Clinical Sciences Core


Babafemi O. Taiwo, MBBS, Northwestern University
Clinical Sciences Core Director

David Pitrak, MD, The University of Chicago
Clinical Sciences Core Co-Director

Ellen Gould Chadwick, MD, Lurie Children’s Hospital
Clinical Sciences Core Co-Director

Internal Advisory Committee

Julian Solway, MD, The University of Chicago
John P. Phair, MD, Northwestern University


Scientific Agenda

The mission of the Clinical Science Core (CSC) is to provide core services, tailored to HIV research, that facilitate and enhance patient-oriented clinical and translational HIV research in the Third Coast CFAR. Contact a research navigator to request services or consultation

Services and Resources

Tissue Procurement and Biological Specimen Repository

The core offers a wide range of services to provide fresh and stored specimens to CFAR members. The CSC works closely with the Center on Halsted and the Lurie Children’s Hospital Specialty Infectious Diseases Laboratory to bank plasma from people newly diagnosed with HIV. Through collaborations with the Gastroenterology Division and the Pathology Core at Northwestern Medicine, the CSC and Viral Pathogenesis Cores provide “snip” biopsies from screening colonoscopies as well as normal marginal tissue from colon resections for cancer or other pathologies. The core also connects CFAR members to existing biological specimens from collaborating NIH-funded projects. See the HIV Cohort Catalog for more information on the participating projects.

Research Design and Protocol Development

The CSC provides critical review of study designs and data analysis plans, as well as expert advice during research implementation, manuscript preparation, and grant applications. Services include:

  • Development of applications for NIH and CFAR funding
  • Identifying laboratory resources, partners, and scientific collaborators
  • Developing clinical research protocols, informed consent documents, and case report forms.

Subject Recruitment

The CSC offers multiple recruitment services for IRB-approved clinical research projects on HIV treatment, prevention, and comorbidities. Contact a CFAR research navigator to request recruitment support at

  • EMR-based recruitment Through collaborations with EMR data warehouses at Northwestern Medicine and University of Chicago Medicine, the CSC has created tools tailored to identify patients who are diagnosed with HIV or at risk
  • Community engagement The CSC partners with community organizations that provide HIV-related health and social services throughout Chicago. Their providers may be interested in learning more about studies open to their patients (e.g. complications related to aging, CVD, or investigational therapies for HIV). CFAR staff can distribute IRB-approved materials, facilitate a seminar/presentation, or work with you to determine other ways of bi-directional engagement.
  • CHAMP participant registry The CFAR’s Behavioral, Social, and Implementation Sciences (BSIS) Core maintains a robust community-based registry of people interested in HIV research. CHAMP includes self-reported health and demographic data (see data dictionary).

Biostatistical Consultation and Data Analysis

The Third Coast CFAR offers a breadth of doctoral and masters level statistical services. Consultation during the application phase is encouraged and may be offered at reduced rates. A budget for these core services may be built into NIH grants. Discuss your needs by reaching out to a CFAR research navigator at Services include:

    • Power analysis
    • Methodology and experimental design
    • Survey construction
    • Traditional statistical modeling (e.g., ANOVA, regression, or survival analysis)
    • Latent variable modeling
    • Network Analysis
    • Geographic information systems and geospatial analysis

Core staff can also connect users to other resources for electronic data capture and data management at both Northwestern or the University of Chicago.

Clinical Data for HIV Research

The CSC has created with data derived from the Electronic Medical Record systems at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Chicago Hospital. The data sets include medical records from thousands of patients and can support research on HIV screening rates, retention in care, management of comorbidities, and additional questions related to HIV care in Chicago. Learn more.

Regulatory Consultation and Navigation

The core supports CFAR members across institutions and disciplines with services to navigate IRB submissions for multi-site projects, request an exemption for translational or data-intensive projects, assist community partner to develop site-specific procedures, and seek approval for work with vulnerable populations. Contact a research navigator as early as the application development phase to determine which services may support your project at