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OPRS Staff

The Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (OPRS) is headed by a Director and staffed by human subject research administrators and support staff. Contact information is as follows:

OPRS
Second Floor, MC-095
805 West Pennsylvania Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: [217] 333.2670 
Email: irb@illinois.edu

Director

The OPRS Director has overall responsibility for IRB administration at the Urbana campus. The director, who is a voting member of the IRB, works closely with the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and the chairs of the IRBs in the development of IRB policies and has primary responsibility for IRB procedures at Illinois as well as educational programs on human subjects research.

Anita Balgopal

(217) 300-2203
Director

Anita Balgopal joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012 to serve as the Director of OPRS. She has over 17 years of experience in the area of research administration and regulatory compliance. Prior to coming to the Urbana campus, Anita was at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. She holds degrees in health administration, social work, and higher education administration. Anita’s personal research interest are in the areas of undergraduate experiential learning and facilitating ethical research at institutions of higher education.

Human Subjects Senior Research Manager

The Human Subjects Research Manager is responsible for the education of the Illinois research community through presentations, meetings, and the continuing education of OPRS staff and board members. The position also provides leadership in examining overall office processes and efficiency.

Dustin Yocum

(217) 300-4403
Human Subjects Senior Research Manager

Dustin Yocum joined the OPRS office in January of 2013 after spending a year working in the Human Subjects Protection Office at Carle. He has degrees in Sociology and Gerontology.

Human Subjects Research Coordinator

The Human Subjects Research Coordinator is the point of contact for reliance agreements, including those utilizing the SMART IRB online reliance system. The position also coordinates the convened institutional review board meetings as well as organizes education and outreach efforts.

Jennifer Ford

Jennifer Ford
(217) 300-2022
Human Subjects Research Coordinator

Jennifer Ford joined the OPRS office in November of 2016 after working as a Systems Specialist in the Office of Sponsored Programs. She has degrees in Psychology and General Experimental Psychology. Jennifer's research area of interest is Clinical Health Psychology.

Human Subjects Research Specialists

The Human Subjects Research Specialists are responsible for screening new, amendment, and renewal IRB applications for accuracy, clarity, and completeness. The research specialists interpret federal and university policies related to human subjects research providing feedback to investigators based on federal and university regulations and recommending level of review for each application responding to inquiries from faculty, staff and students about the IRB process.

Derek Wunder

(217) 300-9304
Human Subjects Research Specialist

Derek Wunder joined OPRS in July of 2020 after working as Marketing Communications Specialist at Lake Land College and a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty. He holds a degree in communication studies. His personal research interests include technology and accessibility.

Katie Schaffenberger

(217) 300-7247
Human Subjects Research Specialist

Katie Schaffenberger joined OPRS in June of 2020 after working in corporate accounting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Justin Sun

Justin Sun
(217) 300-2226
Human Subjects Research Specialist

Justin Sun joined OPRS in August 2019 after working as a laboratory manager at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He has a master’s in biotechnology regulatory affairs and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Justin’s research area of interest is research ethics and emerging biotechnology.

Christopher Davies

(217) 300-8316
Human Subjects Research Specialist

Christopher Davies joined OPRS in March of 2019 after working as a technical editor at FASS Inc. He holds a degree in communications and is certified as an editor of life sciences. His personal research interests include history and statistics.

Office Support Specialist

The Office Support Specialist provides administrative support to the director. She is also responsible for processing submissions as they are received, transcribes material for OPRS staff members, determines needs and handles requests from researchers and IRB members.

Marnita Sills

Marnita Sills
(217) 244-3923
Office Support Specialist

Marnita Sills joined the Urbana campus in 2005 and began her office supporting position with OPRS in 2006. She has 23 years of experience as an office professional including clerical, accounting, and office management functions, Marnita holds a degree in accounting.