Indiana CTSI Navigators

Indiana CTSI Navigators2020-10-09T16:54:55-04:00

Need help finding the right resources?

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 six Indiana CTSI Navigators can assist their investigators by connecting them to the appropriate technological, financial or collaborative resources across the CTSI network.

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 Garcia

Kara 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

Indiana University School of Medicine / IUPUI @ Indianapolis Navigator

Lane Coffee

Lane Coffee, PhD, MS is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, IUPUI Research Navigator, and the Program Manager of the Project Development Teams (PDTs) and Science Communication Studio which are part of the Translational Research Development Program at the Indiana CTSI.

In the Department of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Coffee serves as a resource for trainee- and faculty-related research endeavors including project/study development as well as protocol and grant development and writing. Within the CTSI, he serves as the IUPUI campus research navigator, connecting investigators to resources and services across the state. He is also responsible for managing research portfolios of investigators utilizing the PDTs as well as direct oversight and management of the Science Communication Studio which supports scientific communication skills development and advice using one-on-one meetings, peer review facilitation, and workshops in order to position investigators to be better equipped to communicate with the public and submit more effective grants and manuscripts. He also leads a newly formed grant writing workshop that is available to investigators for assistance with all aspects of grantsmanship.

With a background in neuroscience and chemistry, Coffee received a PhD in neuroscience (studying Fragile X Syndrome) from Vanderbilt University, an MS in chemistry (studying aminoglycoside interactions with DNA and RNA triple helices) from Clemson University, and completed post-doctoral training at Northwestern University and at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Coffee can be contacted by phone (317) 278-2150 or by 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

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

University of Notre Dame Navigator

Melanie DeFordMelanie E. DeFord, MS is the Assistant Vice President for Research at Notre Dame and leads operational efforts for the centers, institutes, strategic research initiatives, and core facilities under the purview of Notre Dame Research. She implements and reviews management control systems, provides structure, and drives work processes for these entities. Melanie joined the University in 1988 and served as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and as the Assistant Director of the W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research. She served as the Director of Operations, the Strategic Research Programs Director, and a Director of Grants Program Management in Notre Dame Research. Melanie has a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Wright State University and a Master of Science in Administration from the University of Notre Dame. Melanie’s involvement with the Indiana CTSI is long standing and extensive. She has served as the core liaison since Notre Dame joined the partnership in late 2008. Currently, Melanie is the Deputy Director, Navigator, and Core Liaison for the Notre Dame campus and can be contacted by phone (574) 631-8805 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

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