Who We Are

The BASE Lab work requires breadth of knowledge and methodological expertise. Thus, The BASE Lab includes faculty and staff who are experts in:

  • Qualitative interviews and focus group discussions
  • Survey methodologies
  • Mixed-methods research
  • Qualitative and statistical analyses
  • Intervention research using experimental designs
  • Research ethics and regulations

Faculty

Director, The BASE Lab

Dr. Corneli is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Population Health Sciences and Medicine. She is also a faculty associate of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine; a faculty associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society; a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute; and a faculty affiliate at the Duke Global Health Institute. Dr. Corneli serves as the Director of the QualCore and The BASE Lab in the Department of Population Health Sciences, and as the Lead Social Scientist for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative.

A social scientist by training, Dr. Corneli has over two decades of experience conducting qualitative, formative, and mixed-method studies in multiple countries worldwide, primarily in biomedical HIV prevention and bioethics. A significant portion of her research portfolio has focused on engaging patients/participants and other key stakeholders in qualitative research to inform clinical studies; socio-behavioral interventions, programs, and policies; and material and scale/questionnaire development. Her HIV-related research focuses on identifying evidence-based strategies for linking populations who could benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to PrEP care, for supporting PrEP adherence to achieve protective levels, and for keeping clients engaged in PrEP care for as long as their HIV risk persists. Her bioethics research focuses primarily on informed consent and functioning of ethics review boards.

Dr. Corneli received her PhD in Health Behavior from UNC Chapel Hill, with a minor in Anthropology, and her MPH in International Health from Emory University.

Chris Simon, PhD
Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences
Dr. Simon is a bioethicist and medical anthropologist who joined Duke University in September 2017. He works to improve the responsible conduct of research (RCR) and the protection of human participants in research. Dr. Simon has been PI and co-Investigator on many federally- and locally-funded grants devoted to ethics topics. He has written on the ethics of research recruitment and informed consent in cancer trials, researcher identity, community health services research, and genomics research. In all these efforts, Dr. Simon tries to situate how research is and ought to be conducted within the context of regulations, policy, and the culture of everyday research. He is interested in how people’s values, constraints, and lived experiences—those of scientists, research participants, and members of the public—color the moral and ethical fiber of research. Dr. Simon uses focus groups, surveys, and ethnographic observation to collect empirical data and shed light on RCR issues and challenges. He has been funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute to conduct a national trial comparing interactive multimedia consent to a traditional face-to-face consent process. His work is published in leading medical, social science and bioethics journals, he has directed a university-wide research ethics consultation service, and served as the ethics officer for the University of Iowa Institute of Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Simon serves frequently as an NIH grants reviewer, consultant, and collaborator on research ethics studies or study components. He has conducted independent empirical research in the United States, Uganda, and South Africa.
Co-Director, The BASE Lab

Dr. Weinfurt is Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Duke University School of Medicine. He is also Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University Medical Center and a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute; Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; and a Faculty Associate of the Trent Center for the Study of Medical Humanities and Bioethics.

Dr. Weinfurt was a principal investigator in the NIH PROMIS Network, where he led the development of the SexFS to measure male and female sexual function and satisfaction. Currently, he serves as the President of the PROMIS Health Organization and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Quality of Life Research. He is co-chair of the coordinating center for the NIH Health Systems Research Collaboratory and co-chair of NIDDK’s Symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction Research Network, for which he also leads the Self-Reported Measures workgroup. Dr. Weinfurt has served on advisory panels for the FDA and has taught patient-reported outcomes in educational programs at both the FDA and NIH. Dr. Weinfurt also co-directs Duke’s masters-level Clinical Research Training Program and has taught graduate courses in patient-reported outcomes research and multivariate statistics, along with undergraduate courses in introductory psychology, judgment and decision making, and the psychology of medical decision making.

Dr. Weinfurt’s research has been featured on NPR Marketplace, Business Week, ABC News, and US News & World Report. Dr. Weinfurt received his PhD in Psychology at Georgetown University and did graduate work in the history of science and philosophy of mind at Linacre College, Oxford. 

Staff

Carrie Dombeck
Research Program Leader

Ms. Dombeck is a Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She has over fifteen years’ experience in project management and qualitative data collection and analysis, primarily in empirical bioethics and clinical trial implementation. Ms. Dombeck has experience with a variety of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methodologies, including survey development and Delphi analysis. She also has experience in contributing to all phases of item writing, testing, and validation for self-reported health outcomes measures.

Ms. Dombeck has a master’s degree in cognitive psychology from Wake Forest University.

Emily Hanlen
Research Program Leader

Ms. Hanlen-Rosado is a Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She has over five years of experience developing study protocols and question guides, interviewing and developing programs for diverse populations, managing study data, recruiting study participants, analyzing data, and conducting community-based participatory research. Ms. Hanlen-Rosado has also worked with community organizations to develop health promotion mobile applications and health education curricula, and to develop and evaluate the use of social media to encourage behavioral change in diverse populations.  

Ms. Hanlen-Rosado received her MPH from New York University with a focus in global health leadership and her M.Ed. from Lehman College with a focus in classroom teaching.

Kevin McKenna
Research Program Leader

Mr. McKenna is a Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. He has over 10 years of experience coordinating qualitative research, with a focus on developing qualitative protocols and question guides, interviewing diverse study populations, managing study data, recruiting study participants, and analyzing and reporting qualitative data. Mr. McKenna also specializes in conducting concept elicitation interviews for developing patient reported outcomes, and in using a range of qualitative methodologies, such as cognitive and dyadic interviews, break-out discussions, deliberative dialogue, and ethnodrama. Most of his recent research focuses on empirical bioethics, although he has previously worked on studies related to HIV prevention, men’s health issues, and reproductive health technologies, both domestically and globally.

Mr. McKenna received his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus in health behavior.

Nneka Molokwu
Clinical Research Coordinator

Ms. Molokwu is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She has two years of experience in qualitative data collection and analysis, focusing on cognitive interviewing and coding of qualitative data. She has also coordinated domestic and international projects, designed surveys, and developed interview guides. Her research interests include HIV, substance misuse, social determinants of health, and interventions that address health disparities.

Ms. Molokwu received her MSW from UNC Chapel Hill with a concentration in community, management, and policy practice.

Clinical Research Specialist

Ms. Nsonwu supports QualCore as a Clinical Research Specialist where she reviews interview transcriptions, conducts literature reviews, and assists in the coding and analysis of qualitative transcripts. She recently graduated and is excited to develop her research experience in collecting and analyzing qualitative data. For her undergraduate independent research, she worked with Raleigh’s female Muslim population, implementing ethnographic methods including in-depth interviews, photographic and artifact elicitation, and qualitative data analysis.

Ms. Nsonwu received her bachelor’s degrees in English (LWR) and Anthropology from N.C. State University.

Brian Perry
Manager, The BASE Lab

Mr. Perry is a Senior Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. He also manages the social science team for the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative. Over the past 15 years, Mr. Perry has served as the study coordinator and lead analyst on over a dozen qualitative and mixed methods studies across the globe, with a focus on developing research concepts, protocol, and data collection instruments; training research staff; conducting and managing qualitative data collection, including participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, surveys, pile sorting, and Photovoice; and leading qualitative data analysis and write up. He has recently contributed to and facilitated studies investigating the cultural and social contexts surrounding clinical trials, and how these contexts impact patient behaviors and trial outcomes. Mr. Perry also has a portfolio of current and previous studies related to HIV prevention, and has led or contributed to research on reproductive health, agribusiness and economic strengthening, and social identity formation.

Mr. Perry received his MPH in community health education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dr. Summer Starling
Senior Research Program Leader, The BASE Lab

Dr. Starling is a Senior Research Program Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. As a social scientist, she has conducted qualitative and mixed methods research primarily in sexuality education and STI prevention, mHealth adoption, and provider bias. Dr. Starling has expertise in digital and online adaptations of traditional social science methods; communications theory; cognitive interviewing; grounded theory; impact evaluation; and user experience. Prior to Duke, Dr. Starling served as an industry consultant for companies and organizations committed to public health, driving strategy and organizational change measures, leading client-centered research programs, and providing strategic communications consulting.

Dr. Starling received her DrPH in public health from the University of California, Berkeley and her MPH in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University.

Terry Sweezey
Clinical Trials Project Leader

Dr. Swezey is a Clinical Trials Project Leader in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She has fourteen years of experience conducting qualitative research, with specific expertise in developing qualitative question guides, interviewing diverse study populations, conducting concept elicitation interviews for developing patient reported outcomes, conducting focus group discussions, and analyzing and reporting qualitative data. Dr. Swezey also specializes in providing mentorship and training in qualitative interviewing. Recently, she has contributed to research on how best to engage patients in clinical trials and stakeholders’ perceptions of the use of mobile technology in clinical trials. Previously, she served as a clinical research coordinator for many years. She was also part of a team studying healthy volunteers' perceptions of the risks and benefits of participating in Phase I trials and their decision-making processes surrounding enrollment in those studies over time.

Dr. Swezey has a PhD in sociology and an MA in anthropology from Michigan State University.