Ivana Gunderson - Director

Ivana graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 2009 with a major in psychology and minor in biology. Ivana started her career as a scribe in Dr. Berger’s clinical practice in 2009 with plans of going to medical school. After a short time, she joined Dr. Berger’s research team at Austin Clinical Research as a clinical research coordinator and changed career paths to stay in medical research. She exceled as a coordinator and was promoted to director in 2015. Ivana founded her own clinical research office in 2021 and is continuing her role as director.  Ivana has participated in over a hundred clinical trials, has extensive experience in contract and budgets execution, regulatory, finance and all other aspects of clinical trial management at the site level. Ivana trained and hired our current team and is proud to work with such a great group of people. She is married to Patrick Gunderson and has two wonderful children, Anabella & William. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, exercising and spending time with her family.

Yong Ren - Research Photographer

With 12 years of clinical training and experience in ophthalmology in anterior and posterior segments as well as orbit in China, Yong completed a four year postdoctoral research at Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, UTMB,Galveston, Texas from 2002 to 2006. He also received Master of Medical Science (Neuroscience) degree in 2004 at UTMB. He joined Austin Clinical Research and Dr. Brian Berger’s private clinical practice from 2006-2021 and joined the Austin Clinical Research team in 2021. Yong is a certified retinal photographer with all major reading centers, and an ophthalmic sonographer. He enjoys working with patients and the latest technology in retinal eye care. In his spare time, Yong enjoys going for runs, biking, reading, and travelling.

Daniela Wilson - Lead Clinical Research Coordinator

Daniela Wilson joined Dr. Brian Berger’s clinical practice in 2014.  She was hired as an ophthalmic technician and quickly transitioned to a scribing position with Dr. Berger.  Over the next few years, Daniela developed many skills such as surgery scheduling, preparing and assisting with treatments, working with patient assistance programs and gained a wealth of knowledge in retinal diseases and FDA approved treatments for retinal diseases. In 2017, Daniela transitioned to a Clinical Research Coordinator position at Austin Clinical Research, where she worked until 2021 before joining the Austin Clinical Research team.  Daniela has extensive coordinating experience in dozens of Phase I-IV trials with pharmaceutical and government funded sponsors, is a certified BCVA examiner with most vendors and enjoys providing individualized patient care in the latest treatments for retina diseases. Daniela is married with one child (Sofia) and two pets (Tatiana, and Aries). She enjoys spending time with her family and social Latin dancing in her free time.

Valerie E. Vollano, COA - Clinical Research Coordinator

Valerie is a native of New Haven Connecticut  and has lived in Texas for 5 years. She started a career as an optometric assistant in 1978 before furthering her career as an ophthalmic technician in 1981, enjoying several years in ophthalmology as not only a technician but as a surgery coordinator and becoming a certified ophthalmic assistant. In 2016, Valerie began a career in Austin as a clinical research coordinator at Austin Clinical Research and joined the Austin Clinical Research team in 2021. Valerie has one daughter, enjoys cooking in her free time and lives with her  husband just outside of Austin.

Kaitlyn Timmons - Clinical Research Coordinator

Kaitlyn began her career as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Austin Clinical Research in June of 2019. She grew up in the dry plains of Lubbock, Texas, but came to the hill country of Austin to get her Bachelor of Science and Arts degree in Biochemistry and Psychology at the wonderful University of Texas, where she graduated in May of 2019. Kaitlyn has been fascinated with the biomedical sciences for as long as she can remember, and feels very fortunate to be able to work in a place where the sciences are put to use in order to preserve people’s vision – one of the greatest gifts of our lifetime. Kaitlyn joined the Austin Clinical Research team in 2021. Kaitlyn also enjoys getting to know her patients individually, and dreams of going on to get her MD so that she can put her love of the biomedical sciences to use in new ways in service of her newfound community here in Austin. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys playing guitar, reading, and going on scenic walks with her boyfriend and dog.

Blake Porter - Clinical Research Coordinator

Blake recently moved to the Austin area after separating from the Army in 2020 after five years of service as an Infantry Officer. He is a graduate of the University of Washington, BA in Philosophy with a Minor in Chemistry, where he was on an ROTC scholarship. Blake put his medical plans on hold for time to lead soldiers in the Army’s best battalion (1-502d Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne). Blake’s career change from military to medicine started last year by working as a clinic assistant for a local direct primary care clinic and now as a clinical research coordinator at Austin Clinical Research. He continues to work on getting his own MD someday. Blake loves the challenge and the opportunity to help people in the medical profession. On his day’s off Blake enjoys cooking up five-star level plates in his own kitchen and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Luke Heckmann - Clinical Research Coordinator

Living in Texas for most of his life, Luke attended the University of Texas where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering in 2021. While attending college, he completed over two thousand hours of research on Western honey bees which culminated in a paper published in Science in 2020. He was able to entertain his own research pursuits after receiving an Undergraduate Research Fellowship and was selected as one of the 10 Outstanding UT Class of 2021 Seniors due to his research work over the course of his undergraduate career. Luke’s interests shifted to medicine and medical research after shadowing physicians and taking multiple transformative courses during his time at UT. Luke joined the Austin Clinical Research team in 2021. In his free time, he enjoys making music by playing guitar, piano, and bass. He also enjoys playing basketball and tennis, learning how to cook, and frequently visiting his siblings and nephew.

ACR participates in industry and government funded clinical trials. Our investigators and staff have worked with the following sponsors:

F. Hoffmann-La Roche
Bausch & Lomb
DRCR Network

iCo Therapeutics
Lux Biosciences
CoMentis Inc.
4D Molecular Therapeutics
Annexon Biosciences
Ocuphire Pharma
Alexion Pharmaceuticals

Iconic Therapeutics
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Taiwanese Liposome Company

VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies
Astellas Pharma
University of Virginia Ophthalmology Department
Santen Inc.
Apellis Pharmaceuticals
Daiichi Sankyo
Stealth Bio Therapeutcs Inc.

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