Indiana CTSI Navigators

Indiana CTSI Navigators2022-05-26T09:18:17-04:00

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As a statewide partnership between the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University and Indiana University, the Indiana CTSI provides access to valuable research expertise, financial support and infrastructure such as lab equipment and technology

The Indiana CTSI Navigators serve as ambassadors (connectors) to these research assets at their institution.  They connect investigators to Indiana CTSI resources and services across all campuses, including potential collaborators.  In addition, they actively promote the use of the Indiana CTSI infrastructure for clinical research, to help local investigators navigate the regulatory process, and forge new partnerships between investigators and community healthcare/public health organization, as well as actively promoting engagement in the many funding programs, events, and other opportunities that the Indiana CTSI provides.

Indiana University @ Bloomington Navigator

Joel YbeJoel Ybe, PhD received a BA degree in Biochemistry from Cook College, Rutgers University and a PhD in Biochemistry from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Joel developed his PhD thesis out of his work on the mechanism of protein folding he began as an undergraduate under the mentorship of Professor Peter Kahn. He continued to pursue problems in protein chemistry as a postdoc fellow in the lab of Michael Hecht in the Chemistry Dept. at Princeton University. After completing his work in de novo protein design at Princeton, Joel moved to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as a postdoc/research scientist where he worked on the structural basis of clathrin-mediated endocytosis with Frances Brodsky and Robert Fletterick. Joel and colleagues at UCSF solved an important domain of clathrin to understand the regulation of clathrin self-assembly.

Joel came to IU in 2000 as an assistant professor in the Biology Dept., where he set up a macromolecular X-ray facility in the dept. He later moved to the then new Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry to work on aspects of clathrin structure/function and the molecular basis of Huntington’s disease with R01 funding from NIGMS/NIH and Cure Huntington’s Disease (CHDI) Foundation. His current affiliation is with the School of Public Health and (since 2016) he serves as the IUB Research Navigator and Access Technology Program (ATP) Bloomington Liaison for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). Dr. Ybe can be contacted by phone (812) 856-4882 or by email

Indiana University School of Medicine @ Evansville Navigator

Kara GarciaKara E. Garcia, PhD, MEng is an Assistant Research Professor of Radiology & Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville. She serves as Southwest Indiana’s Navigator for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (Indiana CTSI), connecting researchers at IU School of Medicine-Evansville as well the University of Southern Indiana, University of Evansville, local healthcare organizations and nonprofits. Within the IU School of Medicine, Garcia directs the Scholarly Concentration Program in Quality and Innovation and is developing research support for the Southwest Indiana Residencies in Psychiatry and Internal Medicine.

Garcia received her BS in biomedical engineering from Purdue University, followed by a PhD in biomedical engineering and master’s in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, where she maintains clinical collaborations and holds a courtesy appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor. Her NIH-funded research focuses on early brain development: using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer simulation to understand the biological underpinnings of autism and other developmental disorders.Link to Dr Garcia’s faculty webpage. Dr. Garcia can be contacted by phone (812) 909-7230 or email

Purdue University Navigator

Thomas SorsThomas G. (Tommy) Sors, PhD is Assistant Director of the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease (PI4D) where he helps drive the strategic direction and manage the daily operations of the Institute. Dr. Sors specializes in forming multidisciplinary research teams and helping them translate their research goals. Dr. Sors has been with Indiana CTSI since 2010 serving in several roles including Navigator and in managing the Purdue University component of the Indiana CTSI. During this time, Dr. Sors has established a reputation for connecting investigators from across the region to research resources and collaborators at Purdue University and across the region. Dr. Sors’ leadership in PI4D started in 2016 after serving in the Bindley Bioscience Center first as Center Project Manager and then as Chief Scientific Liaison. Dr. Sors can be contacted by phone at (765) 494-1678 or by email at

Purdue University Navigator

Natasha NikolaidisNatasha Nikolaidis, MS is the Associate Director of Operations in Purdue’s Bindley Bioscience Center, where she is responsible for the day to day operation of the center and management of the research cores. She also acts as the liaison between Bindley and the rest of Purdue’s Life Science community.

