Pitt Research
Office of Research Protections

Irradiator Safely Removed from Crawford Hall

On November 8, an irradiator previously used for exposing samples to gamma radiation was removed from Crawford Hall in preparation for future building renovations. This device contained a Cesium-137 sealed source, which had decayed since the installation of the irradiator in the 1960s (Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years).  

Safe removal of the device, in accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regulations, required extensive planning and coordination of efforts. A specialized cask weighing 10,000 pounds was procured to contain the device for removal by a company specializing in the handling of radioactive sources.

Removal of the irradiator was funded in part by the Source Collection and Threat Reduction (SCATR) program, an initiative to reduce the number of unused radioactive sealed sources stored by licensees.

ORP’s Radiation Safety Division Ensures Safe Use of Radiation

ORP's Radiation Safety Division is responsible for ensuring that radioactive material and ionizing radiation-producing equipment are used optimally and safely on campus. Pitt's Radiation Safety program is managed by a team of health physicists and technical specialists who conduct inspections and survey equipment ranging from irradiators in laboratories to x-ray machines in the Dental School. UPMC has also contracted ORP's Radiation Safety Division to oversee radiation use in its academic hospitals.

The Radiation Safety Division supports the University Radiation Safety Committee, which must approve all uses of radiation on campus. It also provides required training to radiation workers and monitors radiation exposures of these workers to ensure they do not exceed safe limits.

Happy Holidays!

ORP staff, volunteer faculty, and committee members extend sincere gratitude to the Pitt research community for productive collaborations this year.

Together, we sucessfully navigated accreditation site visits for both the Human Research Protection and Animal Research Protection programs, an inspection of our Radiation Safety program, and other challenges.

We look forward to working together with the research community in 2023 to ensure that Pitt research is conducted efficiently, ethically, and in accordance with all pertinent laws and regulations.

We hope you have a restful winter break and a successful new year!

ORP Services During Winter Break: December 23 — January 2

As a reminder, except for emergency services, ORP will be closed during the University recess, December 23, 2022 — January 2, 2023. Protocol submissions and other inquiries will not be addressed until campus reopens on January 3, 2023. If you will require our services over the recess, please contact us as soon as possible.

Data-Sharing Plans Required for NIH Applications Starting January 25, 2023

Starting on January 25, 2023, applications to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) must comply with the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, and include a plan and budget for data-sharing.

If you are confused about how to compose a data-sharing plan, the Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) is here to help.  Their guide outlines all of the required elements of the data-sharing plan. You may also contact HSLS Data Services for more information.

NIH recognizes that not all data can be shared, and that data from human subjects must be appropriately de-identified prior to sharing. Questions about standards for data de-identification can be directed to the Human Research Protection Office.

Accolades from USDA about Pitt Animal Research

Pitt's Animal Research Protection program undergoes unannounced inspections by Veterinary Medical Officers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at least annually.  The most recent inspection occurred December 12-15, 2022. The USDA complimented our animal research program, and found no violations of the Animal Welfare Act and Regulations.

Follow-Up: When to Acknowledge a Grant Award

An article in the November Newsletter generated a number of questions about when it is appropriate to acknowledge a grant award. Such acknowledgements are required when:

  • the activities that contributed to the publication directly arose from the award, and
  • the activities are within the scope of the award.

The latter point is important to consider, as funding agencies typically must approve a change in scope for research, and verify that the research complies with funding agency requirements.

For example, if a grant funded exclusively to conduct bench and animal research is acknowledged on an article involving human subject research, a funding agency may be concerned that important required elements were not included in the application.

Cite your grant judiciously!

ORP Support Service

Need help in ensuring that your research meets regulatory requirements and ethical standards?

Then use the ORP Support Service!

Just answer a few questions and we will put you in touch with the right professionals to help facilitate your research.


United Way Campaign

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Whether you're joining our Pitt Research United Way Team in one of our events or through our Pitt United Way website, please consider donating! #ChangemakersUnite

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