Research

Research is at our Core

Our College of Nursing is consistently ranked in the top ten for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, and is ranked #4 in total NIH funding over the past 26 years.

Overview

The UIC College of Nursing is one of the nation’s premier institutions for research and discovery.  For more than 20 years, our College has been ranked continuously in the top 10 nationally among colleges of nursing in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  We are aligned with the University of Illinois mission in providing an excellent environment for research and research education.

The CON  is recognized nationally for its outstanding productivity in research and translation of research findings into healthcare practice, with sustained research programs in health promotion and disease prevention; symptom management and quality of life; health disparities and health equity; pregnancy outcomes, infant health/prematurity, and healthy families; and sexual minority health. 

Our college is the home of the well-established the Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research.  In addition to the research services provided by the university at large, the UIC College of Nursing provides research support services through its own Office of Research Facilitation.  This Office provides assistance to faculty and students for their research, including development of grant applications, budgets, and grant submission logistics, as well as statistical support provided by two in-house statisticians.

Office of Research Facilitation

The Office of Research Facilitation (ORF) provides a wide array of services to support faculty and student research endeavors at the pre-award stage.  In addition to providing assistance with proposal development and budget development, ORF facilitates internal approval/sign off of all proposals for external funding.  ORF compiles information regarding submitted and awarded proposals and reports the data to the College on a monthly basis.  ORF also acts as a liaison with funding agencies, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, other colleges/universities, etc.   

With the College Nursing Research Committee, ORF coordinates and sponsors monthly educational sessions related to grantsmanship, as well as the annual Nursing Research Day which showcases the faculty and student research endeavors.  ORF also provides administrative assistance for mock reviews and think tanks for grant proposals.  Post award management is the responsibility of the principal investigator, in coordination with their departments’ business/grant manager on fiscal matters.

 

 

Office Personnel

The Office of Research Facilitation is comprised of the Associate Dean for Research, the Harriet Werley Endowed Chair, the Assistant to the Associate Dean, the Business Administrative Associate, and college-based statisticians (currently two; see Statistical Services section).

Associate Dean for Research

Carol Estwing Ferrans, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor

E-mail: cferrans@uic.edu
Phone: 312.996.8445

Dr. Ferrans provides support for faculty and the research enterprise of the College of Nursing, as the director of the Office of Research Facilitation.  She is a seasoned researcher who has been conducting studies focusing on quality of life and disparities in health care for more than 20 years. This has included the development of culturally specific measures for African Americans, Hispanic Americans and other ethnic groups. She is well-known for developing the Ferrans and Powers Quality of Life Index, which has been translated into 21 languages and has been used throughout the world in more than 200 published studies.  Recently, she developed an instrument to measure cultural beliefs contributing to late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer in African Americans and Hispanic women. Dr. Ferrans conducted her first study of QOL in cancer survivors in 1987, which provided the springboard for her work aimed at understanding and reducing disparities in cancer. Her recent work has examined cancer survivorship issues for African Americans, focusing on the impact on quality of life and barriers to cancer screening, as well as the reasons for delay in seeking diagnosis for suspicious breast symptoms in African American, Hispanic and white women. She also has been a leader in community participatory efforts to identify and remedy barriers to service access contributing to late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer in African Americans and Hispanic women. Dr. Ferrans currently is working to address the barriers to early cancer detection for minority women as one of the leaders of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, which is a city-wide effort that has produced policy change for women throughout Illinois.

Harriet Werley Endowed Chair

TBA

Staff

Susan Littau, MJ, BSN, RN
Assistant to the Associate Dean

E-mail: slittau@uic.edu
Phone: 312.996.3932

Ms Littau received her BSN from Rush University in 1986 and spent the next seven years as a staff nurse at the Rush Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.   Subsequently, she served on several federally and non-federally funded projects in the 1990’s as a Research Specialist and Project Director in the UIC CON Department of Women, Children and Family Health Sciences.  She also worked as a departmental resource in helping faculty submit federal grant applications, IRB applications, progress reports, etc.   She joined ORF in 2001 as a college-based resource, sharing her knowledge and expertise with faculty and students across all departments.   Her Master’s Degree in Jurisprudence (Health Law) was awarded from Loyola University in 1991.  She is a 2005 recipient of the UIC Chancellor’s Merit Award.

Anne Pach
Business Administrative Associate

E-mail: annepach@uic.edu
Phone: 312.996.7826

Ms. Pach holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has extensive accounting, treasury, and human resource experience in the profit and non-profit sectors.  Prior to joining the Office of Research Facilitation in 2011, she spent 3½ years as the Business Manager of the Center on Health Promotion Research for Persons with Disabilities in UIC’s Department of Disability and Human Development.  Her responsibilities included pre- and post-award functions, personnel appointments, and facilities management.  Ms. Pach spent 2 previous years as the Grants/Fiscal Manager in UIC’s College of Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Health Science.

