IRB fee changes go into effect Oct. 1

On October 1, 2017, OHSU Institutional Review Board fees will increase for industry-sponsored projects submitted through eIRB. Study teams should begin incorporating the fee structure in clinical trial budgets for new projects anticipated to be submitted on or after this date. Existing contracts will not be affected.

IRB fees are charged for industry-sponsored studies; no fees are charged for the review of foundation, federal, internally funded, or unfunded research. IRB fees are directly invoiced to the sponsor.

Please visit the IRB Fee Policy page for details on fee structures and information regarding IRB billing. You may also email Research Integrity at or contact the IRB manager, David Holmgren, at 503-346-3528 or

Alice Graham: In the Lab

Early brain development is influenced by the environment—including conflict and stress levels. Understanding the mechanisms of this influence might lead to a more nuanced understanding of the neural bases of mental health disorders. That is the goal of Alice Graham, Ph.D., featured in this month’s OHSU series In the Lab. Graham is a postdoc in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience and conducts research in the Fair Neuroimaging Lab. She recently published a paper demonstrating a link between maternal inflammation during pregnancy and risks for psychiatric disorders in children.

Alice GrahamWhat do you work on and why is it important?

I study how environmental conditions relate to early brain development and risk for mental health problems. In research with my collaborators, we’ve found that we can see the emergence of complex brain systems already by the time of birth. These systems are later very important for mental health, and for cognitive and emotional functioning more generally. We’ve also demonstrated that conditions during pregnancy are linked to the newborn brain in ways that are relevant to psychiatric disorders. If we have a better understanding of these early, foundational processes of brain development and key environmental influences, we may be able to prevent brain based disorders which are very difficult to treat. 
From another angle, my research on early brain development and mental health is fundamentally about how humans come to be able to regulate emotions and make decisions — and these things are relevant to the current political climate. I used to study history and saw that people seem to do the same things over and over again. I thought, “Can we change something here — can we look into the brain and try to figure out how and why we repeat these patterns?” That was one of the reasons I got into psychology.
What’s been your most exciting moment of discovery?
When I looked at the results of my first brain imaging study, I was able to see that the response to a stressor in infants’ brains looked similar to what we would expect in an adult brain. So something that we thought of as a brain system that didn’t develop until much later was already visible in the first year of life. That was important and exciting, because it really changed our thinking on when and how we should take care of people’s brains, and influenced the way we think about long-term outcomes. 
What’s your day-to-day life as a researcher look like?
A part of my day is spent looking at images of brains and brain systems, doing analyses and writing papers and grants. I also spend a lot of time talking with collaborators, because the research I work on is a huge team effort that involves many people with different types of expertise. Within the lab we have psychologists, neuroscientists, computer scientists and biomedical engineers. I also Skype with collaborators around the country and the world. So I get to talk to a lot of really interesting people from different disciplines who are all committed to understanding the brain and helping prevent or treat mental illness.

About In the Lab

In the Lab looks at the people in the laboratories who help make OHSU such a vibrant research institution.  (Log-in required.) In each post, researchers describe their current work and answer the same three questions. Have someone you want to see featured? Email


New NIH Policy requires single IRB for multi-site research

On January 25, 2018, new rules take effect for NIH-funded multi-site research studies. Non-exempt human subjects research studies that are conducted at more than one U.S. site and use the same protocol must use a single IRB. This applies to all competing grant applications: new, renewal, revision, or resubmission.

What does the new policy mean for OHSU researchers?

OHSU has already begun streamlining the multi-site review process, using IRB reliance systems to waive oversight to other IRBs. In these cases, OHSU will continue to perform compliance reviews, which include research training compliance, OHSU-specific ancillary reviews, and required consent language.

OHSU study teams will be required to submit and maintain current versions of some study documents, including protocol, consent, and drug information. They must meet OHSU ancillary review requirements and complete OHSU required research trainings and Conflict of Interest Disclosures. OHSU study teams will also be required to inform the OHSU IRB of any event that is determined by the central IRB to be an “unanticipated problem.”

Please email Research Integrity at with any questions.

2017 Biomedical Innovation Program Drug Discovery awards announced

Two drug discovery projects have been named recipients of the 2017 Biomedical Innovation Program awards. The awards program is a collaboration of the Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute, OHSU Technology Transfer & Business Development, and the Knight Cancer Institute. The awards provide funds, project management, and mentorship to facilitate the development of innovative technologies at OHSU and accelerate their translation to the marketplace. This track of funding supports drug discovery platforms and early stage therapeutic technology projects.

