The Clinical Translational Core at the Waisman Center welcomes new manager Laura Bradley

By Charlene N. Rivera-Bonet | Waisman Science Writer

Laura Bradley, MS
Laura Bradley, MS, new manager of the Clinical Translational Core

The Clinical Translational Core (CTC) welcomed Laura Bradley, MS, as the new manager last October. Bradley brings expertise in childhood development and research planning and will help support researchers at Waisman in developing and sustaining research studies. The position was previously held by Gabe Lavezzi.

The CTC provides investigators at the Waisman Center with access to a broad range of support for their research. This includes services, consultation and training in areas such as recruitment of participants, behavioral assessments, research coordination, advanced statistical analysis, access to a biobank and specimens, and biomanufacturing. In addition, they connect investigators with existing UW-Madison clinical translation services and regulatory consultation supports such as with the IRB.

Bradley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelors in sociology, after which she spent a semester teaching English in Beijing, China, then four years as a preschool teacher in Washington, D.C. “It was while teaching that I became really interested in child development,” Bradley says.

While teaching preschool at Georgetown, Bradley had the opportunity to volunteer as a research assistant on a study looking at how babies interact over screens. With a new research perspective on childhood development, Bradley then did a postbaccalaureate program at the National Institutes of Health, and then obtained a masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, both with research related to childhood development.

When Bradley and her husband decided to move back to Madison in 2019, the Waisman Center felt like the perfect fit. “I had heard a lot about [the Waisman Center],” Bradley says, “I knew it was really important in the community.” She became a research specialist in the lab of Brittany Travers, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology, where she worked on The Brainy Movement Study for Kids studying the relationship between the brainstem and behaviors in autistic children and typically developing children.

While working in Travers’ lab, “I learned a lot about all of the research that happens [at Waisman] and I thought that it would be really cool to be in a position where I can help other researchers throughout the center,” Bradley says. So, as her research project in the lab ended, and the position of CTC manager opened up, it felt like a natural transition. “I was ready for something a little more global.”

Bradley used the services of the CTC while working in Travers’ lab, so she was familiar with the value that the core can have for researchers.

The rest of the CTC staff includes Hayley Crain, PsyD, Rob Olson, PhD, and Diane Grypp, MA. Crain is a clinical psychologist who provides consultation, clinical supervision and training to research projects at Waisman. Olson is an engineer who provides support in the use of technologies and software, and maintains the participant tracking databases. Grypp is the CTC’s assessment specialist. She administers assessments, co-facilitates recruitment for investigators, and provides administrative support to the CTC.

Laura Bradley offering information on research studies at the Day with the Experts: Autism
Laura Bradley offering information on research studies at the Day with the Experts: Autism

Along with this team, Bradley is eager to provide support to researchers as they either kickstart their new studies, or sustain ongoing ones. “I’m constantly in awe of these [investigators] who are asking us questions and putting together these projects that I think could have a real impact, and by the model of what the Waisman Center is in terms of research and clinic and community and having those pillars. I’m just excited,” Bradley says.

In her free time, Bradley enjoys spending time with her toddler, cooking, walking her dog, running, and hiking. After being away for eight years, she has been enjoying rediscovering Madison.