Featured personality: Nancy Needler

Nancy Needler

Research Subject Advocate
Clinical and Translational Science Institutenancy needler

Nancy Needler is the Research Subject Advocate for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. She is an independent resource for study volunteers (subjects), as well as researchers and study coordinators at the University. In her role, she assists investigators with many facets of study management, including the informed consent process and the development of the Data and Safety Monitoring Plan. Needler is also the primary liaison for the ResearchMatch recruitment tool. In the fall of 2011, the University of Rochester CTSI was named the first-quarter recipient of the MatchMaestro Award from ResearchMatch for successfully recruiting more study volunteers than any other institution.


ResearchMatch is a secure, free, web-based matching tool which helps connect researchers and prospective study volunteers. This nationwide, volunteer registry is funded by the National Institutes of Health and managed by Vanderbilt University. Under the Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium collaboration, the University of Rochester is one of 67 institutions utilizing ResearchMatch.

ResearchMatch for Researchers

Researchers are encouraged to register their IRB-approved studies on the ResearchMatch website and then search for volunteers based on their study criteria. Information for investigators using ResearchMatch at the University of Rochester can be found here. Vanderbilt University offers ResearchMatch training sessions for investigators. Needler says she highly recommends taking advantage of the training opportunities to learn tricks and tips for the system. For more information about upcoming training sessions, researchers are encouraged to contact the Research Help Desk..

ResearchMatch for Volunteers

The ResearchMatch registry is open to volunteers of all ages and health conditions in the United States. Individuals are instructed to self-register by filling in their name, contact information, health conditions, and medications on the ResearchMatch website. Registration only takes about five minutes. Personal information is protected until the volunteer agrees to take part in a research study.

When ResearchMatch matches volunteers with study criteria, the system provides an e-mail link to the researcher, who can then send a secure, IRB-approved recruitment message to prospective participants. If a volunteer agrees to be contacted, ResearchMatch provides the researcher with the individual’s contact information. Volunteers always have the option to decline participation.

MatchMaestro Trophy

In order to recognize the institutions which successfully enroll the highest number of research volunteers each quarter,

Dr. James Dolan and Qinghua Li (Study Coordinator)

Vanderbilt University created the MatchMaestro trophy. The University of Rochester CTSI was named the inaugural winner, enrolling 162 study volunteers from September 15, 2011 to December 31, 2011. The trophy was awarded to the University based heavily on the enrollment of Dr. James Dolan and his team in the Department of Public Health Sciences.

“The trophy is here in Rochester now and we don’t want to lose it,” Needler said. “The point is to keep our researchers and volunteers connected, and ResearchMatch is one of the best ways to do it.”



The University’s success in using ResearchMatch is noteworthy:

# Volunteer Enrollments through RM (9/15/11-12/31/11) 162
# Volunteers Listed on RM who Reside within 50 Miles of UR 692
# Volunteers Contacted 8,888
# Volunteers Responding as Interested 2,026
#Active Researchers 40
# Active Studies 11

“It’s not really about the recognition of the trophy, as pretty as she is,” Needler said. “It’s really about having researchers connect with their volunteers in any recruitment process at all…but we like the trophy!”

To read more about the MatchMaestro Award and the University’s success with ResearchMatch, click here.

Click here for a video of Nancy explaining ResearchMatch and the MatchMaestro Award.

Why Should I Register for ResearchMatch?

nancy rm
Nancy Needler

“Moving research forward, whether it’s a drug, device, biologic, or other types of health research, will help the future treatment of medical conditions.” Needler said.

Researchers need study volunteers to determine if the treatments they investigate are successful. Without volunteers, improving our nation’s healthcare would not be possible.

“If you’re looking to see what you can do to improve medical care – to be involved because [research] is a very exciting place to be right now – then this is a very safe way you can connect to researchers.”


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