Statistical Services

The ORF statisticians provide faculty consultation on design, methods, power calculations, and analysis.  They frequently serve as co-investigators as well.

Alana Steffen, PhD
Assistant Professor

Email:  steffena@uic.edu
Phone:  312.413.5749

Dr. Steffen has worked for nearly 10 years as a statistician and co-investigator on NIH funded behavioral science research in the areas of physical activity, skin cancer prevention, tobacco prevention/cessation, colorectal cancer screening, and dietary supplement use.  Most of these studies have been randomized intervention trials for which she has been involved in various stages including proposal development and design, measurement selection, data management, analyses, and manuscript preparation.

Statistical Experience:

  • Linear and logistic regression
  • ANOVA
  • Hierarchical modeling for longitudinal and/or clustered data
  • Latent class analysis
  • Factor analysis

Chang Park, PhD
Assistant Professor

Email:  parkcg@uic.edu
Phone:  312.996.7058

Dr. Park has over 20 years of experience as a statistician and has provided support for both faculty and doctoral students on projects related to child obesity, maternal and infant health (especially birth outcomes), diabetes, physical activity, school and community program evaluation, case management program, micro and macro level economic evaluation (workforce and health service).

Statistical Experience/Expertise:

  • Multilevel modeling (using SPSS, Stata, MLwin, R)
  • Longitudinal Data (Panel) Analysis
  • Finite mixture model (latent class model using R, Latent Gold & Mplus)
  • GIS & Spatial statistical modeling (using R, ArcView )
  • Time series analysis (time domain univariate and multivariate time series model) using SPSS, Stata, SAS & R)
  • Structural Equation Modeling using AMOS and R
  • Efficiency & performance analysis using Data Envelopment Analysis and stochastic frontier analysis
  • Secondary data analysis using national data
  • Data mining
  • Cost analysis, cost benefit analysis and econometric program evaluation modeling

Larisa Burke
Research Specialist

Email:  laburke@uic.edu
Phone:  312.996.1982

Ms Burke holds a Masters in Public Health with a Biostatistics major from the University of Illinois at Chicago that includes a concentration in Health Policy Administration. She has several years of professional experience with managing research studies and has been a co-author on several research manuscripts. Ms Burke has extensive experience managing research data in SPSS, SAS, ACCESS, and Excel, including regular database maintenance, data queries, data cleaning, and performing statistical procedures.

Heather Pauls
Research Specialist

Email:  hpauls2@uic.edu
Phone: 312.355.3563

Ms. Pauls has been at the university for over 8 years as a student and staff member. She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a Epidemiology focus from UIC’s School of Public Health as well as an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Sociology. She  comes to the College of Nursing with five plus years of experience as a data manager at UIC’s Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP) where she worked in cancer research in two NIH funded centers. Ms. Pauls has extensive experience managing research data in SAS, REDCap, and ESRI ArcGIS as well as experience in SPSS and Stata. She has designed and developed several REDCap databases and has managed many others. Other strengths include writing/manuscript preparation, data analysis, demography/working with and querying Census and other government data, and managing/analyzing Electronic Medical Record (EMR) data.

Research Facilities & Resources

Behavioral Research Core Laboratory

The Behavioral Research Core Laboratory (4th floor) is overseen by the Associate Dean for Research Facilitation.  It is designed to support behavioral (descriptive and intervention) and survey research.  This facility includes methods technologies for the developing self-report instruments, including automated data scanning (via the TELEform system), direct computer entry programs and automated telephone assessments.  Data management and statistical consultants are also housed in this laboratory.  It has a research participant waiting room, a private, fully stocked physical examination room, a group intervention or focus group meeting room and spaces for research assistant data collection and management and group meeting space. Multiple project directors are housed in this core laboratory to allow for collaboration and consultation among investigators regarding subject recruitment, retention, data collection and management.

Patient Exam Rooms

Currently there is one patient exam room located on the 4th floor.  This private room is equipped with a refrigerator, exam table, phlebotomy equipment, sink, and weight scales.  In addition, there are 2 small waiting rooms, in which patients can complete questionnaires (in small enclosed cubicles). 

