Skip to main content

Staff Announcement: New IRB Reliance Manager

Dear Northwestern Research Community,

I am pleased to announce that effective Monday, March 28th, 2022, Marcella Cooks will assume the role of IRB Reliance Manager, which is a new leadership position within Northwestern University’s IRB Office. 

Marcella has been an esteemed member of the Northwestern community for over 16 years, holding several human research-focused positions.  In 2006, Marcella joined the IRB Office as a Department Assistant. The following year, Marcella became a member of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute as a Project Coordinator.  She remained with the Institute in various capacities, each with increasing responsibilities, for nine years and honed her regulatory knowledge and human research expertise throughout her tenure. Her culminating role with NUCATS was that of Research Project Manager. Marcella returned to the IRB Office in 2016 as the IRB Education Specialist and was integral to the design of the IRB Office’s education and training program.  Her responsibilities were later expanded to IRB Reliance and Education Lead in 2017. In addition to the implementation of education-focused initiatives, Marcella deployed several reliance-focused operations such as liaising between organizations, providing support for 1,000+ active studies, facilitating the reliance agreement negotiation process for over 650 reliance agreements, and developing and implementing the Human Research Protection Program’s (HRPP) Single IRB workflow, and fee schedule.

As a member of the IRB Office leadership team, Marcella will work closely with colleagues to support the mission of Northwestern University’s Human Research Protection Program. Marcella’s primary responsibilities will be expanded to include the design, implementation, and management of a robust IRB Reliance program.  She will oversee the legal and Institutional requirements related to reliance agreements and the reliance process, liaise between organizations and agencies, and apply her leadership and communication skills to support and guide Reliance Team members as the unit grows. 

In addition to her extensive experience in human research protections, Marcella has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a minor in English Writing and a Master of Science in Health Communication, both degrees from Northwestern University. Marcella is a member of several professional organizations, recipient of multiple Institutional awards, and, as of 2019, a Certified IRB Professional (CIP). Please join me in congratulating Marcella on her new position of IRB Reliance Manager! We are delighted to have her as a member of the IRB Office team.

Warm regards,

Piper Hawkins-Green, MS, CIP
Associate Director, IRB Compliance and Reliance
Northwestern University
Institutional Review Board Office