General Clinical Research Unit (GCRU)

General Clinical Research Unit

Services for Investigators


Inpatient Facilities

Outpatient Facilities

Dental Clinical Research Outpatient Facility

Specialized Equipment

Fee Structure and Discount



Clinical Research Resources Advisory Committee (CRRAC)

The General Clinical Research Unit (GCRU) provides resources to faculty at the Boston University Medical Center, including a controlled and optimal setting for clinical investigators, career development programs, and training for health professionals. It is part of a national network of 60 centers that offer an infrastructure and clinical investigation resources.

BU CTSI offers resources to investigators in medicine and dentistry funded by NIH, as well as those conducting innovative clinical research pilot studies before requesting funding. The GCRU also assists projects funded in whole or in part by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Experienced professionals help by facilitating the day-to-day research activities for physicians, trainees and subjects. The GCRU boasts a highly trained research staff of 9 people who support inpatient and outpatient, adult and pediatric, medical and dental studies that discover the cause, progression, prevention, control and cure of human diseases. For specifics on services available, please contact Mary Aldrich at

The Place for Bench to Bedside Research

The GCRU has been continuously funded for more than 40 years. Research subject participate in over 50 protocols. At Boston University Medical School, the GCRU is the operational entity and place for NIH-funded clinical researchers to conduct bench to bedside research.

For more information about the GCRU,  please contact Helia Morris, MSM at or call 617-638-4542.

Services for Investigators  TOP

The GCRU offers research services, specialized laboratories and a clinical research training program for Boston University staff, including investigators in basic sciences, medicine, surgery, psychiatry, behavioral sciences, dentistry and public health.

The administrative staff communicates with the institution and NIH on behalf of investigators, with the goal of creating a smooth, cooperative venture.

Investigators obtain:

  • The ability to conduct pharmacokinetic studies in a controlled environment with both adult and pediatric inpatients and outpatients
  • Resources for timed collection of specimens and repetitive tests (e.g. polysomnography, stress tests, bone density, etc.)
  • A private environment to explore patterns of behavior
  • A primary location for the education of future physicians, scientists and nutritionists in patient-oriented research

Nursing  TOP

Nurses at the General Clinical Research Unit (GCRU) are trained to make complex research observations and take precise specimen collections. These skilled clinicians are able to participate in groundbreaking research, while ensuring patients receive compassionate, quality patient care. Our team also includes a certified medical assistant to assist in research methodologies.

With an average of 15 years of experience, our nurses are skilled in:

  • Inserting intravenous lines
  • Research methodologies
  • Performing pharmacokinetic drug studies

We assign nurses exclusively to the CGRU, and make sure a laboratory technician and medical assistant are available to collect and process blood and urine specimens for analysis. Our ongoing studies currently vary in research area, and range from AIDS to vasculitis.

Inpatient Facilities  TOP

The General Clinical Research Unit (GCRU) inpatient facility is located at the East Newton Pavilion at Boston Medical Center. Highly skilled research nurses provide a controlled environment for patients enrolled in inpatient research protocols. Our research nurses also work closely with hospital nursing staff to ensure around-the-clock support for patients.

Outpatient Facilities  TOP

The medical clinical research outpatient facility is located on the 8th floor of the Evans Building at 88 East Newton Street, Boston, MA. Its hotel-like environment is an ideal venue for research subjects and occupies 10,000 square feet.

The outpatient facility offers a variety of amenities and equipment, including:

  • waiting room
  • children’s play area
  • nursing station
  • outpatient rooms with beds
  • kitchen and dining area
  • private interview and consultation rooms
  • exam rooms
  • specimen lab and core research lab
  • nutrition offices
  • conference room and offices
  • tanning bed
  • bone densitometry with fat distribution analysis
  • indirect calorimeter
  • video taping laboratories
  • treadmill

Dental Clinical Research Outpatient Facility  TOP

The dental clinical research outpatient facility is located on the 1st floor of the dental school at 100 East Newton Street, Boston, MA. The facility occupies 1,000 square feet and serves faculty in the dental school. The dental clinical research unit offers services that support multidisciplinary and long-term clinical studies and product trials. This state-of-the-art facility provides researchers with a centralized, controlled testing environment for oral health-related investigations.

