Clinical Trials at HCI

Clinical Trials

The key to finding new and better treatments for cancer lies in research. The Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) Clinical Trials Office (CTO) continually develops new approaches to help cancer patients live longer and better lives. Patient participation in clinical trials is an essential factor in this process.

All cancer treatments used today began with research that became clinical trials. Clinical trials test treatments for safety and effectiveness in patients, playing an important role in advancing cancer research from the laboratory to the development of new cancer treatments. Learn more about clinical trials by selecting a topic below.

What are Clinical Trials Types and phases of clinical trials Participating in a clinical trial at HCI Find Clinical trials at HCI


The Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) Clinical Trials Office (CTO) centrally administers the implementation and conduct of internally and externally funded adult oncology studies. It works collaboratively with the Primary Children’s Medical Center Pediatric Trials Office, which is also located on the University of Utah (U of U) campus, on studies of cancers involving children. The CTO has a large portfolio of cancer-related studies, including research focused on treatment, behavior, prevention, imaging, diagnostics, genetics, and supportive care. All adult clinical research activities in oncology are managed under this single reporting structure thus ensuring uniformity and consistency.


  • Streamline study activation; promote completion of meritorious studies
  • Assure study integrity and patient safety
  • Increase accrual by expanding to a larger research network


The HCI CTO is a centralized office composed of well-trained clinical management, data management, regulatory, and financial staff members who promote uniformity and consistency in clinical research by providing support for principal investigators and patients. CTO staff have regular assignments with HCI’s Multidisciplinary Disease Groups (MDGs), allowing them to build expertise in a particular area of oncology.


  • Senior Director of Clinical Research: Sunil Sharma, MD
  • Medical Director: Theresa L. Werner, MD
  • Director of Operations: Jessica Moehle, CCRP
  • Physician Leaders (Phase 1, GI, Sarcoma): Sunil Sharma, MD & Ignacio Garrido-Laguna, MD, PhD
  • Phase 1 Scientific Leader: David Stenehjem, PharmD, BCOP
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Phase 1, GI, Sarcoma): Susan Sharry
  • Physician Leaders (Hematology): Tibor Kovacsovics, MD, Deborah Stephens, DO
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Hematology): Lindsay Carpenter, MS, CCRC
  • Physician Leaders (Breast, GYN, Neuro, Radiation Oncology): David Gaffney, MD, PhD, & Adam Cohen, MD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Breast, Gyn, Neuro, Radiation Oncology): Kelli Thorne, MPH, CCRP
  • Physician Leader (GU): Neeraj Agarwal, MD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (GU): Sally Fairbairn, CCRP
  • Physician Leaders (Melanoma, Head and Neck, Thoracic): Robert Andtbacka, MD, Kenneth Grossmann MD, PhD, Wallace Akerley, MD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Melanoma, Head and Neck, Thoracic): Leanne Lujan, CCRP
  • NCTN Program Administrator: Gayatri Nachaegari, CCRP
  • Administration Operations Manager: Shayla DeGooyer
  • Finance Operations Manager: Anita Bowler, CCRP
  • Laboratory Operations Manager: Cristy Johnston
  • Regulatory Operations Manager: Lindsey Byrd, CCRP
  • Sr. Business Systems Manager: Curt Hampton, MBA
  • Training and Mentorship Manager: Rachel Kingsford, MS, CCRP
  • Director of Research Compliance: Jennifer Katz, BS, CCRP

In the event a researcher intends to provide information or materials (Materials) restricted under applicable export control law or regulations ( to the Huntsman Cancer Institute Clinical Trial Office (CTO) for processing, the researcher must first notify the CTO of its intention to provide Material at least 7 days in advance of actually providing Material, and indicate to whom the Material is being provided, along with specific reference to the applicable regulatory sections. The CTO will then determine whether it will accept such Material or decline. In addition, researcher access to CTO services is subject to compliance with all U.S. export control and Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) regulations.