Images of research: The Whipple Years
Note the austere, no-frills appearance of Wallace O. Fenn's research laboratory at the School of Medicine and Dentistry in this 1926 photo. That was by design, notes Christopher Hoolihan, Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarian at the Edward G. Miner Library and Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences. George Whipple, the first dean of the school, agreed to come here in part because he was allowed significant control over the building plans. "In the interests of economy of construction and ease of maintenance, Whipple eliminated all decorative embellishments -- to the extent of leaving ceilings exposed (to better access pipes and conduits), brick walls unpainted, and concrete floors untiled and uncarpeted," Hoolihan explained at a recent SCORE presentation. Indeed, stairwells were one of the few places where paint was applied -- in big white circles. Why? Tobacco chewing was in vogue. "You don't swallow tobacco juice, you just spit it out," Hoolihan notes. Whipple hoped those white circles would deter tobacco chewers from "slobbering on the stairwells." We'll learn more about Whipple, Fenn and the early years of research at the Medical Center in upcoming issues. (Photo from the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the Edward G. Miner Library.)
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Deadline near for University Research Award applications
UR researchers have until Feb. 3 to apply for University Research Awards, which provide seed money on a competitive basis for innovative research projects that, when sufficiently developed, are likly to attract external support. Applicants for planning grants are also encouraged.
Originally called Provost's Multidisciplinary Awards, these awards provide up to $37,500 to match funds committed by an applicant's home school, for a total of up to $75,000 per award. The total available for the awards is $500,000, including $250,000 provided every year by the president, and the matching funds from the schools.
A committee of faculty from across UR reviews the applications. Click here to see the Request for Proposals and an application form.
Contact Vini Falciano, University Director for Institutional Research and Assistant Provost, with questions. Completed applications should be e-mailed directly to him as well.
NSF updates its guidelines for grants
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has just come out with its new grant application and award guidelines for proposals submitted, or due, on or after Feb. 24. Significant changes include:
1. Addition to the certification regarding Conflict of Interest regarding the appropriate disclosure process;
2. Reiteration that indirect costs are not allowed on participant support costs;
3. Small-scale pilot of a new environmental impacts process with a few programs, prior to NSF-wide implementation;
4. Updated process for program income reporting.
Changes are summarized by chapter at the start of the Grant Proposal Guide and Award and Administration Guide sections. Click here to see the document in its entirety.
Chinese University of Hong Kong welcomes research visits
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Inbound Research Mobility Scheme enables faculty from other countries to visit CUHK for up to two weeks during the period of August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015. CUHK provides hotel/campus accommodation during the research visit, with all other costs born by award recipients. The visiting faculty members may participate in academic activities of exploratory and developmental nature, including but not limited to, developing research collaborations with CUHK faculty members, delivering seminars, and engaging in academic exchanges and meetings with faculty members and students of CUHK. The deadline to apply is March 31. Click here for details of the Inbound Researcher Mobility scheme.
CUHK bilateral teaching exchange also has research component
CUHK is a fellow member of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). Todd St. Vrain, Manager for International Initiatives and UR WUN Coordinator, can help facilitate introductions to CUHK faculty. University of Rochester faculty already with contacts at CUHK may also be interested in CUHK's Bilateral Teaching Exchange Program, which also includes a research component. This program also has a March 31 deadline. Click here for details of the Bilateral Teaching Exchange Program.
To the victors go the spoils: DOE scholarships
in recognition of the UR team that won the National Geothermal Student Competition in 2013, the DOE is providing a $5000 Geothermal Studies Scholarship for University of Rochester juniors, seniors, and/or graduate students. The applications are due on February 11. Contact Desmond Stubbs for more information., ATTN: Desmond Stubbs PHD, Senior Project Manager, ORAU/ORISE, PO Box 117, MS 36,
Oak Ridge, TN.
OHSP reviews are collaborative, educational
Ensuring that human subject research is conducted in accordance with federal regulations and Research Subjects Review Board (RSRB) requirements is the responsibility of every researcher. Any number of shortcomings could raise red flags in the eyes of federal regulators or an outside auditor.
For example: When non-approved personnel are used to obtain consent or expired consent forms are used . . . When approved protocols and data safety monitoring plans aren't followed . . . When PI's are lax in their oversight . . . When there are gaps in regulatory files . . .
These were some of the most frequent shortcomings uncovered last year during routine quality improvement reviews conducted by the Office for Human Subject Protection, explained Jennifer Dolan, a quality improvement associate with OHSP, at a recent SCORE presentation.
Each year, across the entire University, the office conducts routine reviews of research projects. Dolan said one of the goals is to prevent situations that might pose risk to subjects or lead to regulatory citations if reviewed by an outside federal agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration.
Note: This year's reviews will focus on PI-initiated phase I trials, projects involving non-English consent forms, and student/resident/fellow projects.
Reviews typically last only a few hours, and are followed up with draft findings that are sent to the PI for review and response before a final report is completed.
"The process is meant to be collaborative and educational, with input from both departments, with the overall goal of the review being to ensure good clinical practices and regulation adherence," Dolan said.
The office also conducts "directed" reviews at the request of the Research Subjects Review Board. Reviews can also be requested by study teams, for example to prepare for an outside audit.
For more information, click here.
Keeping your data secure: A password does not "equal" encryption!
PHI. . . PCI. . . HIPAA. . . FISMA. . . For Medical Center researchers and clinicians, these acronyms underscore the importance of safeguarding confidential information about research subjects and patients.
The information must be protected both "at rest" (where it is stored) and "in motion" (when being transmitted by email or web), noted Michael Pinch, URMC's Chief Information Security Officer at a recent CTSI presentation.
That means it must be properly encrypted, which is NOT guaranteed simply by using password protection, Pinch emphasized. "That's a common misunderstanding."
"Depending on the technology you're using, just putting a passcode on a Microsoft document, for example, does not necessarily mean that it's encrypted. A passcode on a laptop computer does not necessarily mean the drive itself is encrypted unless you're using FireVault, Check Point, BitLocker or other encryption software."
Some common encryption methods for data "in motion" include VPN (virtual private networks), https, "zip" software options (just be sure to share the password over a different channel!) and !secure in the subject line for email.
Questions? Contact Pinch or the URMC Information Security Office.
(For those of us who do not live with the acronyms day in and day out, PHI stands for Protected Health Information. PCI (Payment Card Industry) refers to information about credit card users and their accounts. HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which lays out strict rules to protect the privacy of individual health information, sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information and requires notification following a breach of security. The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) assigns responsibilities to various agencies and those they contract with, including recipients of grants, to ensure the security of data in the federal government.)
(In upcoming issues we'll look at other do's and don'ts when it comes to proper storage of research data, starting with the "dropbox dilemma.")
Donations for cancer center research a "double win"
When Wilmot Cancer Center launches a major fundraising drive this spring to support its research program, a major theme will be the "double win" that this represents.
"Many people are motivated to give to cancer research, and there are all kinds of places, including national foundations, where they can do this," Jonathan Friedberg, Wilmot's director, noted at a recent town hall meeting. "So why should they give here?"
"Most people who give to cancer centers either have had a good experience and want to enhance the level of care even more. Or, if they have a parent who is sick, they want to make sure their parent is able to get the best care here so they don't have to go someplace else.
"The best way to guarantee all of that is to have a research mission here. Most of our clinicians wouldn't be here if we didn't have an active research program. We all chose to come to a place like this because of the research that occurs here. So if you want to recruit the best clinicians and have the best clinical care, you need to invest in the research program. You get a double win by doing so. You get good science and you get good quality of care."