Biobehavioral Research Core Laboratory

The Biobehavioral Research Core Laboratory (2nd floor) allows for biological measurement of human function and is currently being overseen by Dr. Mariann Piano.  The Human Performance and Respiratory Function Laboratory (approximately 2,000 sq. ft.) is equipped with state of the art equipment for conducting pulmonary function tests, exercise tests and measures of body composition.  Pulmonary function testing equipment includes multiple spirometers, a body plethysmograph, a diffusion capacity system, a single breath nitrogen washout system, a blood gas analyzer and a co-oximeter.  The laboratory is fully equipped with transducers, signal processing instruments, recorders, custom manufactured instruments and software for measuring respiratory muscle strength and endurance.  Exercise testing equipment includes an electronically braked cycle ergometer, a Quinton Q55 treadmill, multiple pulse oximeters, two 12 lead electrocardiographs, a Paramed automatic blood pressure monitor, and two Sensor Medics metabolic carts.  The laboratory is equipped to measure isokinetic strength with a Cybex 340 isokinetic dynamometer and to measure body composition with Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis system (RJL Systems) and a Hologic QDR 4500 dual energy x-ray absorptiometry instrument. 

Biological Research Core Laboratory

The Biological Research Core Laboratory provides assay support for investigators across studies measuring a variety of serum and tissue-based biomarkers, hormones or other physiologic proteins/ions. A variety of equipment is available for preparing serum and plasma samples. Other equipment available includes a DCA 2000+ Analyzer for determining HbA1c levels, Packard Gamma counter, SpectraMax 190 microtiter plate reader (protein determination) and dedicated Dell computer, 2 Baker cell culture/biosafety hoods, an IEC Centra CL3R centrifuge (refrigerated, medium range, with swinging bucket rotor and carriers [16mm and 13mm]), Fisher Flammable storage refrigerator, Eppendorf multichannel pipette, and Eppendorf 200ul pipette as well as equipment for performing Western Blot and RT-PCR analysis.. The general core facility (approximately 800 sq. ft.) includes a walk-in refrigeration unit, -80 C freezer, gamma counter and ultracentrifuge.

Research Seminars

The Nursing Research Committee and the Office of Research Facilitation sponsor a seminar series for faculty, staff, and students in the Fall and Spring semesters.

The focus of the seminars is topics relevant to the design, implementation, and dissemination of health research. Topics address theoretical and methodological issues encountered by investigators throughout their careers.  Please forward any ideas for seminar topics to Dr. Carol Ferrans [cferrans@uic.edu] or Susan Littau [slittau@uic.edu].

The series is offered as an elective course for graduate students (NURS 585/NUEL 595).  Attendance is required, as are additional weekly class assignments.  Seminars will be posted on Blackboard for regional students. 

If you need disability accommodations to participate in these events, please e-mail Anne Pach [annepach@uic.edu] or call 312-996-7826 or call 312-996-7826 at least one week in advance.

Current Schedule

Date Topic Presenter Location
8/30/16 Brown Bag: Writing Competitive Abstracts – A hands on lab Cathy Ryan, Larie Quinn 12:00–1:30
Room 615
9/8/16 Educational and Research Interventions using Websites and Apps:  If you build it will they come? Karen Dunn Lopez, Vanessa De Sousa, Gabe Culbert 12:00–1:30
Room 139
10/13/16 Innovations in Informed Consent: Strategies for Low Literacy and Community-Based Research    (IRB Continuing Ed credits) Emily Anderson 12:00 –1:30
Room 139
11/10/16 How to Make NIH Reviewers Love Your Grant Application Eileen Collins, Holli DeVon, Shannon Zenk 12:00–1:30
Room 139
1/19/16 Brown Bag: Poster Development Co-sponsored by GSO. Hands-on session. Julie Zerwic, Mark Mershon, Kevin Grandfield 12:00-1:00
Room 615

Research Career Consultations

Career consultations at CON are conducted to provide consultations by senior faculty on junior faculty research career trajectory.  It is highly recommended for all new faculty in professorial ranks.

Format — Each faculty member will present information on:

  • Area of study
  • Relevant prior work/outcomes
    • Publications
    • Grants
  • Future plans and sources of funding

The remaining time will focus on feedback from the consultants and discussion of future plans.

To reserve your consultation session, please e-mail or call Anne Pach at annepach@uic.edu or 312.996.7826.

Think Tanks

Think tanks can be held as a strategic planning session at any stage of research development. They can be held to brainstorm about the directions of a proposal or how to respond to a specific call for proposals. They can be held in stages so that more than one think tank is held, leading to a proposal. It is recommended that novices in grant writing hold think tanks after drafting the introduction and specific aims prior to mock reviews. Think tanks also can be held to review data and develop plans for publications and presentations.

  • Think tanks are 1 hour in length and scheduled in Room 611.
  • Two to three faculty members, generally who are active researchers, will act as a creative team to brainstorm directions or review background and aims or discuss dissemination.
  • Schedule a think tank 2 - 3 months prior to submission if the introduction and aims are drafted.
  • A draft of the introduction and aims should be sent to the reviewers 2-5 days prior to the think tank.
  • As PI, you are encouraged to invite key co-investigators.
  • You are encouraged to use a tape recorder or have an additional note taker available.

