Claire Dunn on the CU Boulder Campus
Dr. Claire Dunne
IRB Director
Research & Innovation Office

Why did you initially apply to work at CU?

My family and I had been living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. In the aftermath, my husband lost his job and moved up to Boulder to start a new job. I relocated with our children the following summer when school finished and stayed at home for a few months sorting out schools and housing.

I was not really quite ready to go back to work when I saw the job posting in the IRB office on the Boulder campus. I had been part of a team that went through a major overhaul of the IRB office in my previous institution, and following the restructure I chose to take the opportunity to work as an internal auditor rather than stay in the IRB office. I had always wondered what it would have been like to stay with the IRB rather than moving to internal audit. When I saw the job posting, I knew it was time to find out. That was nearly 8 years ago.

What makes CU a great place to work?

There are many things that make this a great place to work. There are some incredibly talented people who work here and each time I meet with one of them, generally about an IRB related issue, I learn so much more about what they are doing. I am sure I get more out of the meetings than they get about the IRB process.

What is/are your favorite aspect(s) of working at CU?

I like the diversity of people we help. One day, I can be working with an undergraduate student on their first venture into the world of human subjects’ research then the next I am working on a tougher ethical issue with a well-seasoned investigator. I feel the IRB world is a strange one, and if I can help people through the process in a streamlined, efficient manner, I have achieved something positive.

I remember my early days as a researcher and finding the whole ethics review totally incomprehensible. All of us in the IRB office live and breathe this stuff and sometimes we still struggle, so I often imagine what it must be like for the researcher who has never done this before.

What is the best part of your workday?

I like first thing in the morning. You have the whole day ahead of you and the “to-do” list looks very achievable at that time of the day.

What do you enjoy most about living in Colorado?

The weather! I loved living in New Orleans but I did not like the hot humid weather. It made any type of outdoor sports very uncomfortable at best! Also, the flying bugs are not as big here.

What is your favorite campus/neighborhood location?

The Boulder campus is so beautiful it is hard to say which my favorite location is. When I first came here the C4C did not exist, there was just one huge parking lot. I like the building they put up and inside the corridors feel bright and airy. Plus, the food served in the Dining Hall is awesome, a great place to go for lunch.

What is your favorite area restaurant?

There are so many great restaurants in Boulder so picking a favorite is incredibly difficult. I really like The Kitchen on Pearl Street. The food is locally grown, the staff is friendly and there is a great atmosphere. I also have to say the “Le Parfait” dessert at L’Atelier is amazing.

What do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

I don’t seem to get much spare time these days. Running children around to various after-school activities and attending their sports games takes up most of my evenings and weekends. I do like riding my bicycle. I didn’t have a bike when we first moved to the U.S. then when we relocated to Colorado my mother-in-law bought me one for my birthday. It is so nice riding on the trails around here - much safer than the roads I used to ride in London.