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The CTSU provides its services through the work of four major Cores. The Cores include: Ambulatory Clinical Research Nursing, Metabolism and Nutrition, Laboratory and Specimen Processing and Off-Unit Services (Nursing and Study Coordinator).

Other services affiliated with the CTSU include Inpatient Support, The Bone Health Program and Investigational Pharmacy.

Administration and BillingAdmin

The Administrative Team at the CTSU (5-7541) can help you with following:

  • Process new applications
  • Coordinate protocol review with all disciplines and sciences
  • Provide budgetary support per the Catalyst grant
  • Review and approve ancillary requests for individual protocols
  • Coordinating and scheduling appointments
  • Apply for services via HCCRC Resource Review

Ambulatory Clinical Research NursingAmbulatory

The CTSU nursing staff provides research subjects with care in the inpatient and outpatient CTSU, the CAT/CR, and at the Waltham location. Research nursing support outside of these discrete locations is supported by the off-unit nursing core.


The nurses have a variety of functions with study teams, such as:

  • They collaborate with study team to develop research data collection tools, case-report forms (CRFs) and teaching tools.
  • The nurses develop and edit study order sets to be used when caring for subjects and gathering study data.
  • Help create an education plan for CTSU staff to ensure protocol integrity.
  • Provide ongoing evaluation and monitoring of protocol progress in collaboration with Principal Investigator, study staff, and CTSU clinical staff.
  • Implements protocol education (initial and ongoing); evaluates study participant's understanding to promote study compliance and maintenance.


The nurses assist with collecting samples. The samples are then processed by laboratory staff.


The nurses provide the following functions:

  • They perform nursing assessments for all study volunteers.
  • The nurses design a plan of care that ensures subject safety, maintenance of subject's health state, prompt determination of adverse events, protocol integrity and a plan for self-care and follow-up at completion of visit and protocol.
  • They monitor subjects' physiological and psychological status throughout the study.
  • Administers research medication, observes subject's response using Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards.
  • Active communication with study staff and investigator to evaluate findings and modify plan of care and protocol when necessary.

DXA/pQCT (The Bone Health Program)DXA

The Bone Health Program at Boston Children's Hospital provides comprehensive evaluations of children and adolescents who have or are at risk for low bone density. Two different scans are offered: Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) scans. For more information, contact Kimberley Mitchell, x53789.

Read more about the Bone Health Program

Inpatient support

The Clinical Translational Study Unit on Main 6 East is an 8-bed unit centrally located within the main building of Boston Children's Hospital. The unit is organized to support the management of children participating in clinical research. The CTSU includes a metabolic kitchen and dining room. CTSU nurses are experienced research RN's, CPR certified, proficient with IV insertion and maintenance, and experienced with timely collection and bedside processing of blood, urine, and other research samples.

Investigational pharmacy

Pharmacy services are not a core within the CTSU, but can be used in conjunction with studies utilizing any of the other CTSU services.

Please seek consultation with Rocky Anzaldi, R.Ph., Investigational Pharmacist, when designing research studies involving the use of an investigational agent at Ext. 5-2014 or e-mail.

Laboratory and Specimen ProcessingLaboratory

Research lab technicians and phlebotomists are available to gather and process samples during the hours of operation at the CTSU. Laboratory services offered through the HCCRC include:

Routine Testing (LabCorp): A centralized laboratory for analysis of routine analytes in real time. The Harvard Catalyst grant is able to support the costs of routine laboratory testing on study protocols based on the annual availability of funds. Results will be available within 24-72 hours. If results are needed sooner than this to allow the research to proceed, the investigator may use their hospital lab for analysis. Support for routine laboratory testing is available only to investigators who use the HCCRC site for inpatient, outpatient or off unit patient visits.

*Please note that tests that need to be billed to insurer can only be sent to the local hospital lab.

Harvard Catalyst Central Lab (HCCL): A centralized CLIA-certified Core Laboratory for batched analysis of research samples. The lab tests run at HCCL will be charged to the investigator on a per sample basis to cover kit and reagent costs. Note that if test results are needed "rush" a surcharge may apply.The HCCL is CLIA-certified and is located at Brigham & Women's Hospital.

Metabolism and Nutrition Research

The Metabolism and Nutrition Research Department provides research diets, nutrition assessment, nutrition education, body composition measurements (including bioelectrical impedance analysis), indirect calorimetry, and dietary intake analysis. The Metabolism and Nutrition Research Department is made up of a Nutrition Research Manager/Registered Dietitian and Dietetic Technicians. As the CTSU Nutrition Research Manager, Nicolle Quinn, MS, RD is able to assist in protocol design, grant writing, and implementation; data analysis; participant clinical care; and food service administration.


  • Assistance in writing grant proposals, developing research design, and data analysis
  • Collection and Analysis of nutrient intake data.
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Anthropometric measurements
  • Indirect Calorimetry: A Viasys VMAX 29 indirect calorimetry machine is available for protocol studies
  • Bioelectrical Impedance: An RJL Quantum II Bioelectrical Body Composition Analyzer is available to measure percent body fat
  • Off-site services
  • Designing of House, Therapeutic and Research Diets
  • Therapeutic Diets: Therapeutic diets (diabetic, renal, HTN, etc) may be incorporated into house and/or research diets.
  • Controlled Nutrient Diets: Diets are calculated to meet specific nutrient levels defined by the research protocol. Diets can be controlled for macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat) and/or micronutrients (sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.), glycemic index, or other study specifications.

*Research Diets: We encourage all new investigators to discuss their study requirements with the Nutrition Research Manager to review study design and needs.

Fast-Track Phlebotomy Service

The CTSU is excited to offer phlebotomy services for subjects enrolled in Harvard Catalyst (CTSU) clinical research studies. 

Key Benefits: Improved access to CTSU phlebotomy and laboratory services, decreased costs for investigators, rapid turnaround scheduling and collection of research urine specimens. Requests to consolidate the acquisition of clinical labs with research labs will be accepted. *Please note: all clinical labs must be entered into Power Chart and the need for clinical labs must be communicated during the booking process.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO