The Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Cognitive NeuroPsychiatry (CCNP) was established to allow for researcher-friendly and rapid collection of data from human participants performing cognitive neuroscience-based tasks. Data collected at the CCNP will serve as the foundation for computational modeling efforts and other approaches to discovery, as a means to accelerate and improve our understanding of the psychological and biological mechanisms involved in mental illness and its treatment.
The CCNP has access to large samples of individuals with psychiatric conditions, as well as to psychiatrically healthy subjects. The Center includes expertly-trained staff who recruit participants for studies, administer clinical interviews, and run experiments in the 3 large running rooms available on-site. To initiate a project, investigators simply need to work with CCNP staff to develop local IRB protocols for their projects (formally: low-weight amendments to the CCNP Umbrella IRB protocol) and then CCNP staff will carry out all of the data collection. Services include recruiting participants, creating and managing study databases, clinical interviewing, and running participants through experimental procedures. Investigators are free to have as much or as little contact with the staff and participants as they like. Consultative services for psychological instruments are also available from our Director of Clinical Assessment.
Advantages of Using the CCNP
There are four primary benefits of running your projects through the CCNP:
1. Cost savings: Instead of hiring full-time research assistants, you use our expertly-trained staff who have years of experience in clinical interviewing and running research protocols with healthy and clinical populations using a variety of methods. This leads to significant cost saving; whereas full-time staff will require you to pay for much time that is spent in non-productive activity, the CCNP will only charge for time spent in active data collection or management (e.g., data entry). Further savings are gained by eliminating the costs associated with hiring and training research assistants to mastery of multiple experimental and clinical measures. Finally, since the core functions of the CCNP are covered under an already-approved IRB protocol, new CCNP studies require only an abbreviated and simplified protocol amendment that describes the specific interviews and tasks to be used in your study. This saves time writing, revising and waiting for approval of lengthy and detailed IRB protocols. In short, by choosing to use the CCNP, you gain access to highly trained research staff, invest very little in training and IRB protocol preparation, and your investment is needed only as long as your project runs. You will realize a significant cost savings without compromising on the quality of research.
2. Expert consultation: The CCNP employs a Director of Clinical Assessment who will be available to consult with you on, and provide for your review, various psychological measures relevant to the population you wish to study. Additionally, CCNP staff will be available to consult on research design and will assist you in the preparation of all IRB materials.
3. Participant recruitment: The CCNP has access to the entirety of Rutgers University’s patient population. We have relationships with the treatment staff in various clinical programs and can access reports that allow us to identify appropriate clinics for meeting recruitment goals. Should you be interested in running research protocols with patients with neurological, ophthalmologic, or physical health conditions, we can also procure those samples for you. You tell us what you the types of participants you want and we deliver.
4. Highly trained and experienced research assistants: Our research staff have extensive experience recruiting and running adults and children through research protocols. They are trained to use sophisticated diagnostic (e.g., SCID for DSM-5) and symptom assessment tools (e.g., PANSS, BPRS, Young Mania Scale, HAM-D,SIPS) and experimental procedures. Hiring and retaining high-quality and well-trained research staff is extremely difficult and costly. By using the CCNP, you bypass those difficulties and costs.
The CCNP currently employs a variety of staff members. The Director of Clinical Assessment is Dr. Gal Shoval, the CCNP Clinical supervisor. Dr. Shoval is a board certified child/adolescent psychiatrist with decades of experience in clinical practice as well as psychiatric research spanning across different institutions (ie. Princeton University, Tel Aviv University). Gal Shoval, M.D., also serves as the Director of the Child and Adolescent Division in Geha Mental Health Center affiliated to Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Shoval provides not only clinical supervision/expertise, but also oversees all emergency/safety protocols at the CCNP.
