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 | Research Manager

I am a Research Manager with the Breathe Chicago Center© and Population Health Sciences Program and 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 study protocol preparation, start-up, and oversight.  I provide clinical consult for our coordinators, physical examinations and clinical oversight for our participants.  I am passionate about the innovative research we conduct here at the BCC and PHSP, and am dedicated to providing education to our patients to empower them to better manage their condition.

MichaelBradford | Administrative Assistant

I am the Administrative Assistant to Dr. Krishnan. I have been employed at UIC since 2007, first as a coordinator of clinical and research programs at the Institute for Juvenile Research, then as a program coordinator in the Institute for Health Research and Policy for the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. Before coming to UIC I was in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years. I am proud to be part of this dynamic and important research team.

LaurenCastro | Director of Clinical Operations

Having 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.

ValentinPrieto-Centurion | Pulmonary Fellow

I am a Pulmonary Fellow at UIC studying methods to promote physical activity in patients with COPD. I was involved in the writing and development of the PArTNER and PELICAN PCORI-funded projects, and am the Principal Investigator for the miPACE project which aims to test gait patterns and promote activity in patients with COPD. I also see patients recently discharged from the hospital in the Recovering Obstructive Lung Disease (ROLD) Clinic at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

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 | Project Manager

I am a Project Manager with over five years of experience conducting asthma and COPD clinical trials for several large multi-site NIH funded networks. I am an experienced patient educator and am an avid supporter of efforts to engage patients in current research opportunities. I currently serve as Project Manager for the CHICAGO Plan asthma study, a Chicago-wide Emergency Department based study to help prevent frequent asthma exacerbations.

RichardGallardo | Data Manager

I joined Breathe Chicago Center© and Population Health Sciences Program as a data manager in June 2017. My primary role is to analyze and report data for multiple, ongoing research projects. This also includes designing databases, ensuring data quality, and creating data visualizations. I am excited to contribute to such a talented, multi-disciplinary team.

WendyHasse | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator with the Breathe Chicago Center© 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.

JerryKrishnan | Associate Vice Chancellor, Population Health Sciences | 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 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.

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.

JuliaLuo | Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a Clinical Research Coordinator for the PACE study at the Breathe Chicago Center©. I assist in the coordination of the PACE physical activity promotion program for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) exacerbations. I am also a Graduate student pursuing a Masters of Public Health. My background includes 10+  years working with underserved communities burdened from health disparities. It is one of my life-long missions to fight for health equity and advocate for positive change in healthcare.

M.Lourdes Norwick | Research Nurse

I am a Registered Nurse with over 20 years experience in pulmonary are critical care nursing.  I am currently the Research Nurse for the BCC and cover both asthma and 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.

JennySculley | Design Strategist

As the Design Strategist for the Breathe Chicago Center©, 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.

Community Events

BreatheChicago Cente...

Jun 15 2015
The Breathe Chicago Center team attended COPD9 conference to learn more about cutting edge...

Nursesfrom the BCC a...

Apr 29 2015
The Lung Force Expo, put on by the American Lung Association (ALA), was a...

ApostolicChurch of G...

Aug 5 2014
Kerry and Crystal, of the Breathe Chicago Center, attended the annual ACOG event to...