Introducing a new faculty member
John W. Ingle has joined the Department of Otolaryngology as an assistant professor, and has established the URMC Voice Center to provide the special care needed by vocal performers and professional voice users. He received his MD from Boston University in 2006 and completed his residency in Otolaryngology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 2011. He recently completed a two-year fellowship in Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice at the University of Pittsburgh Voice Center. His research endeavors involve better understanding of cortical control of the larynx, advanced clinical and research use of laryngeal electromyography, and neurologic disorders that affect voice, breathing and swallowing. Click here to read more . . .
Congratulations to . . .
Sina Ghaemmaghami, an Assistant Professor of Biology, who has been recognized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a scientist who "exemplifies the role" of teacher-scholar. The NSF has named Ghaemmaghami a winner of its Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER).
The award includes a five-year grant totaling $950,000 to fund Ghaemmaghami's research into protein folding.
UR Research in the news
A Sunday New York Times opinion piece by Maria Konnikova is devoted to Prof. Maiken Nedergaard's studies showing how sleep plays a crucial role in our brain's physiological maintenance.
Good news for the Laboratory for Laser Energetics: The FY2014 Appropriations Bill includes $64 million for the LLE, $5.25 million more than was allocated to the Lab last year under sequestration. UR President Joel Seligman thanked members of our Congressional delegation for their support of this funding, noting that LLE "is a vital contributor to our national and economic security, a critical component to the strategic work on an independent energy future, and an invaluable source of scientific leadership. With around 1,000 individuals involved in its program, the continued investment in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics preserves its status as a unique national resource for research and education in science and technology and a major driver of New York's high-tech economy." Read more . . .
Mark your calendar
Today:The Center for Integrated Research Computing (CIRC) symposium features Oleg Prezhdo, Professor of Chemistry, describing studies providing a unifying description of quantum dynamics through modeling of quantum dots. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Computer Studies Building (CSB) room 209 on the River Campus. Pizza and soda will be served.
Jan. 21: OHSP Quiz Show: A Human Subject Protections and Good Clinical Practice Refresher, with Tiffany Gommel, Director, Research Subjects Review Board, and Kelly Unsworth, Director of Research Education & Training, Office for Human Subject Protection, 12:15-1:15 p.m., Helen Wood Hall Auditorium (1W-304).
Jan. 24: Thomas Cech, who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989 for discoveries of the catalytic properties of RNA, will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Medical Scientist Research Symposium, a half-day event that also includes a poster session. Cech's lecture will be at 1 p.m. in the Class of '62 Auditorium. The symposium is held to showcase the research and scientific accomplishments of the UR Medical Scientist Training Program.
Jan. 28:Crossing Elmwwood: River Campus-Medical Center Research Collaborations seminar series continues with: "Neuroimaging Biomarkers in HIV-Associated CNS Injury," featuring Giovanni Schifitto, Professor, Departments of Neurology and Imaging Sciences and Jianhui Zhong, Professor, Departments of Imaging Sciences, Biomedical Engineering and Physics. 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Helen Wood Hall Auditorium (1W-304).
Feb. 3: Deadline to apply for Center For AIDS Research awards proposals targeted at the following areas of scientific interest: CNS, HIV and Aging and Age Related Complications including Cancer and Cardiovascular Risk; HIV and RNA and Viral latency/Reactivation. Awards are for one year with maximum funding per application of $35,000 in Direct Costs. Applications must be submitted to Jennifer Lynch.
Feb .13: Building a Tool Kit for Research Quality Part II. University Quality Improvement teams share their processes and pearls of wisdom. Learn from the best. Sponsored by SCORE. 12:00-1:30 p.m., Helen Wood Hall (1w-502).
Feb. 27: Deadline to apply for Iberdrola USA Foundation Scholarships for students who will be engaged in master's level, energy-related studies next school year. Targeted for students at UR and University of Maine. Click here to learn more.
Please send suggestions and comments to Bob Marcotte.. To see back issues, click here.