Participant and Clinical Interactions

  1. What's It All About?
  2. Who is Responsible?
  3. Tell Me More.
  4. How Do I Apply?
Marc Blackman, MDDirector of the DCVA-CRU : Marc Blackman, MD

Associate Chief of Staff for Research & Development, Washington, DC VAMC
Assistant Dean for VA Research and Professor of Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine, GUMC

Dr. Blackman is an active clinician, teacher, researcher and administrator. While at Johns Hopkins, he employed clinical, translational and laboratory-based investigations to evaluate the effects of age-associated alterations in the growth hormone, gonadal and adrenal steroid axes on body composition, and endocrine-metabolic, cardiovascular, immunologic, musculoskeletal, and psychobehavioral functions in healthy and frail older persons. Dr. Blackman served as Chief, Endocrine Section, NCCAM, NIH, from April, 2001, until June, 2007. During this time, he conducted research, and research training, related to the influences of diverse CAM modalities that might allay or attenuate the life “stressors” of musculoskeletal frailty, chronic pain, and cancer, particularly as they affect the elderly, including those who are underserved.

Dr. Blackman joined the Washington DC VAMC as the Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development in June, 2007, where he facilitates and expands the varied clinical, translational and laboratory based research and research training programs within the DC VAMC, and with the VA’s academic partners, and further develops his own research programs. He is a member of numerous medical and scientific societies, and has served as a scientific consultant for various government, academic, industrial, and private organizations, including the National Advisory Committee for Endocrinology and Aging in the NIA’s Biology of Aging Program, and the Executive Committee of the GCRC’s National Program Directors Association. Dr. Blackman served (2010-2014) as a member of the NIH/NIA’s Aging Systems and Geriatrics Study Section, is a frequent national and international lecturer and consultant on neuroendocrinology and aging, has received numerous teaching and academic awards, and has published more than 400 journal articles, editorials, books, chapters, and abstracts.

Jacqueline Jonklaas, MD, PhDCo-Director of PCI Programs, Program Director GU-CRU : Jacqueline Jonklaas, MD, PhD

Dr. Jonklaas is currently a professor in the endocrinology division at Georgetown University. Dr. Jonklaas obtained her MD, residency, and fellowship training at Georgetown University. Her area of interest, both with respect to research and patient care, is the management of thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism.

Dr. Jonklaas has published research regarding treatment and outcomes in patients with thyroid cancer and therapy for hypothyroidism. She is involved in translational research, particularly regarding biomarkers of thyroid hormone action and TSH bioactivity. Dr. Jonklaas is involved in teaching at both a national and local level. She teaches endocrinology to residents and fellows in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. She also co-directs the endocrinology course for Georgetown Medical School’s first year medical students. She is a member of the American Thyroid Association and serves on their Guidelines and Statements Committee. She was the lead author for the American Thyroid Association’s Guidelines for the Treatment of Hypothyroidism that were published in 2014. She is also a member of the Endocrine Society and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and as a member of the Endocrine Society Self Assessment Committee.

Thomas Obisesan, MDCo-Director of PCI Programs, Program Director HU-CRU : Thomas Obisesan, MD

Dr. Obisesan is a Professor of Medicine and Board Certified Clinician, and the Associate Vice President for Regulatory Research Compliance and Designated Institutional Official. He previously served as the Chair of the Howard University Institutional Review Board (IRB).


Through the National Institute of Health (NIH) support, Dr. Obisesan received post-doctoral training (NIA-K23) in lipids metabolism, cardiovascular aspects of exercise physiology and genetics at the University of Maryland, and currently an NIH funded Investigator. For over 1½ decades, he examined the epidemiologic, physiologic, genetic and biologic mediators of cardiovascular disease (CVD), conducted clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and informed the overlap of cardiovascular disease with AD risk. He is now probing the physiologic, metabolic and molecular pathways mediating the effects of fitness adaptation on neurodegeneration, using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to characterize lipids’ biological and functional roles, and molecular genetics to probe the downstream effects of CVD risk on hypoxia and on related gene expression on memory.

Dr. Obisesan served on review panels for the World Health Organization (WHO) and on National Examination Board, currently a member of several NIH study sections, and an editor of peer reviewed journals. In recognition of his national repute, Dr. Obisesan twice received research leadership awards from the Alzheimer’s Association, and Outstanding Service and Clinician Award from the Howard University Hospital; and served on the Board of Directors of the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, and St. Mary’s Court. Dr. Obisesan, is a member of the Steering Committee for the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiatives, and the Georgetown-Howard University Clinical Translational Science Program at Howard University, guiding ground-breaking research. Collectively, Dr. Obisesan has excelled as a leader, teacher, clinician, in community engagement, and recognized nationally and internationally for his research.

Additional Team Members


Our nurse managers are responsible for the administration, management and direction of the operational, personnel and financial activities of the CRUs. They coordinate inter-institutional collaboration between GU HU, MHRI and the VAMC as part of the GHUCCTS and assist investigators in implementation of their protocols.

  • Shaunagh Browning serves as the Nurse Manager for the GU-CRU. She completed her master’s at Georgetown University in 1998 in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program. She was one of the key founding members of the International Association of Clinical Research Nurses and remains active in its mission. She is currently studying for her doctorate in Nursing Studies. She has vast experience in clinical research in general, diabetes research in particular, and clinical research nursing leadership.
  • Alice Ukaegbu: serves as nurse manager for HU-CRU. She has a Doctor of Nursing Practice and is a Family Nurse Practitioner, with over 27 years of nursing experience, including 11 years in clinical research. Dr. Ukaegbu has conducted research into the use of text message reminders to influence positive compliance in adults with type 1 diabetes and has expertise in culturally competent strategies for recruitment and retention of African American populations into clinical trials.

Directory: CRU Leadership and Staff