Research Radboudumc Technology centers Did you know… the Radboudumc Technology Centers?

16 January 2024

In this blog-interview series, we present the Radboudumc Technology Centers (RTCs) – your gateway to technological expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and invaluable resources. In each part we spotlight one of the 19 RTCs housed within our organization.  

Welcome to the sixth episode of our ongoing interview series, shining a spotlight on our RTCs. I want to start by expressing my gratitude for the positive feedback we've received so far—thank you for that. Today, we're kicking off the year with a special edition. Firstly, because there are significant developments taking place with regard to the RTC Clinical Studies (RTC CS) that we're excited to highlight today—we'll delve into that shortly. Secondly, we've added to our blog the stories of researchers who share their experiences about the collaborations with the Clinical Research Unit. So, let's get started... 


I parked my car at the parking space on the St. Annastraat, walked towards the Geert Grooteplein, and am now heading my way to the Eastern entrance (Ingang Oost) of the Radboudumc. There, at the second floor, I'll meet with Chantal Slaa for the interview. Meanwhile, I witness how the very first snow of the year has turned our campus into a winter wonderland. Slightly exhausted from my drive to Nijmegen, which was less magical though, I now take the time to calmly enjoy the beautiful white scenery around me, and the crunchy sound my footsteps make on the crispy snow... 

Fig 1 - At the artwork 'Desert', where nine colourful spheres are placed in honour of the patient kitchen at Radboudumc

Hi Chantal. Thank you very much for having me here at the Clinical Research Unit. I still need to warm up from my walk, but this hot cup of coffee is definitely helping. And while I am warming up, perhaps you can start by telling us who you are? 

“I'm Chantal Slaa, Team Lead of the Clinical Research Unit. I have been involved in clinical research for over 22 years. I started as a research nurse and coordinator, and since 2017, I have been the team leader of various decentralized RTC CS teams within Radboudumc. Now, as of January 1, I switched to the Research Institute as the Team Lead of the Clinical Research Unit.” 

Thank you for the introduction. Tell me more about what’s going on with the RTC Clinical Studies? 

”Well, the RTC Clinical Studies has been transformed. As of January 1st, 2024, the three central teams of RTC CS have become part of the Research Institute. The Team Clinical Research Unit, the Team Clinical Research Monitoring (formerly known as ‘RTC CS Integraal’), and the Team Clinical Research Policies (formerly known as ‘RTC CS Team Policy, Quality, and Support’) will continue to operate under the umbrella of the 'Clinical Research Support' group. More information will follow soon and will be shared on the intranet or on our page.” 

I already noticed a group of hard-working people in the offices when we walked by. Can you provide some background on the Clinical Research Unit, and the team behind it? 

”Absolutely. The Clinical Research Unit is an essential facility within Radboudumc, serving as a crucial support hub for the initiation and execution of various human-related research varying from phase 1 to for example, non-WMO research. Our team is highly qualified and enthusiastic, ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations while prioritizing the safety of research participants. Our unit comprises a dedicated team of professionals, including a research coordinator, research nurses, and research assistants. 

In terms of location, we are housed within Radboudumc, where you can find our outpatient and clinical examinations rooms and the necessary resources to facilitate high-quality clinical research.” 

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If we can move on to the services you offer, Chantal, what can researchers expect when they collaborate with the Clinical Research Unit? 

”Our unit is well-equipped for 24/7 patient care, featuring outpatient clinical rooms with examination rooms, bed capacity rooms, and a dedicated research lab area. Researchers can reach out to us for specific services or comprehensive support throughout the entire research lifecycle, either at our unit or on-site. We take pride in providing customized services tailored to meet individual research needs while adhering to all relevant laws and regulations.” 

 And how exactly can you assist researchers in their projects? 

”We offer a wide array of services, including recruitment and screening of research participants, logistical planning of research procedures, execution of research procedures per protocol, supervision of participants, management of research medication, collection and processing of bodily material, data entry, and assistance with various administrative aspects such as monitor visits, audits, research contracts, and approval procedures.” 

I didn't count, but that is quite a number of services you are providing. Finally, if our researchers need any of these services, what is the best way to reach out to you? 

“We can be reached at Postbus Clinical Research Unit, you can call us on (024) 3668334, or visit us at route 923. You can also find information on our internet page.” 

Wonderful! I think that we've covered all the important things. Thank you for informing us about the important work of the Clinical Research Unit, and how you can support researchers conducting clinical studies. I am afraid it’s time for me to face the cold again and get back to the Research Institute. Thank you for hosting me here, Chantal! And for our readers, hope to be with you again in our next blog. Goodbye and stay tuned! 

PS. If you are still not convinced about the quality of service the Clinical Research Unit is providing, take a moment to read the reviews below. They showcase successful collaborations and experiences with the Clinical Research Unit." 

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Fig 3 - The view from the guest room of the Clinical Research Unit, with the Huygens building in the background


Reviews from our researchers 

"In recent years, I have found the collaboration between our department (Medical Immunology Laboratory) and the Clinical Research Unit in our clinical studies to be extremely pleasant and productive. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clinical Research Unit helped with the MuCo study, where we visited hospital employees with COVID-19 and their housemates at home. With the help of the Clinical Research Unit, we were able to enroll nearly 200 participants within 3 weeks. We also collaborate in our controlled human infection studies, which involve exposing healthy volunteers to pathogens under highly controlled conditions. These are particularly complex studies where the knowledge and expertise of the Clinical Research Unit comes in very handy!" 

Dimitri Diavatopoulos, Assistant Professor at the Laboratory of Medical Immunology (LMI) 


"We collaborate on multiple muscle disease studies with the Clinical Research Unit, from natural course studies to phase III drug trials. We have a flawless collaboration, each contributing our own expertise. We provide knowledge about the disease and outcome measures, the Clinical Research Unit helps us with start-up, contracts, budget, administration and execution. The collaboration has raised the quality of the studies to a higher level. The planning, data collection and administration are carried out in a professional, transparent and reproducible manner. The participants are also very satisfied with the Clinical Research Unit because of the personal attention ('I'm not a number here').  

Nicole Voermans, Full Professor of Neurology at Radboudumc – Neuromuscular disorders  

Joost Kools, MD and PhD candidate at department of Neurology 


“In 2020 and 2021, we worked closely with the Clinical Research Unit from the Department of ENT to initiate and conduct a Phase I study. This first-in-human study with intratympanic injections in healthy volunteers to evaluate the safety of a new drug against sudden deafness was successfully completed with good results. This highly complex study required a lot in terms of planning and logistics at a time of uncertainty due to the COVID pandemic. Through the admission department of the Clinical Research Unit, 24-hour care was achieved. Cooperation with our researchers and the audiology center was energetic.” 

Ronald Pennings, Head of ENT department Radboudumc 


"The Clinical Research Unit supported me very well in conducting a study on the effect of COVID-19 vaccination in renal patients. It was in the middle of the pandemic and times were hectic. Because of temporary staff outages due to illness, an experienced replacement could be deployed from the Clinical Research Unit within days. I also use the support of the Clinical Research Unit to my complete satisfaction in an ongoing vaccination study in kidney transplant patients." 

Luuk Hilbrands, Professor of Nephrology - Head of department Nephrology at Radboudumc 


Interview by Hasan Erkan

Editor Radboudumc Research Newsletter

You can find all editions of our blog series on this page 

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