Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Translating Science into Solutions for Better Health

Core Group Directors

April Armstrong, MD, MPHView Profile

April Armstrong

Director, Clinical Research Support

Dr. April Armstrong leads the development, implementation, and operations of the Clinical Research Support group in SC CTSI. She also serves as Associate Dean of Clinical Research at Keck School of Medicine at USC. In her own career, Dr. Armstrong focuses on inflammatory skin diseases, health outcomes, and technology-enabled delivery of healthcare.

Dr. Armstrong obtained her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed dermatology residency at the Harvard Dermatology Residency Program. She also obtained Master of Public Health (MPH) from Harvard School of Public Health.

Prior to joining USC, she served as Vice Chair, Director of the Clinical Research Unit, and Director of the Psoriasis Program at both University of Colorado Denver and University of California Davis.

Katrina Kubicek, MA

Interim Director, Evaluation and Improvement

Katrina Kubicek has worked as an evaluator with Harder & Co. Community Research where she led local, statewide, and national evaluation projects. She has extensive experience with logic models based on program and project needs; development of data collection tools; and qualitative and quantitative data analysis. As interim director of evaluation and improvement, she represents the SC CTSI in consortium activities, including the implementation of CTSA Common Metrics, she continues the implementation of our local platform for data collection, tracking and reporting (Data Nexus), and she participates in ongoing reporting, performance reviews and planning for the core groups of the SC CTSI.

Additionally, she serves as Assistant Director of the SC CTSI Community Engagement group.

Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhDView Profile

Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, PhD

Director, Research Development

Dr. Hamm-Alvarez leads the Research Development (RD) group. She is professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences and also serves as executive vice dean and vice dean of Research and Graduate Affairs in the School of Pharmacy. Dr. Hamm-Alvarez also holds appointments in physiology and biophysics, and in ophthalmology, at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Scientifically, she directs a translational research program that has led to the identification of biomarkers for early identification of Sjögren’s syndrome that are in clinical testing. An expert in cell membrane trafficking and high-resolution imaging, Dr. Hamm-Alvarez is recognized internationally for work on certain fundamental cell mechanisms.

She was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Quinnie Le, MBA

Director, Operations and Finance (Administration)

Quinnie Le supports SC CTSI leadership and core groups in strategic planning and management of operations and finance, personnel, contracts and grants, and space and facilities. She also serves as the liaison with USC, CHLA and external partners on operational issues that impact the SC CTSI. Le has more than a decade of experience in academic and research administration.

Wendy Mack, PhDView Profile

Director, Biostatistics

Dr. Mack directs biostatistical and study design within the SC CTSI Clinical Research Support Group. She is a professor of biostatistics in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Division of Biostatistics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where she co-directs the department’s MS graduate programs. She has over two decades of experience in the design, conduct and analysis of single- and multi-site trials.

She has served on numerous NIH study sections for biostatistical expertise, including a term on the NHLBI Clinical Trials Review study section.

Dr. Mack received her doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Daniella Meeker, PhDView Profile

Director, Clinical Research Informatics

Dr. Meeker is an assistant professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics. An expert in the application of information technology to the biomedical sciences, Dr. Meeker has led the development of best practices in the design, implementation, and use of collaborative data networks. Her interdisciplinary research is focused on distributed architectures for data management, program evaluation, and applied health and behavioral economics.

Before joining SC CTSI she was an Information Scientist at RAND. She is a member of the Scientific Program Committee of the American Medical Informatics Association and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Medical Decision Making.

Allison Zumberge Orechwa, PhDView Profile

Director, Programmatic Development (Administration)

Dr. Orechwa supports the development and integration of programmatic and SC CTSI-wide efforts. Prior to the SC CTSI, Dr. Orechwa worked in the Standards and Review Office of the U.S. Department of Education.

She earned a PhD from USC in cognitive neuroscience with an emphasis on functional neuroimaging of the brain’s language and reading networks.

Katja Reuter, PhDView Profile

Director, Digital Innovation and Communication

Dr. Reuter has more than a decade of experience in web development, digital/social media, and science communications gained while working in media organizations and at biomedical research institutions, including the CTSA hub at UCSF, where she won an IT Innovation Award.

Dr. Reuter has been a driving force behind current digital innovations in the SC CTSI, including our new Digital Scholar program.

She received her PhD in developmental neuroscience from the Free University in Berlin, Germany.

Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MSView Profile

Director, Workforce Development

Dr. Samet is a pulmonary physician, epidemiologist and at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where he chairs the Department of Preventive Medicine. An internationally recognized public health expert, Dr. Samet also directs the USC Institute for Global Health.  He has a long-standing interest in education and training related to research methods.

He has investigated diverse issues using epidemiological approaches, including risks of indoor and outdoor air pollution, radiation, and active and passive smoking. His research also spans cancer epidemiology and outcomes, sleep-disordered breathing, and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Samet has chaired and participated in numerous national and international committees concerned with public health. He is a member of National Cancer Advisory Board and the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, among many other honors.

He earned his MD from the University of Rochester and his MS in epidemiology from Harvard University.