Research

 The Pediatric Research Unit (PRU) at West Virginia University provides state-of-the art research on issues that have strong relevance for West Virginia children and their families. The goal of the PRU is to improve the health of children and families living in West Virginia and the surrounding Appalachian region through evidence-based teaching and clinical practice. We strive to meet this goal through state-of-the-art research programs in the areas of clinical, community, population, and laboratory research. Much of our research efforts are translational in nature so that information that is learned within the laboratory setting is tested and applied within the clinic setting and larger communities.

 Pediatric research at West Virginia University includes a diverse portfolio of health studies, many being carried out in cooperation with our statewide network of health providers, teachers, parents and community leaders; laboratory research focused on the early factors that lead to diseases later in life; and clinical and translational research efforts aimed at developing and testing new diagnostic tools, medicines and procedures. Each of these types of research is crucial to improving the health of children here and around the world. There are overlaps and connections among the various research projects, and WVU has made it a priority to develop multidisciplinary teams that attack research problems from a variety of perspectives.

The WVU Pediatric Research Unit builds upon a strong history of pediatric research at WVU. About 60% of the faculty members in the Department of Pediatrics are actively engaged in research. The research activities of the faculty have contributed to a sustained increase in external research funding over the past several years.

Mission

The Department of Pediatrics at West Virginia University is committed to conducting state-of-the-art research on issues that have strong relevance for children and their families. Our mission is to improve the health of children and families living in West Virginia and the surrounding Appalachian region through evidence-based teaching, clinical practice, and community engagement.

Pediatric Research Unit Team

Faculty, staff, and trainees sustain a rigorous research agenda within the West Virginia University Department of Pediatrics. Our research team conducts rigorous programs to ensure our patients and their families receive the best possible treatments available. WVU Pediatric research teams can be found in laboratory, clinic, and hospital settings but are also in our schools and local communities. Being present in many settings ensures our commitment to examining the issues that commonly face our children and adolescents extends across bench, clinical, and population health sciences. To date, more than 50% of Pediatric faculty are engaged in research. Sustained roles in research both within the department, and throughout the University, has contributed to a steady increase in external research funding over the past decade.

 The 7-person PRU coordinating team consists of highly experienced coordinators who work closely with investigators to complete the goals and aims of individual research projects. Below is a listing of PRU team members with their contact information and a picture.

A photo of Lesley Cottrell.

Lesley E Cottrell, PhD

West Virginia University
Positions
Director, Center for Excellence in Disabilities (CED)
Professor, Pediatric Departmental Faculty Member, Pediatrics
Co-Principal Investigator, Applied Research Project, WV Prevention Research Center
Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Phone
304-293-2914
A photo of Michelle Shaffer.

Michelle Shaffer, CCRP, RN

West Virginia University
Position
Pediatrics
Phone
304-293-2081
A photo of Tammy Carrington.

Tammy Carrington, CCRC

West Virginia University
Position
Clinical Research Nurse, Pediatrics
Phone
304-581-1749
A photo of Tammy Clark.

Tammy Clark, BSN, CCRC

West Virginia University
Position
Pediatric Research Nurse, Pediatrics
Phone
304-293-5264
A photo of Emily Polak.

Emily S Polak, BA

West Virginia University
Position
Data Entry Clerk, Pediatrics
Phone
304-293-9520
A photo of Lennie Samsell.

Lennie J Samsell

West Virginia University
Position
Research Assistant II, Pediatrics
Phone
304-293-9512

Available Services

PRU is dedicated to provide services, resources and expertise that investigators and researchers need to conduct clinical trials and studies. We offer a wide range of administrative and budgetary services to both clinical investigators and private industry. 

 We strive to translate research into health care advances by:

  • Assess researchers’ needs
  • Guide and connect researchers to available resources
  • Facilitate progress of translational research from conception to implementation
  • Break down barriers to facilitate research

We are adept at helping clinical researchers understand and navigate WVU's clinical trials system. By facilitating processes with protocol, contact and budget approval with:

  1. Institutional Review Board (IRB) - Includes preparation, review, and approval of the protocol and key elements by the Institutional Review Board.
  2. Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) - Includes the contractual and financial aspects of the proposed study ranging from budget preparation and approval. Completion of WVU Research Corporation sponsored Programs Application Approval Sheet. Unrelated business income tax research questionnaire.  Review of sponsor provided contracts.
  3. Regulatory Documents- Includes Statement of Investigator, Financial Disclosure Statement (FDA 1572), Investigators Agreement, CV's, IRB roster, Lab normals, Lab Certification.

Location

The PRU central offices are located on the 4th floor of the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center in rooms 4055 and 4001. Pediatric investigators communicate directly with PRU team members to request PRU services.

Active Clinical Trials

To date, the PRU coordinates more than 45 active clinical trials and 53 clinical research projects. A list of trials is available upon request.

Clinical Trials/Research Professional Development Opportunities

Online courses and webinars are available to pediatric faculty, staff, and students. Webinars cover a variety of issues related to clinical trials and clinical research in general. Previously recorded webinars are also available.

Upcoming SMART IRB webinars are also available.