Monika Davare, Ph.D.

Monika Davare, Ph.D.

Monika Davare, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics in the OHSU School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology and Oncology, received an award to develop a ‘hit to lead’ compound as a therapeutic agent to treat Ewing’s sarcoma and subsets of hematological malignancies.

Professor Beth Habecker, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Michael Cohen, Ph.D., both from the OHSU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, were awarded funding to develop novel compositions targeting protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma for nerve regeneration.

Beth Habecker, Ph.D., and Michael Cohen, Ph.D.

Beth Habecker, Ph.D., and Michael Cohen, Ph.D.

“OCTRI is proud to support these investigators and their important work furthering drug discovery at OHSU,” said David Ellison, M.D., director of OCTRI. “The Biomedical Innovation Program prioritizes commercialization outcomes to help develop technologies in ways that give them the best chance of successfully making it to the marketplace and improving human health. We are very excited to fund these projects for 2017, and look forward to working closely with the investigators.”

Detailed information on the Biomedical Innovation Program can be found on the OCTRI website.

Reproductive & Developmental Sciences Symposium: From Bench to Bedside

primateThe 2017 Annual Oregon National Primate Research Center Scientific Symposium is being hosted by the Division of Reproductive & Developmental Sciences. The symposium’s three hot topics are germ cell and embryonic development, fertility and in utero development, and fetal outcome and postnatal development.

2017 Annual ONPRC Scientific Symposium
Reproductive & Developmental Sciences: From Bench to Bedside

Friday, September 22, 2017
8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Oregon National Primate Research Center
OHSU West Campus

Submit poster presentation abstracts by email (300-word limit) before August 18.

Registration is free and includes breakfast, lunch, and an optional tour of the Center. Space is limited — early registration is recommended.


Biology of genomic methylation patterns
Keynote speaker: Timothy H. Bestor, Ph.D., professor of genetics and development
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University
Presentations by the OHSU/ONPRC laboratories of Shawn Chavez, Ph.D.Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., and Alison Ting, Ph.D.

Regulation of genomic imprinting in development and disease
Keynote speaker: Marisa S. Bartolomei, Ph.D., professor of cell and developmental biology
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Presentations by the OHSU/ONPRC laboratories of Antonio Frias, M.D.Cadence True, Ph.D., and Leslie Myatt, Ph.D.

Maternal pre-pregnancy metabolic condition; short and long-term effects on offspring
Keynote speaker: Patrick M. Catalano, M.D., director of the Center for Reproductive Health at Case Western Reserve University and director of Clinical Research at MetroHealth
Presentations by the OHSU/ONPRC laboratories of Peta Grigsby, Ph.D.Alejandro Lomniczi, Ph.D.Elinor Sullivan, Ph.D., and Nancy Haigwood, Ph.D. 

Conference contact:

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine seeks input

na_nasem_logo_footerThe National Academies Next Generation Researchers Initiative Committee is soliciting feedback on actions that universities are taking to help successfully launch and sustain research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

The committee is seeking feedback on four core issues, including levels, sources and stability of funding; grant awards and review; training and mentoring; and underrepresented groups.

Submit your responses by October 1, 2017.

Study in Nature demonstrates method for repairing genes in human embryos that prevents inherited diseases

Gene correction in S-phase-injected human embryos.

Gene correction in S-phase-injected human embryos.

In a paper published in Nature today, August 2, 2017, Shoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., reported the successful removal of a lethal genetic defect in human embryos.

Read the OHSU News story on Mitalipov’s new research.

The gene-editing technique described in this study could one day provide an avenue for people with known heritable disease-causing genetic mutations to eliminate the risk of passing the disease to their children. The study also demonstrated a way to overcome a crucial problem in genome editing. Known as mosaicism, the problem occurs when not all cells in a multicellular embryo are repaired and some cells still carry a mutation. These could ultimately find its way into an offspring’s DNA, rendering the repair moot.

The new study is the first to demonstrate that the technique can be used in human embryos to convert mutant genes back to normal.

The story behind the story

You may have seen some speculative reporting in the media about this research. OHSU honors our agreements with peer-reviewed journals to hold news of research until it is published. Two events made possible the premature media coverage. An individual not affiliated with OHSU, but familiar with the research, spoke without permission to a reporter. That reporter then found photos and video associated with the research that were briefly published prematurely on an OHSU website. Those images were removed and protocols have been changed to prevent this happening in the future. We worked closely with Nature to hold communications until publication of the paper, helping make possible thoughtful scientific writing about the paper.

