The Clinical Research Institute (CRI) was established in 2010 to provide the required infrastructure to support and promote innovative clinical research and collaborative activities at the Faculty of Medicine (FM) and AUBMC, thus leading to discoveries, advancement of clinical practice and improvement in patient care outcomes.
The CRI offers a wide range of services to investigators through its various units, programs and center. CRI has four units (Biostatistics Unit (BSU), Clinical Epidemiology Unit (CEU), Clinical Research Unit (CRU), and Research Education Unit (REU)) and one center (AUB GRADE Center). CRI also offers five research education programs: Faculty Advancement Program in Clinical Research (FAP), Fellowship and Residency Research Program (FRRP), Medical Research Volunteer Program (MRVP), Nursing Advancement Program (NAP), Research Personnel program (RPP).
Visit the CRI’s webpage at:



The mission of the CRI is to improve patient care and health through innovative clinical and translational research. The CRI provides clinical investigators with research support and infrastructure, as well as education and training.



The vision of the CRI is to enable the Faculty of Medicine to achieve regional leadership for clinical and translational research. The CRI will become a leading regional resource in clinical and translational research


The CRI is directed by Elie Akl, MD, MPH, PhD. Dr. Akl is a Professor of Medicine and serves as the Associate Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Akl is also the director of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, co-director of the Center for Systematic Reviews of Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK), and director of the AUB GRADE Center. He is affiliated with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University in Canada. Dr. Akl’s research expertise is in clinical trial methodology, systematic review and meta-analysis, practice guideline development, and thrombosis.


Core faculty members

Elie Akl, MD, PhD, Director of the Clinical Research Institute (CRI), Director of Clinical Epidemiology Unit (CEU) and Director of AUB GRADE center.
Martine El Bejjani, PhD, Director of the Research Education Unit (REU)
Hani Tamim, PhD, Director of the Biostatistics Unit (BSU)


Affiliate faculty members

Lina Badr, PhD
Marlene Chakhtoura, MD
Eman Sbaity, MD
Ali Abu Alfa, MD, Ex-officio
Habib Dakik, MD
Ahmad El-Yazbi, PhD
Bilal Kaafarani, PhD


Staff members

Lara Al Hakim, MS, CRI Administrator
Aya Hammoud, MPH, CRU Clinical trials coordinator
Lara Kahale, PhD, AUB Grade center coordinator
Maha Makki, MPH, CRI Data analyst
Sara Khansa, MBA, REU coordinator


Research assistants

Pamela Abi Kalil, MBA
Amena El-Harakeh, MS
Rita El Hachem, MS
Rayane El Khoury, MPH
Joanne Khabsa, MS
Sally Yaacoub, MS
Zahra Saad, MS


Research fellows

Fatimah Chamseddine, MD


In addition, the CRI hosts on a regular basis one or two MPH practicum students from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at AUB and a number of undergraduate students participating in research projects.


The AUB GRADE Center is one of the centers for the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) working group.
It was started in 2015 with the purpose of promoting and supporting national, regional, and international organizations in applying the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) methodology to produce systematic reviews and/or healthcare guidelines. Additionally, the aim of the AUB GRADE Center is to build capacity in GRADE methodology through mentor-ship, education, training, advocacy and collaborations. The AUB GRADE Center also aims to conduct methodological work for furthering GRADE in areas that include guideline development and adaptation. Services offered at the AUB GRADE Center are:

  • Development and adaptation of guidelines using the GRADE methodology
  • Provide one-to-one support for grading the certainty of evidence and the strength of recommendations
  • Provision of educational sessions, graduate courses, and training workshops in guideline development and the GRADE methodology.
  • Biostatistics Unit (BSU)
    The BSU was established with the objective of providing statistical support and consultancy to researchers at AUB FM and at AUBMC. The ultimate aim of the BSU is to promote high-standard clinical research through appropriate statistical analysis. The BSU offers a wide range of services, including:

    • Proposal development (study design, data collection tools, sample size calculation, data analyses plan, and other proposal related issues)
    • Data analyses (interim analyses, data management, data cleaning, descriptive analyses, other analysis-related issues)
    • Manuscript preparation (tabulating results and graphic representation, write up of statistical analyses section, summarizing results, replying to journal’s editorial review, addressing reviewer’s comments, other publication-related issues).