Please e-mail or call Anne Pach to reserve your think tank session: annepach@uic.edu, 312-996-7826.

Mock Review

Mock reviews are designed to put a grant proposal through a process that represents the actual review process at a funding agency, most particularly the NIH. The purpose is to identify areas for strengthening the aims, background, and methods, and packaging the proposal to be successful/competitive at the outside review. The author(s) should not think of it as a defense of a proposal but rather an intellectual interchange to strengthen it scientifically.

  • Mock reviews are 2 hours in length and scheduled in Room 611.
  • Two to three faculty members, who have experience participating on NIH review panels, become the reviewers for the grant proposal.
  • Schedule the mock review at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to submission.
  • A completed or near completed draft should be emailed to the reviewers 5-7 working days prior to the meeting.
  • As PI, you are encouraged to invite key co-investigators.
  • You are encouraged to use a tape recorder or have an additional note taker available.

Please e-mail or call Anne Pach to reserve your mock review session: annepach@uic.edu, 312-996-7826.

UIC Funding Opportunities

Faculty

The Internal Research Support Program (IRSP) is intended to enhance faculty research capability and the level of external funding of the college and is supported by ICR funds. Requests are to be made for preliminary studies that will enhance proposals for new and continued outside funding.  Applications are accepted from all CON faculty (tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track).  Post-doctoral fellows are not eligible until they have faculty standing as Assistant Professors.  Submissions are reviewed for scientific merit.  Funding decisions are made by the Nursing Research Committee.  Awards are limited to $20,000. Faculty salary support is not an allowable cost.    The application & review criteria can be found on the ORF Blackboard site.  Applications are accepted on September 1, November 1, February 1 and April 1.

 

The UIC Janet A. Deatrick Nursing Research Award provides research support for an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Tenure-track Assistant Professors may self-nominate by submitting a one-page description of their vision of their research trajectory, including innovation and impact, as well as their NIH formatted biosketch.  A short paragraph describing plans to expend the money is required describing what the money will be used for. The award selection will be made by the Nursing Research Committee.  Requests for applications are generally issued via the CON listserv email system and the applications are generally due in early spring.

Campus Research Board (CRB) Pilot grant program supports early career PI research projects in the Basic Life Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Natural Sciences & Engineering and Social Sciences & the Humanities.   This support is intended to help emerging researchers develop preliminary data or other materials necessary for new extramural submissions, or in some cases, to resubmit applications based upon sponsor reviews. CRB grants are intended to support areas of scholarship not targeted by other UIC intramural funding sources.  Awards of up to $20,000 are issued.  Additional information can be found on the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research website, under internal funding opportunities. http://research.uic.edu/funding/internal-seed-funding

Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) serves as the intellectual and geographic home for clinical and translational research at UIC.  The CCTS is a focal point for developing and nurturing interdisciplinary collaborations that will help to advance the university’s clinical and translational research enterprise. Cancer Center.  CCTS offers several funding opportunities, detailed on their website.  http://www.ccts.uic.edu/content/ccts-pilot-grant-program

Students

The Seth & Denise Rosen Graduate Student Research Award is presented annually to one or more graduate students at the College of Nursing.  This award was established in memory of Seth D. Rosen, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 33. This award honors his spirit of inquiry and dedication to the establishment of knowledge to improve the health of all. Priority areas for funding are research proposals that relate to the improvement of nursing education or to reduction of health disparities. However, proposals in any areas of nursing research are eligible for consideration.   The purpose of the Rosen award is to encourage qualified PhD students in nursing to contribute to the advancement of nursing through research by providing assistance with the direct costs of their PhD degree research.  Budget requests should be between $500-1,000.  Money from the Rosen Award may be combined with other sources of funding. Requests for applications are generally issued via the CON listserv email system in late Fall, with due dates in early Spring semester.   

The College of Nursing PhD Student Research Award is presented annually to one or more PhD students at the College of Nursing.  This award was established by the PhD Alumni Committee at the UIC CON 50th Anniversary celebration and is sustained by contributions from the alumni.  The award supports PhD students by providing financial assistance with the direct costs of their dissertation research.  Budget requests should be between $500-1,000.  Money from the PhD Student Research Award may be combined with other sources of funding.  Requests for applications are generally issued via the CON listserv email system in late Fall, with due dates in early Spring semester.   

STT- Alpha Lambda Research Awards are issued by the UIC Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, on an annual basis for up to $2500.  PI’s must be members of Sigma Theta Tau.  Eligibility ranges from Master’s students to Faculty.   Requests for applications are generally issued via the CON listserv email system in late Fall, with due dates in early Spring semester.