Clinical Research Unit (CRU) in Amarillo | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
TTUHSC students walking through Lubbock campus courtyard.
Clinical Research Unit (CRU) in Amarillo

The Clinical Research Unit (CRU) facilitates the clinical research of TTUHSC investigators on the Amarillo campus by providing numerous services such as design support, IRB assistance, committee assistance, biostatistics, skilled nursing assistance, clinical space/exam rooms, and guidance with grant and publication submissions.

The CRU strives to help investigators as much as possible, to increase the likelihood that projects will be quickly approved by the IRB and that studies will be publishable in peer-reviewed journals. Faculty members interested in increasing their overall publications and becoming more competitive during reviews for tenure or promotion are highly encouraged to take advantage of the CRU.  The CRU also provides assistance to students and residents interested in research.

Headshot of Dr. Robert Kauffman

Dr. Robert Kauffman, M.D.
School of Medicine
Assistant Dean of Research Education, Professor

Headshot of Dr. Tetyana Vasylyeva

Dr. Tetyana Vasylyeva, M.D., Ph.D.
School of Medicine
Assistant Dean of Research Operations, Professor

Headshot of Elizabeth Tilley

Elizabeth Tilley, Ph.D.
School of Medicine
Director of Clinical Research Unit

Headshot of Karen Thompson

Karen Thompson, MBA
School of Medicine
Business Coordinator of Clinical Research Unit

Research Highlights:


InfantRisk Center:

The InfantRisk Center is currently recruiting for several research projects! For more information on the studies below, go to

Milk repository study: investigates the transfer of selected drugs from mothers into their mother's milk. Some of the drugs being reviewed are: Atomoxetine (Strattera), Brexpiprazole (Rexulti), Brivaracetam (Briviact), Buspirone (Buspar), Cariprazine (Vraylar), Domperidone (Motilium) 120+ mg/day, Guanfacine (Intuniv), Ketamine, Lacosamide (Vimpat), Lisinopril, Lurasidone (Latuda), Promethazine (Phenergan)

Changes in breastmilk color survey: The InfantRisk Center is #researching #breastmilk color changes: what do you think causes it? Did it affect #breastfeeding? Pay it forward to future moms and their clinicians through this survey.

BMS01 Clinical Trial with Duke Univeristy: The purpose of this study is to understand if certain drugs of interest are found in breastmilk and how much; to estimate the amount of drug that is consumed by breastfed infants and what effect this may have on infants; and to share what we learn with other researchers. The study drugs of interest have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, but there is little or no information about the amount of drug found in the breastmilk of mothers who take them; the amount of drug that may be transferred to their infant's through breastmilk; or the effects this transfer may have on their infants. During this study we will ask to collect breastmilk and blood from mothers, and blood from infants, to measure the amount of study drug of interest in these body fluids. Results from this study will help researchers better understand how much of the study drug of interest is in blood and breastmilk, and how much of the study drug of interest may be in the infant's blood because of breastfeeding.

Maternal and Child Health Research Lab:

The Maternal and Child Health Research Lab has several research projects currently in progress, including the Maternal Well-Being Study and the VIBRANT MOMS study. 

Maternal Well-Being: The goal of this study is to explore the ways that mothers' access to proper nutrition and social support can be enhanced using advances in health technology and healthcare delivery.  To be eligible, participants must be able to speak English or Spanish, are between 28-36 weeks pregnancy, 18 years or older, and screen positively for food insecurity or qualify for Medicaid, WIC, SNAP, or TANF.  The project has reached enrollment target and is currently in final intervention and analysis phase. Dr. Skye McLaurin-Jiang, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, and Dr. Christine Garner, PhD, RD, CLC, Assistant VP of Research, Amarillo and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and InfantRisk Center, have initiated the Maternal Well-Being Project, which is generously sponsored by The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation, Amarillo Area Foundation, United Way, Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, and the Department of Pediatrics, TTUHSC.  

VIBRANT MOMS: This study focuses on preeclampsia in women in the Texas Panhandle.  Goals of this project include identifying maternal health needs, identifying barriers and facilitators to implementation and uptake of interventions, and development of implementation strategies for evidence-based interventions in counties with high health disparities and/or low or no access to maternity care services.  This study is funded through an agreement with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute awarded to Westat, Inc. 

Dr. Vasylyeva Translational and Clinical Research Lab for Rare Diseases and Gene Hub:

In the dynamic world of medical research, Dr. Vasylyeva laboratory leads the charge in discovering cures for rare and common genetic diseases of kidney like Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome, Minimal Change Disease, and Fabry Disease. Her lab deepens into cellular processes, using cutting-edge techniques to unlock molecular secrets and design targeted therapies. Beyond the lab, she fights for better access to healthcare for those affected by these lesser-known conditions. Dr. Vasylyeva's lab not only expands scientific knowledge but directly improves lives through rapid diagnosis and innovative treatments. In addition, her team’s relentless quest unravels the enigmas of rare genetic disorders, paving the way for a brighter future for many individuals battling such devastating conditions.

Recent Publications



Recent Grant Awards 


Professor Tetyana L. Vasylyeva, MD, Ph.D., received a prestigious PCORI grant. Working with colleague Dr. Alisa Khan, MD, MPH from Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Tetyana Vasylyeva has received a subcontract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for $438,756.  The project entitled “Comparing Three Approaches to Communication with Hospitalized Children and Families with Limited English Proficiency” will be implemented in Amarillo, Texas.  The goal of the project is to compare different translation approaches with families of patients in clinical care at the hospitals in West Texas to see how these approaches reduce the likelihood of adverse events in this vulnerable patient population.  

Dr. Olu Adesanya, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, received $15,000 from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as another $10,000 for the Health Disparities Research Program to initiate her projects entitled "Pediatric residency curriculum training for screening and addressing Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) for our pediatric population to improve health equity outcomes" and "Addressing Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in the Pediatric outpatient setting at Texas Tech in Amarillo, Texas." These projects will help to understand how to break down barriers to healthcare access for West Texas pediatric patients and train our next generation of residents in this area to meet the needs of vulnerable patients. 

Dr. Stephen Usala, MD, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, received $10,000 from the TTUHSC Covid-19 Center of Excellence to develop a vertical flow assay (VFA) for fingerstick measurement of human inhibins.  This has many translational applications in human medicine including the study of male gonadal dysfunction that occurs with Covid-19 infections. Dr. Usala is working with Harvinder Gill, Ph.D., Teresa Baker, MD, and Tarek Naguib, MD, to develop this project.  Drs. Gill and Usala received an additional award of $10,000 through the Innovation HUB at Research Park, TTU and TTUHSC President's Innovative Start-up Award to help initiate this exciting project! The Innovative Start-up award will help their company, VerisBiomarkers, in developing a device and method for accurate determination of the time of ovulatory cycle in females and assess fertility status in males. Based on a vertical flow assay (VFA) technology, this product is a collaborative project between Texas Tech and TTUHSC-Amarillo.