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About the Clinical Research Center

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Welcome to the Clinical Research Center (CRC)! We provide a research infrastructure for clinical investigators, and we focus on accelerating discoveries to improve better health for individuals through providing:

  • Comprehensive services (ranging from providing advanced medical instruments to clinical science training)
  • An optimal setting for controlled studies by translational and clinical investigators
  • Bi-directional and multidisciplinary interactions among members of research teams involved in clinical and translational research
  • Cost-effective, state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and instruments
  • Environment and resources for developing skills of future clinician-scientists
  • Resources for new technological and therapeutic approaches that can rapidly translate basic knowledge into better understanding, treatment and prevention of human diseases

Major funded areas of research conducted in the ITS-CRC include: protein and lipid metabolism in health, exercise , aging, bed rest, diabetes, andogen treatment, burns, trauma and peripheral vascular disease, metabolism of dietary fatty acids, soy diet effects on breast cancer risk, bone metabolism in women and in subjects experiencing prolonged bed rest, otitis media, porphyrias, cytochrome P450 genotypes, resistance to the HIV virus, diagnosis of material labor, gastrointestinal motility, hepatitis C and drug addiction.

Our Facility

The ITS-CRC provides an environment for conducting complex Phase I-Phase IV clinical trials, including PI-initiated, industry and pharmacokinetic studies.  Our multi-faceted facility features:

CRC Facility

  • Body Composition Imaging
    • iDEXA
    • underwater weighing tank
    • BOD POD
  • Routine and specialized exercise equipment
    • Biodex
  • Specimen Processing
    • In-house biorepository
    • air-controlled rooms equipped with emergency power for -80ºC freezers
  • Mass Spectrometers for the detection of drug metabolites, protein and peptide markers, and other genetic determinants
    • High Resolution, Accurate Mass (HR/AM) Orbitrap technology delivered by Q Exactive orbitrap mass spectrometer to measure drugs and metabolites in serum or other bodily fluids
    • Quanitiative, Multiplex Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM) provided by  a TSQ Vantage triple quadrupole mass spectrometer to measure protein and peptide biomarkers
    • Quantitative Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and multiplex enzyme linked immunoassays for amplifying a targeted DNA region
  • 8,000+ square foot facility
  • 24-hour, multi-service inpatient/outpatient unit
  • 8-bed inpatient unit for clinical research 
  • 4 outpatient rooms
  • 2 negative-pressure rooms suitable for infectious disease research
  • Procedure/observation room
  • Exercise room
  • Sleep laboratory with two sound-proofed bedrooms and wall ports for infusion tubing access
  • Metabolic control unit
  • Research Nursing Staff: Studies conducted in the CRC are facilitated by a team of highly motivated, trained and experienced personnel. The unit is staffed by five research nurses, of whom one is certified as a clinical trials coordinator through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), and three are certified as clinical research professionals through the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA). CRC nursing staff is also certified in CPR, ACLS and Moderate Sedation. 
  • Core Facility: The CRC includes an inpatient unit, an outpatient unit, a core laboratory, a bionutrition unit, special procedure and exercise rooms, imaging resources, a waiting room and administrative offices. We have an extensive array of equipment to measure body composition and physiological function, and our core laboratory specializes in specimen processing and shipping and in performing special assays.
  • Bionutrition Expertise: Because a significant number of protocols require fixed-composition diets, the CRC contains a fully equipped metabolic kitchen and two full-time research dieticians.
  • Review of approved research studies by the IRB for scientific merit

Why Choose Us?

Beyond having the laboratory space, equipment, and instruments to assist you with your clinical research needs, we have highly motivated and trained personnel who can assist with facilitating your study.

CRC Facility 2

  • Nurses who are certified by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and through the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA)
  • Personnel who can assist with quality assurance and quality improvement of your study
  • Bionutritionists with extensive metabolic knowledge
  • Clinical trialists with experience in various clinical emphases

We have also supported hundreds of clinical studies, including:

  • Multi-center clinical trials
  • Complex phase I and phase II clinical trials
  • Pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenetic studies

The ITS-CRC has an active quality assurance and quality improvement plan, based on formal training in the discipline of crew resource management. The ITS-CRC is committed to providing UTMB research staff with the appropriate training and tools to perform their job junctions. We have recently initiated a set of detailed, hands-on practicums to compliment the institutional training on human subject’s research. These practicums are available to all UTMB employees, based on the specific needs of clinical investigators and research teams.

The Core Lab is available for specimen processing and shipping and for performing special assays (e.g., multiplex immunoassays). The Core Lab houses four (4) -80 degree freezers and one (1) -20 freezer for our biorepository. 

We also have bio-specimen management software available, called Open Specimen, which is a bio-banking platform to collect, store, process, annotate and distribute bio-specimens in a cohesive bio-banking database.  OpenSpecimen streamlines management of bio-specimens across collection, consent, QC, request and distribution.  Its user friendly interface is why more than 30+ biobanks have adopted Open Specimen globally.
Over the past year (2017-2018), the ITS-CRC supported 26 federal and industry-funded research protocols (8 multi-centered), including 5 phase I and  II trials, 6 of which entailed pharmacokinetics, and several requiring inpatient admissions for up to 20 days

The CRC-supported research has contributed to significant discovery in: protein and lipid metabolism, exercise, aging, bed rest, diabetes, androgen treatment, burns, anesthesia, trauma and peripheral vascular disease; metabolism of dietary fatty acids; breast cancer; bone metabolism in women and in subjects experiencing prolonged bed rest; otitis media; porphyria; cytochrome P450 genotypes; HIV and AIDS; diagnosis of maternal labor; gastrointestinal motility; hepatitis C; and drug addiction.

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