BUFFALO, N.Y. – It’s like eHarmony® for
research. That’s how the ResearchMatch
liaisons at the University at Buffalo describe the Web-based,
volunteer, research registry now open to UB researchers and Western
is a free, national database that brings together volunteers who
want to participate in research with university investigators who
are recruiting volunteers for their studies.
UB qualified to be one of 85 institutions that are members of
ResearchMatch through its affiliation with the Upstate New York
Translational Research Network, a research consortium headquartered
at the University of Rochester.
Investigators must meet the following criteria: They must have a
buffalo.edu email account and studies must involve volunteers and
be approved by one of UB’s three Institutional Review Boards.
While most studies are medical or health-related, others involve
social or behavioral research. Both healthy individuals and those
who meet specific disease criteria are required for research
“ResearchMatch is a huge asset for Western New
York,” says Timothy F. Murphy, MD, director of UB's Clinical
and Translational Research Center (CTRC).
“UB is now part of an important national clinical research
network, which will expand our research capabilities
substantially,” he continues. “Researchers at UB and
partner institutions now have access to a powerful tool to recruit
subjects to clinical trials, often the biggest bottleneck to
successfully performing clinical research. And the entire Western
New York population now has easy access to participate in
cutting-edge research studies of the latest treatments and health
Interested individuals who are at least 19 years old can sign up
at ResearchMatch.org. They must provide demographic and health
information, as well as information about availability and what
types of research studies they would like to participate in, such
as online only or those that require visits to a laboratory or
physician’s office. Parents can register their children as
Individuals chosen to be part of a study may be compensated for
their time; their expenses also may be reimbursed.
Murphy explains that the success of the registry for UB
investigators is directly related to the number of people in
Western New York who know about it and want to participate.
“Many people are interested in becoming involved in clinical
research as a volunteer but do not know how to get started,”
he says. “ResearchMatch is a great way for people to learn
about the research being done on a local, as well as a national
level, and to get involved.”
Pamela K. Anderson, one of the university’s ResearchMatch
liaisons and manager of the Clinical Trials Office in the CTRC
adds: “ResearchMatch provides UB investigators with an
affordable, secure way to recruit volunteers into approved clinical
trials. Investigators may use ResearchMatch in addition to
traditional methods for volunteer recruitment.”
At the same time, ResearchMatch provides Western New Yorkers
with improved access to cutting-edge treatments and diagnostic
tools that may directly benefit their own health.
“You now are working with a UB medical researcher who
says, ‘Here’s my card; call me if you need me,’
in addition to an extra pair of eyes on you throughout the course
of the study,” adds Kimberly Brunton, clinical research nurse
manager at CTRC
Pediatric research offers the same benefits, Brunton continues.
“If you are a parent of a child with a disorder, you’re
trying to find out what research is going on related to that
disease,” she says. “With ResearchMatch, parents can
learn about related studies going on around the U.S., as well as
right here in Western New York.
“ResearchMatch places volunteers completely in the
driver’s seat,” she says. “You just fill in the
information online and wait for an email that says you’ve
been matched. Once matched with a study, volunteers receive an
email explaining the study they have been matched with and asking
if they would like to be contacted. If they say yes, their contact
information is forwarded to the investigator for follow-up; if they
decline, the investigator never sees their contact
One of the first UB faculty members to try ResearchMatch was
Carla Jungquist, PhD, assistant professor in the School of
“Recruitment is the worst part of doing research,”
she says. “It can take several years to get enough subjects
who meet the study criteria. We put ads in newspapers and other
media, which costs money and can be very slow. You also get a lot
of people who don’t qualify.”
But using ResearchMatch dramatically improved the experience.
Jungquist was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention to validate methods of doing sleep studies. It involved
three visits to campus for the subjects, as well as use of a
take-home sleep-enhancement device.
“Using ResearchMatch, I was able to recruit 300 subjects
in six months in Buffalo and Rochester,” she says.
“Normally, that would have taken me about two
With ResearchMatch, Jungquist entered in the inclusion/exclusion
data and she immediately received a list of 500 potential subjects;
the list was narrowed to 200 subjects when she added specific age
and health criteria. ResearchMatch then randomly selected 100
subjects. Individuals were notified that they were eligible with an
email message approved by one of UB’s Institutional Review
Boards, which are charged with protecting the rights of research
“ResearchMatch is a wonderful asset, I totally recommend
it,” says Jungquist.
ResearchMatch also provides investigators with a way to test the
feasibility of an idea before it has been funded or proposed.
“If you are a researcher and you want to know how many
people in the Buffalo area meet a certain criteria for a study you
want to propose, you don’t need an approved protocol to see
how many subjects meet certain criteria,” Anderson explains.
“You can find out how many people in the area with these
criteria have signed up at ResearchMatch. You haven’t spent
any money to do it and you have your answer in two minutes. You
just wanted to find out, is this study even viable? It’s a
great tool to offer UB researchers.”
For more information and to sign up for ResearchMatch as a
volunteer, go to ResearchMatch.org.
UB investigators interested in signing up as an investigator
should complete and submit the online form at:https://www.researchmatch.org/partners/index_researcherinterest.php
or contact one of the ResearchMatch institutional liaisons:
Kimberly Brunton, clinical research nurse manager at CTRC, at
(716) 888-4840 or email@example.com
Pamela Anderson, clinical trials office manager at CTRC, at
(716) 888-4841 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Madden, regulatory specialist in the Clinical Trials Office
at CTRC, (716) 888-4844 or email@example.com.