Natasha received her B.S. in Biology from Reed College in 1996, and M.S. in Biology from Portland State University in 2004. Her research focused on the interaction of ethanol with the neuroendocrine mechanisms that regulate core temperature. Natasha came to Purdue in 2011, and joined the Bindley Bioscience Center in 2014. Prior to coming to Purdue, she spent six years in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry, developing tools for researchers working in drug discovery and neuroscience. In addition to her work as a Navigator, she sits on the Core Administrators Coordinating Committee for the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities. Natasha can be contacted at 765-494-5997 or by email at

Regenstrief Data Navigator

Anna RobertsAnna Roberts, MIS serves as the CTSI Data Navigator and is the manager of the Regenstrief Data Core (also a CTSI core). Anna obtained her Masters of Information Science from Indiana University. She has worked with healthcare and research data for over nine years, first at Northwestern University (with the Chicago Health IT Regional Extension Center as well as with the eMERGE Network) and presently at the Regenstrief Institute. She and her team extract data and create custom research datasets from electronic health record and health information exchange databases, and have proficiency in data and tools such as i2b2, OMOP, and RedCap. Anna can be contacted by phone (317) 274-9197 or email

Indiana University School of Medicine @ Terre Haute Navigator

Ellen IrelandEllen Ireland, MPH, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine -Terre Haute. She serves as the CTSI Navigator for the west-central portion of the state, connecting organizations such as the Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and community partners such as the Lugar Center for Rural Health and local healthcare providers. Within the IU School of Medicine she is also a director of the Scholarly Concentration in Rural Health.

Ellen obtained a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Iowa with a focus in environmental and occupational health, and earned a PhD in biological anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. Her current research focuses on rural community health and human-environmental interactions. Dr. Ireland can be reached by phone at (812)237-8323 or by email at

University of Notre Dame Navigator

Paul HelquistPaul Helquist, PhD is Professor and Associate Chair for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and is the Notre Dame co-Navigator for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. He received his B.S. degree in chemistry and mathematics at the University of Minnesota. He then earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in organic chemistry at Cornell University followed by postdoctoral research in synthetic organic chemistry at Harvard University with Nobel Laureate E. J. Corey.

Dr. Helquist has been a university faculty member for 47 years. He held a professorship at another university before moving to Notre Dame in 1984. He is a specialist in synthetic organic chemistry and has over 200 publications and patents in the following areas: development of new synthetic methods; design and development of transition metal reagents and catalysts for selective synthetic reactions, including new enantioselective methods; development of new methods for the total synthesis of natural products synthesis and applications to new pharmaceuticals, including antibacterial and antitumor agents and treatments for rare inherited diseases. He has led or has been a member of a number of collaborative teams in these areas of research in the U.S.A., Europe, and Asia. A therapeutic agent from his laboratory has been in an FDA-approved human clinical trial. His research is currently funded by a number of grants from the NIH, NSF, and a private medical research foundation. Dr. Helquist has served as Chair of the Chemistry Board of Examiners for the Graduate Records Examination at the Educational Testing Service, as the Director of the National Science Foundation Workshop for College Teachers of Organic Chemistry, and as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry. Since 1981, he has offered special courses on advanced synthetic organic chemistry on 148 occasions at sites throughout the U.S.A., Canada, and Europe under the auspices of the Continuing Education Department of the American Chemical Society and several other sponsors. He has been Visiting Professor at European universities on several occasions for periods of up to one and one-half years. He has been a participant in I-CTSI programs for the past seven years, including serving as Chair of one of the Project Development Teams before assuming his current role as Co-Navigator for the Notre Dame campus. He can be reached by phone at (574) 631-7822 or by email at

University of Notre Dame Navigator

Navigator BrookshireJessica Brookshire, MSA, CHES joined Notre Dame Research in 2020 to launch the new Office of Clinical Partnerships, a part of the University’s Health and Well-being Initiative. She is responsible for connecting external partners with access to Notre Dame education, research and scholarship activities related to health and well-being. Jessica joined the University in 1995 to develop a Wellness initiative for the Office of Human Resources to improve the health of faculty and staff. Most recently she served as the Director of Community Relations within the Office of Public Affairs leading projects that connect the nonprofit and health communities with the University. Jessica obtained her bachelor’s degree in Public Health at Indiana University and a Master of Science in Administration from the University of Notre Dame. In addition to serving as a navigator, Jessica serves on the Indiana CTSI Community Health Partnerships (CHeP) Advisory Board. Jessica can be reached at (574) 631-5829 or email .

Indiana University School of Medicine @ Indianapolis / IUPUI

Tammy SajdykTammy J. Sajdyk, PhD is Associate Director of the Translational Research Development Program where she is responsible for overseeing the Internal Grants and Project Development Teams. Tammy is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology. Her research interests involve developing neurocognitive interventions for survivors of cancer who experience executive functioning and memory issues from their treatment. In addition to her research, she facilitates the Mind, Body, Medicine elective for medical students and is a member of the steering committee for the new IU Consortium on Integrative Medicine and Health. Dr. Sajdyk has been involved with the Indiana CTSI since its inception in 2008.

Dr. Sajdyk received a BA in Psychology from Indiana University, a MS in Clinical Research and a PhD in Medical Neurobiology from Indiana University School of Medicine. She can be reached by phone at (317) 278-7488 or email

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