Pitt Research
Office of Research Protections

Institutional Conflict of Interest (ICOI) Policy Update

The University's proposed Institutional Conflict of Interest (ICOI) Policy has been endorsed by the Faculty Assembly and Senate Council.  Pending approval by senior University leadership and the Chancellor, it will become an official University policy.

The purpose of this Policy is to set forth the standards and procedures for identification, review, and formulation of strategies for management of potential ICOIs.

An ICOI is a situation in which the University's financial interests, its relationship with external entities, or the external engagements of Senior University Officials could reasonably be perceived as interfering with its business decisions or its core missions of research, scholarship, and teaching.

Examples of potential ICOIs are purchases of goods or services from companies owned by University leaders or gifts from a company to the University that could appear to influence the conduct of University research sponsored by the company.

The ICOI committee will review transactions that could be perceived as ICOIs and provide management plans to senior University leaders.

The ICOI committee will include two co-chairs, eight faculty representatives (Associate Professors or Professors), and a staff representative.  The committee membership will be designated by the University Senate, and if you would like to volunteer as a faculty representative, please complete this form.

MyDisclosures Supervisor Reviews Due June 15

The Annual Disclosure Certification period ended on April 15, 2022.  Supervisor reviews of Annual Disclosure Certifications are due by June 15, 2022. If a mandatory discloser selected you as a primary or secondary supervisor in MyDisclosures, you will receive weekly reminders from MyDisclosures when there are forms awaiting your review. To complete these reviews, login to www.mydisclosures.pitt.edu and click on the “Supervisor Center” tab at the top of the page.

To view our MyDisclosures training video for supervisors, please click here.  Step-by-step instructions on how to complete your supervisor reviews are available here.  Please contact mydisclosures_support@pitt.edu if you need assistance.

AAHRPP Site Visit

On May 4-6, the University's Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) was reviewed by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP).  AAHRPP accreditation demonstrates that an HRPP meets the highest standards of excellence.

ORP wants to extend its sincere thanks to all who participated in the site visit. During the visit, site visitors interviewed over 70 faculty and staff and leaders from components that comprise our Human Research Protection Program.  They reviewed multiple research protocols; analyzed the application of our policies and the federal regulations; and evaluated COI management plans, contracts with industry sponsors and IRB meeting minutes.  

Although the site visit findings have not yet been received, the comments made by the site visitors were highly complimentary of our HRPP. The site visitors highlighted HRPP's many strengths including its leadership, data-driven decision-making and synergy between different components. Constructive feedback was also offered, which will be incorporated into day-to-day practices.

ORP Honors Marissa Arlet for 40 Years of Service to the University!

This spring, Marissa Arlet, Protocol Review Manager in the Division of Animal Research Protection, celebrates 40 years of service to the University. ORP proudly recognizes Marissa for this incredible milestone! 

As a student at Pitt considering a career working with animals, Marissa accepted a position as an Animal Technician in the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources to gain experience. She spent more than 20 years in the animal facility, becoming certified as a Laboratory Animal Technologist and a Laboratory Animal Manager. Marissa held various positions, eventually becoming an Animal Facility Supervisor. She was very involved in the Three Rivers Branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.

The laboratory animal experience and knowledge she gained over the years made Marissa a good candidate for the position of IACUC Coordinator--before assuming her current role as Protocol Review Manager.

Marissa has served as a member of the University of Pittsburgh Staff Council for 20 years.

"I know many people are amazed that I have worked at one institution for 40 years," says Marissa. "While I have only worked in two departments in those years, I have never felt stagnant in my work. I have had the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience that have always made my jobs challenging and rewarding."

IBC Announces New Stem Cell Online Application

In early June, the Institutional Biosafety Division will add a new human stem cell online application to the MyIBC system. To access the stem cell application, users will need to complete the Stem Cell Module in the CITI Training system. Current hSCRO protocol holders will be contacted and provided instructions and assistance in transferring their paper applications into the online system.  Please contact the IBC staff at IBC_Support@pitt.edu if you have any questions.

IRB and IACUC Protocol Reviews and University Funding

In Fiscal Year 2021 (FY'21), the IRB and IACUC cumulatively completed over 10,000 protocol reviews, as indicated in the chart below. The reviews included 2,300 new protocols and over 8,000 modifications of approved protocols.

Funding agencies require IRB or IACUC approval to award grants involving human subject or vertebrate animal research.  In FY'21, 63% of Pitt funding ($440M) was related to research requiring IRB or IACUC approval.

Thus, the extensive work done by the IACUC and IRB are critical to maintaining the University's funding.


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