health Sciences Program. Our programs’ goals to improve the health for those in the UIC surrounding communities and beyond while giving special attention to improving health inequities at all levels is vital in our local and global communities today. I provide oversight for several of our research protocols as well as providing clinical consult as and Advanced Practice Nurse. I’m thrilled to be a part of our team’s cutting edge research and innovation and proud to work among such a dedicated team of professionals.

GabrielleCavaliere | Agent, Research Communication Center

I am an agent with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) and Population Health Sciences Program. I have a background in psychology research and am working towards my Master’s in Bioethics and Health Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Currently, I am working on the ACTIV-4 Outpatient Thrombosis Prevention Study and am a direct point of contact for participants. My goal is to provide a quality research experience and to help improve the lives of people who have been affected by COVID-19. I am grateful to be a member of the BCC team and to get to work with such passionate, dedicated individuals.

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.

Yu-CheChung | Biostatistician

I am a PhD candidate from UIC School of Public Health studying biostatistics. My role at Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) is to apply statistical methodology to several ongoing research projects. Statistical methods include sample size determination, longitudinal data analysis, missing data analysis, and so on. I am happy to be a part of the BCC team and contribute to this talented team.

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.

SharonHasek | Manager, Research Communication Center

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 the ACTIV-4 clinical 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 | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) and Population Health Sciences Program.  As a Clinical Research Coordinator, I have the privilege of working directly with study participants in order to provide them with the best possible clinical research experience. Prior to joining the BCC team, I was trained as a Registered Dietitian at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital and also have previous experience in coordinating clinical trials within a diverse array of therapeutic areas.  As a member of the BCC team it is my goal to contribute to the innovative and important efforts of this interdisciplinary team in order to improve the lives of individuals with lung disease.

SaiIllendula | Data Manager

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.

SueKim | Agent + Graduate Student, Research Communication Center

I graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017 with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I am currently a graduate student at UIC in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program specializing in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care. I am enthused by the opportunity to be associated with and to gain experience in research. I am looking forward to working with such a unique team with many diverse talents joining together, and the invaluable knowledge that I will gain through this journey.

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.

StephanieLaBedz | Pulmonary Fellow

I am a board certified internal medicine physician who is completing fellowship training in pulmonary and critical care medicine. I joined Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) as a T32 post-doctoral research fellow with the goal of developing a career as a physician-scientist. My work focuses on the transition from hospital to home for patients hospitalized for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. In addition to research activities, I also care for patients with diverse respiratory diseases at both the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. It is a privilege to work with such a distinguished and dedicated group of colleagues at the BCC.

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.

MiriamMartinez | Agent, Research Communication Center

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.

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.

BarbaraPredki | Team Lead, Research Communication Center

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 | Agent + Graduate Student, Research Communication Center

My name is Sarah and I am a 2nd year MPH student in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. I received my BA in Public Health here at UIC. My past research experience was with Community Outreach Intervention Projects at a needle exchange clinic on the west side of Chicago, where our team examined emotional dysregulation and social geography among people who inject drugs. My main area of focus is the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in prisons, health surveillance systems and care for people who are incarcerated, and the use of statistical methods to measure the impact of policing on mental and physical health. At present, I am a call agent for the RCC in the ACTIV-4 anti-thrombotics trial.

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.

FranciscoSalas-Razo | Agent + Graduate Student, Research Communication Center

I am a graduate student at the UIC School of Public Health working on my MS in Biostatistics. I will be working at the Research Communications Center (RCC) as an agent, collecting data from participants. I look forward to this experience, and I am excited to get started.

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.

JissellTorres | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Breathe Chicago Center© (BCC) and Population Health Sciences Program. As a coordinator at the BCC, I will be focusing on studies that seek innovative treatments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Prior to joining the BCC team, I was a Clinical Research Assistant for the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where I worked on patient-centered studies for older adults and was the bilingual point of contact for Spanish-speaking participants. My experience in clinical research has emphasized the importance of patient-centered research and strengthened my dedication to improving patient lives. I am excited to work with the BCC team towards the goal of improving the lives of individuals with lung disease.