Johanne Solis, MA, and Valerie Lilley, MA, serve as clinical research coordinators at the CCNP. Ms. Solis has many years of clinical research experience working with the different patient populations across different institutions in NJ/New York metropolitan area. Mrs. Lilley also has many years of clinical experience (including forensic environments/legal system). Both Ms. Solis and Mrs. Lilley have received/continually receive extensive in-depth training in clinical assessment using multiple diagnostic and symptom assessment tools.
Finally, Dr. Anna Konova and Dr. Yael Niv serve as Co-Directors of the CCNP. Drs. Niv and Konova are world-renowned researchers with strong publication and grant procurement records. Drs. Konova and Niv are available primarily as administrators and collaborators, but should their consultative services be requested, such requests will be honored.
The CCNP is situated in a large suite on Rutgers University’s Busch campus in Piscataway (675 Hoes Lane West). The Center includes multiple testing rooms equipped with desktop computers for data collection. We also house an eye-tracking system for non-invasive measurement of gaze and pupillometry. We also run online studies through zoom, for experiments that can be served through a browser. Should your project require specific hardware, please contact CCNP staff by email email@example.com . Given the size of our experimental rooms and available storage, we can accommodate various pieces of equipment simultaneously without issue. In addition, several subjects can be run simultaneously in the same room or in adjacent rooms when this is required.
Project Proposal Submission Process
To facilitate the expedient conduct of research at the CCNP, we have established an expedited means of submitting experimental protocols to the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) IRB. Researchers will work with our staff to develop required materials for the IRB.
All researchers using the CCNP will have to complete or provide evidence of completion of research ethics training through the CITI Collaborative. All researchers from outside of Rutgers University who use the CCNP will need to establish Guest Accounts with our IRB. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information on project proposal and IRB submission process.
IRB Approval Process
The CCNP has an umbrella IRB protocol that includes all research run at the Center. Each specific study must be submitted as an amendment to this protocol, and be approved as such. This means that you only need to specify to the IRB those aspects of your research that are unique to your study. In other words, the umbrella protocol acts as a frame for individual experiment protocols, and includes generalized approval for recruitment, clinical assessment, and cognitive experimental tasks. Your amendment must be specific to your experimental protocol, which will identify the exact clinical and cognitive assessment tasks will be used. Researchers will collaborate with our staff to develop documents for our IRB and then, our staff will submit your protocol and interact with the IRB. Throughout the process of approval, we will continually update you and may need to request additional information from you. The process of approval once a protocol is submitted can take 6-8 weeks. This timeline will vary from protocol to protocol given the relative risks and novelty of the experimental procedures. That said, given the experience and relationships we have with the Rutgers University IRB, we will be able to minimize delays in getting your project started.
For Rutgers and Princeton investigators, the fee is $200 per hour of participant testing. Although you pay only for hours in which we test participants for your study, the cost is all inclusive, that is, it includes participant recruitment, as well as data management. There is an additional cost for subject compensation (minimum $20/hour). If your study design requires additional compensation to subjects beyond the standard $20/hour and coverage of subject transportation fees these will be added as appropriate. We are flexible to fit your study design but also ensure that our participants are paid a minimum fair rate for the time they are willing to give us.
Industry and other academic partners wishing to use the services of the CCNP should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a quote.
Participant Privacy Protection
Protecting the privacy of our participants is a top priority at the CCNP. If you choose to participate in our studies please know that this research is covered by a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health. The researchers with this Certificate may not disclose or use information, documents, or biospecimens that may identify you in any federal, state, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other action, suit, or proceeding, or be used as evidence, for example, if there is a court subpoena, unless you have consented for this use. This Certificate of Confidentiality allows us to protect the sensitive information you provide us for the purposes of our research.
Location and Contact Information
The CCNP is housed on the ground floor of the Rutgers University Research Tower at 675 Hoes Lane West in Piscataway, NJ. Ample parking is available for our collaborators and research participants, and our location is accessible to those with physical disabilities. People interested in using the CCNP should email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our staff will respond promptly.
Consultation services are available in-person by appointment Monday through Friday during regular business hours. To schedule an appointment, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.