|| Spring 2010, Issue 11
Staff at the Tufts Health Sciences Campus Institutional Review Board
The team of professionals at the Institutional Review Board (IRB) helps advance research involving human subjects on the health sciences campuses in Boston and Grafton. The Health Sciences Campus IRB serves Tufts Medical Center, the Floating Hospital for Children, New England Eye Center, the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, the Tufts University schools of medicine and dental medicine, the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The Health Sciences Campus IRB is divided into two units: IRB-Red (meets earlier in the month) and IRB-Blue (meets later in the month). The red and blue units do not specialize; each is constituted and equipped to review any type of research involving human subjects. Some staff members work with both, while others work primarily with IRB-Red or IRB-Blue.
Jennifer Graf, director of IRB operations, has been with the Health Sciences Campus IRB since 2001. With a background in biology and chemistry and six years as a senior research coordinator in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Tufts University School of Medicine, Graf is well prepared to work with the IRB and researchers. “I spend most of my time helping investigators develop protocols, and I facilitate the review of ongoing and new research,” says Graf. “Daily I field a range of questions from first-time IRB users needing to know what to submit, how to submit, etc., to experienced investigators seeking help with complex research ethics and regulatory questions.”
IRB administrative assistants Rebecca Pudlin and Mikki Hui welcome visitors to the IRB office, which is located on the 8th floor of 35 Kneeland Street in Boston. Pudlin and Hui both joined the office in the summer of 2008. They direct incoming phone calls, process incoming submissions, and provide general administrative support.
IRB coordinators help investigators with study submissions, process amendment approvals, and pre-review new study submissions in preparation for review by the convened IRB. Julie Morelli Novak, senior IRB-Red coordinator, has been a member of the office since November 2004. Novak is a certified clinical research coordinator and is the coordinator for Western IRB and NCI Central IRB submissions. Elizabeth Blume, IRB-Blue coordinator, joined the IRB office staff in April 2010. Blume is also the coordinator for the Scientific Review Committee, which reviews selected new intervention protocols prior to IRB review. Meaghan Murray, assistant IRB coordinator, joined the IRB in July 2009. Murray is the primary contact for guidance with exempt and expedited new-study submissions.
Christine M. Choy, IRB-Red continuing review coordinator, and Robert J. Santoro, IRB-Blue continuing review coordinator, both joined the office in the summer of 2009. Choy and Santoro process continuing review submissions and amendments and prepare them for review by the convened IRB.
The Tufts Health Sciences Campus IRB staff are available to meet with researchers and answer questions. The main office number is (617) 636-7512.
For more information, please go to http://tnemcirb.tufts.edu.