Indiana CTSI Navigators

Indiana CTSI Navigators2024-07-01T08:08:19-04:00

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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 the Indiana CTSI Director of Scientific Strategy & Relations and the 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

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

Notre Dame Navigator, Prakash NallathambyPrakash Nallathamby, B.Tech, PhD, is the Associate Director of Research and Assistant Professor of Practice at The Notre Dame Berthiaume Institute for Precision Health (BIPH). Prakash is a nanoparticle engineer with more than 12 years of multidisciplinary expertise in synthesizing nanomaterials, biomedical imaging, cancer biology, antimicrobial resistance, nanotoxicology, and targeted therapeutics/ diagnostics. The driving force behind his research is to make nanoparticle-based technologies accessible to all research groups. He uses his unique interdisciplinary research experience with nanoscale materials to elucidate inter-cell trafficking and defense mechanisms of abnormal cells (e.g., cancer, MDR bacteria) to exploit this knowledge for early detection and targeted therapies. He has complementary research interests in nanotoxicology and scaling up the synthesis of nanomaterials from lab scale to pilot scale with a niche focus on anisotropic and Janus nanoparticles. He has tertiary interests in applying plasmonic nanomaterials in metamaterials, sensors, and catalysis. He has won multiple awards as a consultant for Wazoku (a crowd-sourced initiative by former Eli Lilly scientists). He is a successful applicant for research grants in an academic setting. As part of his research, he has published more than 34 peer-reviewed journal articles, been cited more than 2790 times (h-index 22, 1-10 index 32), co-authored one book chapter, and filed four patent applications. His combined work experience in industry, academics, and as a consultant gives him a diverse viewpoint. It has also instilled in him a strong belief that for the maximum societal impact, we must strive to translate science from the lab to tangible, real-world solutions. His goal is to shepherd as many impactful technologies as possible through CTSI to impact the target population positively. He can be reached by phone at 574-631-5735 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

Tammy SajdykTammy J. Sajdyk, PhD, MS 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 PhD in Medical Neurobiology from Indiana University School of Medicine, and then an MS in Clinical Research. She can be reached by phone at (317) 278-7488 or email

Indiana University Indianapolis / IUI

Silvia M. Bigatti, Ph.D.Silvia Bigatti, PhD, graduated from the Joint Program in Clinical Psychology between University of California San Diego and San Diego State University. Her degree is in Clinical Psychology with a Behavioral Medicine specialization. Her area of research expertise is psychological stress. Over the years she’s completed exploratory and experimental research examining a variety of stressors, including among college students, in chronically ill patients, and in work settings. In her current work she examines the stress of social determinants of health resulting in health disparities, and their effect on the health of patients. She uses a Community Based Participatory Research framework.

She has served as IUI Liaison for the CTSI Community Health Partnerships Program since 2016 and Navigator for the CTSI beginning in 2024. She is leading the IUI Community-Engaged Research to Impact Health Equity Consortium. In 2018, she co-founded the Latinx Community University Research Coalition of Indiana. In all these roles, she works to connect researchers with community partners and to create transdisciplinary teams to advance translational research. Dr Bigatti can be reached by phone at 317-274-6754 or by email at

Regenstrief Institute

portrait of Jennifer Gatz, PhD

Jennifer Gatz, PhD is the Director of the Regenstrief Institute Data Core. Jennifer has over 15 years’ experience in health outcomes research, in both industry and academic settings. She has been with Regenstrief since 2012, and has a managed or led dozens of research projects using the Institute’s data resources. Jennifer can be reached at (317) 274-9090 or

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