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

About The Clinical Trials Office


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.

Departmental Goals

  • 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: David K. Gaffney, MD, PhD
  • Medical Director: Theresa L. Werner, MD
  • Director of Operations: Jessica Moehle, CCRP
  • Associate Director of Operations: Leanne Lujan, CCRP
  • Physician Leader (Breast, Gyn): Norah Lynn Henry, MD, PhD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Breast, Gyn): Janna Espinosa, CCRP
  • Physician Leader (GU): Neeraj Agarwal, MD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (GU): Sally Fairbairn, CCRP
  • Physician Leaders (Hematology): Tibor Kovacsovics, MD & Deborah M. Stephens, DO
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Hematology): Lindsay Carpenter, MS, CCRC
  • Physician Leaders (Melanoma, Thoracic): Robert Hans Ingemar Andtbacka, MD, CM, & Wallace L. Akerley, MD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Melanoma, Thoracic): Leanne Lujan, CCRP
  • Physician Leaders (Neuro, Radiation Oncology, Head and Neck): Adam L. Cohen, MD & Ying J. Hitchcock, MD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Neuro, Radiation Oncology, Head and Neck): Karthik Sonty, CCRP
  • Physician Leaders (Phase 1, GI, Sarcoma): Ignacio Garrido-Laguna, MD, PhD Jonathan Whisenant, MD
  • Clinical Research Program Manager (Phase 1, GI, Sarcoma): Susan Sharry, 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
  • Business Systems Manager: Curt Hampton, MBA
  • Training and Mentorship Manager: Rachel Kingsford, MS, CCRP
  • Associate Director of Research Compliance: Kelli Thorne, MPH, CCRP