Better Medicines Through Research
At KCS, our mission is to help improve the lives of individuals and their families through the development of new medications for neuropsychiatric disorders. We emphasis direct patient care and prioritize patient safety.
Dr. Cherian Verghese is a physician-investigator, who has dedicated his career to developing new medications to treat neuropsychiatric disorders. After earning his medical degree in Bombay, India, he completed training in Psychiatry and Neurology, and received Board Certification in India, UK, and USA. He spent the early part of his career at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in academic psychiatry. He completed a Fellowship in Psychopharmacology Research, on the neuroendocrinology of polydipsia-hyponatremia in persons with schizophrenia. He served as Inpatient Director and Associate Chair of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Verghese is a proud family man, enjoys travel and outdoor activities, as well as random facts and humor.
In 2003, he founded Keystone Clinical Studies (KCS) as an independent clinical trial site with his brother, Tom Verghese as co-founder, and continued to grow the site after Tom passed away in 2019. He has been the Principal Investigator on over 130 clinical trials to date and has been instrumental in the FDA approval of medications in over 10 different indications.
Stephen Litman, MD, HMDC
Dr. Litman joined the KCS team in June 2019 as a sub-investigator with 30+ years of clinical experience as an internist and geriatrician. He has extensive experience with the geriatric population through his roles as a primary care physician, hospitalist, medical director of an inpatient dementia unit, and hospice medical director. His sense of humor and dedication to patient care and safety, helps put our new patients as ease.
Laura Cekot, MSW, LSW
Laura started with KCS in February 2015 as a study coordinator and rater, working on 50+ studies during that time. In July 2018, she was promoted to Site Manager, training and managing all site staff. She is in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations at our site. Laura has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Temple University. She graduated from West Chester University in 2014 with her Masters in Social Work and then went on to earn her licensure. Her dedication to our staff and company ensures everyday runs smoothly.
Shannon Walsh, BSW
Study Coordinator, Rater
Shannon joined KCS in April 2018 and has thrived in her role as study coordinator. After receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Millersville University in 2010, she spent her time working in mental health crisis for a number of year. While managing a majority of our studies, Shannon's attention to detail and dedication to patient safety remains exceptional. Her organizational skills and ability to connect with others makes her the go to coordinator. Shannon also serves as a rater for many of our Alzheimer's studies.
Rachel Glick, MSW
Study Coordinator, Rater
Rachel started with KCS in July 2020, and quickly took the lead managing recruitment efforts for our site. Rachel is UPenn graduate, earning her Masters in Social Work in 2019. She spent the beginning of her career working with the mental health and geriatric populations in an acute inpatient setting. Rachel manages a couple of our Alzheimer's studies, including a pre-clinical prevention study. She also serves as a rater for all of our Alzheimer's studies. Her positive energy have been a wonderful addition to our team!
Amber first joined the KCS team in August 2020 as a medical assistant and quickly and seamlessly worked her way up to study coordinator. Amber graduated in 2020 with an Associate's Degree in Psychology and is a certified nursing assistant. She has extensive experience with older adults and has worked in multiple roles in an inpatient setting with the geriatric and mental health population. Amber's warmth, enthusiasm, and resourcefulness ensures that patients receive the most accurate information and the best care possible.
Laura Tuscano (also known as LT), MSW, LCSW
Study Coordinator, Rater
As one of the newest members of our team, Laura joined KCS in September 2021. Laura earned her Masters in Social Work from West Chester University in 2014 and obtained her clinical licensure a couple years later. Laura spent most of her career working in family-based therapy, serving as both a staff and working her way up to the program's clinical supervisor. Her dedication to patient care and eagerness to learn has made her the perfect fit. She is also being trained to serve as a rater for many of our Alzheimer's and depression studies.
Nicole Williams, RN
Nicole serves as one of our infusion nurses, coming to us with over 25 years of experience. She has spent 20 years specializing in labor and delivery and has worked for the last 5 years, focusing on infusion services. Nicole also serves as our pharmacist and assists with medication management for one of our Alzheimer's studies. Her bright smile and positive energy make our patients feel right at home.
Christy Kuebler, BSN, RN, PCCN
Christy has been with Keystone Clinical Studies since May 2021. She's been a nurse for over 16 years and has been specializing in infusions for the last 3 years. She currently serves as one of our back-up infusion nurses.
Perla joined our team in February of 2022, bringing lots of passion and dedication to patient care to our team. Perla earned her Associated Degree in 2013 and has been a practicing medical assistant for the last 5-6 years. She went on to earn her Registered Medical Assistant title in April of 2019. Perla's positive attitude, quick wit, and hard work have really helped to elevate the energy of the office and enhance the patient experience.
Community Outreach and Recruitment Engagement Coordinator
Dionne is the most recent addition to our team bringing lots of energy and enthusiasm. Dionne earned her bachelor's degree in communications from Temple University in 2008. She has spent the last 5 years coordinating and recruiting individuals for home health care. She has a plethora of experience working with the geriatric population and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need the most. She serves as the keystone, connecting our research to the community.
Dr. Verghese & Keystone's Achievements
- Best Intern Among All The Medical Schools Of Bombay
- First In The University Of Bombay For The Psychiatry Boards
- Best Teacher In The Psychiatry Residency Program At Einstein Philadelphia
- Founding Member And Special Honor For 10 Years Of Service At CNS Summit
- 2019 Charles Ewing Award From The Eastern Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society For Service To Seniors In The Delaware Valley
- Scientific Research Award, NAMI Montco, 2020
- Outstanding Teacher, Albert Einstein Dept of Psychiatry, 2001
- NAMI 9th Annual Benefit for the Brain Scientific Research Award
Keystone Clinical Studies is located in Plymouth Meeting, PA, minutes from the suburbs and major expressways of Philadelphia. Our new, purpose-built site offers a large infusion suite, as well as multiple private offices and exams rooms.
- CLIA waived laboratory for UDS and HCG testing
- Infusion room with 6 chairs and pumps, crash cart, AED, and oxygen tank
- Infusion service with highly experienced nurses who are trained in clinical trial procedures
- ECG/EKG capabilities
- Trained staff to perform EEGs
- -70° freezer for sample storage
- Large laboratory refrigerator for investigational drug storage
- Temperature controlled, secured electronic access, doubled locked investigational drug storage room, with 24 hour video monitoring
- Dry ice delivery to suite
- Daily courier pickups
- Long-term off-site record storage
- Dedicated private monitoring space for CRAs with access to scanner, copier, and fax
- Free high-speed internet for patients, visitors, and monitors
- Patient waiting area with TV and refreshments
- Free parking in private lot
- Transportation may be provided depending on the study
- Contracted, highly reliable imaging facility at a teaching hospital, for MRIs, amyloid PET, tau PET scans
- Contracted ophthalmology provider
- Nearest emergency room/hospital is 2 miles away
- 24/7 emergency phone number
- 7 qualified raters
- Dedicated Recruitment Specialist, with a focus on diversity recruitment
- Keystone Clinical Studies is a Catalyst Site with Syneos Health and a Partner Site with IQVIA
- Ambient and refrigerated centrifuges