    Clinical Epidemiology Unit (CEU)
    The CEU specializes in systemic reviews, meta-analysis, and guideline development. The CEU aims to strengthen the field of clinical epidemiology in Lebanon and establish AUB as its leader in the Middle East region. The unit benefits from close collaboration with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University in Canada. The CEU also co-hosts the World Health Organization (WHO) Center for Systematic Reviews in Health Policy and Systems Research. Services offered at the CEU are:

    • Support in planning, designing, and conducting:
      • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the clinical and public health fields;
      • Studies of methodology of clinical trials and systematic reviews;
      • Clinical and public health practice guidelines.
    • Workshops on conducting systematic reviews and developing clinical practice guidelines


    Clinical Research Unit (CRU)
    The CRU was set-up to foster a culture of quality medical research through empowering investigators, facilitating efficient operations, and providing research support services at AUB. The CRU plans on optimizing outpatient clinical research operations by guiding faculty members and their research assistants throughout the conduct of clinical trials. The CRU is a functional unit that provides a number of facilities to the principal investigators conducting clinical trials at AUBMC. These facilities are patient encounter room, physical assessment room, phlebotomy and blood processing area, specimen and medication storage area.
    Services offered at the CRU are:

    • Study conduct and management:
    • Provide space for patient examination and interviews
    • Provide phlebotomy and sample collection services
    • Maintain case report forms, facilitate study monitoring


    The Research Education Unit (REU)
    The REU was established to provide AUB FM and AUBMC faculty, students, trainees, and staff involved in research with a wide range of resources and educational tools. As such, the REU plays a major role in supporting the institutional vision towards promoting an ethical and innovative research culture.
    REU services include:

    • Provide a number of educational programs to individuals inside AUB
    • Offer a wide range of training workshops to individuals inside and outside AUB
    • Accommodate training workshops for the region.
  • Fellowship and Residency Research Program (FRRP)
    The FRRP was implemented in 201 and it is currently directed by Dr. Hani Tamim. This program is a required component of the Fellowship and Residency program where categorical residents and clinical fellows are required to carry out one research project throughout their residency or fellowship period.


    Medical Research Volunteer Program (MRVP)
    The MRVP is co-directed by Dr. Bilal Kaafarani and Dr. Hani Tamim. This program matches undergraduate students at AUB interested in medical research experience with clinical and basic science researchers. It targets students interested in becoming involved in the field of medical research early on in their academic career.


    Faculty Advancement Program in Clinical Research (FAP)
    The FAP supports junior faculty members in AUB FM in advancing their academic career by providing them with soft and hard skills necessary for clinical researchers. Completing this program is a requirement for all new and junior faculty members who are interested in applying for the Seed grant.


    Nursing Advancement Program (NAP)
    The NAP, developed in coordination with the Nursing Administration office at AUBMC, aims at training registered nurses at AUBMC in clinical research with the ultimate goal of advancing their clinical research knowledge and supporting their involvement in clinical research projects.


    The Research Personnel Program (RPP) and the Post-Doctoral Program
    The aim of these two programs is to support research fellows and research assistants/coordinators at AUBMC in developing research skills and competencies that allow them to advance their research career.

  • Global Evidence Synthesis Initiative (GESI)
    GESI aims to develop the capacity of producing and using research synthesis among policymakers and practitioners in low- and middle-income countries.


    Human Research Protection Program (HRPP)
    HRPP at AUB is responsible for the development, dissemination, and implementation of the university policies related to human research protection. It assesses the effectiveness and independence of the Institutional Review Boards of AUB and ensures continuous education for investigators and research staff about the ethical conduct of research.


    Scholars in HeAlth Research Program (SHARP)
    SHARP provides graduates with the required foundation to pursue a career in clinical and translational research, focusing on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). SHARP offers both a certificate and an MSc. Degree in Health Research, both are jointly awarded by the Faculty of Medicine (FM) and the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at AUB.


    The Center for Systematic Reviews on Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK)
    SPARK is a collaborative effort between the FHS and FM at AUB. It produces systematic reviews that respond to national and regional health policy and system priority needs.


For more information about the CRI, please contact us at:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Phone number: +961-1- 350 000 ext. 5452 or 5469
  • Mailing Address:
    American University of Beirut
    P.O.Box 11-0236 / CRI
    Riad El-Solh / Beirut 1107 2020
  • Offices location:
    Academic and Clinical Center (ACC), 3rd floor
    American University of Beirut Medical Center
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