Every dental unit offers:

  • four fully-equipped dedicated dental  units
  • a centralized database
  • a ten-chair conference room with audio-visual equipment
  • a patient reception area
  • timers and large patient mirrors
  • ultrasonic systems (25, 000 mh/sec)
  • high and low-speed hand pieces
  • curling lights
  • foot and touch-pad control

 Specialized Equipment  TOP

  • An exercise treadmill
  • A tanning bed that emits ultraviolet radiation and simulated sunlight
  • A video taping laboratory
  • An indirect calorimeter
  • An x-ray bone densitometer with fat distribution analysis

We may also purchase new equipment, if studies have the need. This allows investigators who are interested in a broad range of patient-oriented research to use the GCRU.

The GCRU also offers the following major facilities:

Bone density facility: A new bone density instrument the Hologic QDR 4500W was purchased in 2000. It is capable of doing bone densitometry, as well as fat distribution analysis in adults, children and infants.

Observation and video taping laboratories. Specialized areas are available for recording developmental behavior of children and adults.

Fee Structure and Discount  TOP

Effective June 1, 2010, there will be a charge of $15 for each completed visit to the medical and dental units. An invoice will be generated quarterly for review and payment within 10 business days.  Users may ask for a discount or payment exemption by providing a brief written justification which will be reviewed by the Chair of the Clinical Research Resources Advisory Committee (CRRAC) and the Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute or their designees. In general, these will be considered for financial hardship, trainees and unfunded or pilot type research. Other justifications may be considered. Industry-Sponsored studies will not be discounted. For industry-sponsored studies, the fee will be in addition to the existing fee structure of $52.50 per hour for nursing services.

Scheduling  TOP

The BUCTSI scheduling system allows project coordinators to request appointments for participants in studies that use the CTSI General Clinical Research Unit.

Principal investigators must approve coordinators who enter the system and give them permission for studies that schedule participants. Coordinators can request appointments beginning one week after the current date. Earlier dates must be scheduled directly with a CTSI scheduler or nurse manager by phone.

Visit the CTSI scheduling system website. You will be prompted for your BU Kerberos username and password.

For more information please contact Lynn Sawyer, Administrative Coordinator, at

 Click here for the GCRU Application.

Locations/Contacts  TOP

Boston’s historic South is home to the General Clinical Research Unit (GCRU) at Boston University Medical Center. The GCRU occupies a four-block area in the neighborhood and over 13,000 square feet of space among its affiliated institutions.

Medical Research UnitMary Aldrich, RN
Boston Medical Center
88 East Newton Street, E8
Boston, MA 02118
phone: 617-414-1960
fax: 617-474-1969

Dental Research Unit

Maria A. Kukuruzinska, Ph.D
Professor, Molecular and Cell Biology
Goldman School of Dental Medicine
Associate Dean of Research
Office of The Associate Dean
Evans 428; X-Bldg, Room 343F
Boston, MA 02118
Phone: 617-638-4859


Howard Cabral, PhD, MPH
Department of Biostatistics, BUSPH
Crosstown Center
801 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
phone: 617-638-5010
fax: 617-638-5066

Data Management

Christine Chaisson, MPH
Data Coordinating Center, BUSPH
Crosstown Center
801 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
phone: 617-638-5009
fax: 617-638-5066

GCRU Administration

Administration Location

Evans Building, 7th Floor
72 East Concord Street
fax: 617-638-8890
hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Helia Morris, MSM
Executive Director
phone: 617-638-4542

Lynn Sawyer
Administrative Coordinator
phone: 617-638-4539


Clinical Research Resources Advisory Committee  TOP

Clinical Research Resources Advisory Committee (CRRAC) determines what clinical research resources are offered by the Boston University Clinical and Translational Science Institute (BU CTSI). The committee also reviews, prioritizes and approves studies that request use of BU CTSI resources.

These resources might include:

  • Use of clinical research units. The Division of Clinical Research Resources offers a centralized medical clinical research outpatient unit, a dental clinical research unit and a clinical research unit at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories.
  • Consultations and other services. The division offers study design and biostatistics consultations, regulatory and ethics consultations, recruitment services and support for clinical research done outside clinical research units.

The CRRAC can approve proposals and allocate research resources. The committee also reports to and receives input from the BU CTSI Advisory Committee and BU CTSI Executive Committee.

CRRAC Membership

Richard Saitz, Chair
Mary Aldrich
Tracy Battaglia
Shalender Bhasin
Peter Burke
Howard Cabral
Christine Chaisson
Domenic Ciraulo
Timothy Cooley
Thomas Van Dyke
Daniel Gottlieb
Cheryl Hewitt
Michael Holick
Mark Klempner
Peter Merkel
Thomas Moore
George O’Connor
Anne Piette
Mary-Tara Roth
Rebecca Silliman
Paul Skolnik


Lynn Sawyer
Helia Morris, MSM