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The Metabolic Research Unit (MRU) is a 25,000-square foot facility and is comprised of Volunteer Services, Nursing Services, and Dietary Services.  The MRU’s Volunteer Services Division maintains a database of approximately 50,000 individuals from which they can recruit. In addition, potential study participants are recruited for a variety of population, longitudinal, metabolic, and free-living nutrition studies through use of social media, advertisements, and mailing lists. Research nurses and support staff implement research protocols and continually assess and monitor free-living study participants.  Physician coverage is provided for each protocol to ensure study participant safety and to conduct procedures such as fat and muscle biopsies, and glucose monitoring testing. Registered dietitians and dietary support staff develop and implement the dietary component of research protocols, which includes strict feeding protocols created in the MRU research kitchen with careful food intake monitoring throughout the duration of each study.   All human research studies carried out in the MRU are reviewed and approved by the Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University Health Sciences (TUHS) Institutional Review Board (IRB). These studies and the TUHS IRB are regulated by Federal guidelines established by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration. All MRU staff are required to be certified in human subject research participation and designated staff must complete ongoing mandatory training.

The MRU works collaboratively with investigators by providing the following services:

  • Preparing budgetary costs associated with MRU services
  • Designing and implementing various strategies for recruitment of study volunteers
  • Assessing the health status and appropriateness of participation of study volunteers
  • Monitoring the safety and well-being of enrolled study participants
  • Ensuring IRB compliance with regulations involving the protection of human research participants
  • Carrying out clinical procedures associated with research protocols
  • Designing study-specific diets and ensuring volunteer compliance with diets

Information on Requesting Services
To request Metabolic Research Services, contact Manager, Dr. Cheryl H Gilhooly to schedule a meeting to review the needed support, and your study timeline.

Cheryl H. Gilhooly, Ph.D., MPH, R.D.
Provides administrative and scientific leadership to the Metabolic Research Unit and is responsible for the day to day operations of the unit including its three divisions (Nursing, Volunteer, and Dietary Services).

Nursing Services
Jean McShea, R.N
., Nurse and Nursing Supervisor
Michelle Hallam,
R.N., Staff Nurse
Janice Klian, R.N., Staff Nurse
Carmelle St. Victor, Nursing Aid
Margaret Vilme, R.N., Staff Nurse
Mary Weiss, R.N., Staff Nurse

Dietary Services
Helen Rasmussen, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.D.A., L.D.N.
, Research Dietician and Dietary Services Supervisor
Verona Bembridge, Sr. Nutrition Technician
Chervonte Hernandez-Lam, Nutrition Technician
Wintlett Williams, Nutrition Technician

Volunteer Services
Kimberly Dupiton,
BA, Volunteer Services Supervisor
Megan Miskovsky, Research Volunteers Coordinator
Marlaine Parker, Admissions Coordinator

Ryan Piccirillo, Research Coordinator
Kim Trinh, CPhT,
Senior Research Coordinator
Sierra Thorne, MBA, Administrative Coordinator
Jane McIntyre, Financial Administrator