Research advocacy update: Owen McCarty represents Oregon at the American Heart Association You’re the Cure event

The Oregon constituents of the American Heart Association You’re the Cure on the Hill 2017 meet with Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

The Oregon constituents of the American Heart Association You’re the Cure on the Hill 2017 meet with             Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

Owen McCarty, Ph.D.,FAHA, represented Oregon in a Washington D.C. research advocacy event in July. He joined a group of 330 advocates who met with 284 legislative offices as part of the 2017 American Heart Association You’re the Cure on the Hill. The team from Oregon included two patient advocates, Jane Staniford and Kellie Hill (pictured), as well as the Oregon AHA Director of Government Relations & Affairs, Christina Bodamer (left). They had a chance to meet with the offices of Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden and Kurt Schrader and Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. The focus of this year’s You’re the Cure was to advocate for an increase in funding for heart and stroke research from the National Institutes of Health and cosponsorship for the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act and Cardiac Rehab bills. McCarty is a professor and the interim chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine.


Tracing the mechanisms of pain and empathy for pain

Representative photomicrographs of hM4Di viral expression, within the D) anterior cingulate cortex (orange) with DAPI in blue E) somatosensory cortex (orange) and DAPI in blue.

Representative photomicrographs of hM4Di viral expression, within the D) anterior cingulate cortex (orange) with DAPI in blue E) somatosensory cortex (orange) and DAPI in blue.

A new study finds a potential neural overlap between physically induced and socially transferred increased sensitivity to pain, or hyperalgesia. Previous research has shown that pain sensitivity associated with alcohol withdrawal can be communicated to nearby individuals by olfactory cues. But how this social transfer of pain occurs is not known.

Scientists at OHSU have now demonstrated that pain and empathy for pain activate partially overlapping regions of the brain in mice. Andrey Ryabinin, Ph.D., a professor of behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine, and Ph.D. candidate Monique Smith report in the journal eNeuro that those experiences are reversed by inhibiting activity in one region of the brain—the anterior cingulate cortex.

The researchers first mapped changing activity in brain regions associated with pain and empathy for pain and then inhibited some of the activated brain regions. Brain activity of three groups of mice were monitored: primary mice with access to increasing concentrations of ethanol, bystander mice housed in the same room, and control mice housed in a separate room. The primary mice showed increased activity in the dorsal medial hypothalamus when access to alcohol was removed, which may indicate a role for this area in alcohol withdrawal. In contrast, bystander mice showed increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and insula. Inhibiting activity in the anterior cingulate cortex reversed hyperalgesia in both primary and bystander mice.

One important observation: The two forms of hyperalgesia in this study do not have a basis in tissue or nerve injury. Rather, the results confirm that withdrawal-related hyperalgesia can be socially transferred in mice housed together. These findings set the stage for research to determine if there are distinct circuits within the anterior cingulate cortex that govern physically induced and socially transferred hyperalgesia.


This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health 1F31AA022824 (to M.L.S), AA019793, AA025548, and 6P60 AA10760 (to A.E.R.) and NS066159 and NS093894 (to M.M.H.).

OHSU Commercialization Conference, Sept. 14

The signature conference of OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development connects OHSU innovators, industry partners, investors, and community collaborators. The day includes startup pitches, insights from industry thought leaders, and successful collaboration stories.

In the first panel of the 2017 Commercialization Conference, Brian Druker, M.D., and four industry leaders will discuss breakthroughs that are transforming healthcare. Harry Glorkian from GE Ventures will moderate the panel that includes Druker, Brian Lawrence from global technology company Welch Allyn/Hill-Rom, John Hill from GE, and Sam Adams from IBM.

Register today
Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017
7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Collaborative Life Sciences Building

What’s in store—some highlights:
Industry trends:

  • Executive panel: Breakthrough innovations transforming healthcare
  • Pharma’s transition from internal R&D to external collaborations
  • Role of molecular imaging in the modern era of medicine
  • Women’s contributions to innovation in science and business

Strategies for funding:

  • Drawing interest from VC’s and Angel investors
  • Alternative funding for innovation and startup companies

The 2017 slate of speakers includes two keynote speakers:

  • William Ruh, digital transformer and CEO of GE Digital
  • Gerry Langeler, venture capitalist and managing director of OVP Venture Partners

All OHSU faculty, researchers, students, and staff are welcome to attend. Speaker information and the full agenda can be found at the 2017 Commercialization Conference website.

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Welcome to the Research News Blog

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