IRB Brown Bag Special Series: eIRB Upgrade demo, June 25

IRB Brown BageIRB Upgrade demo

Presented by David Holmgren, IRB Manager

Thursday, June 25
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
OHSU Hospital, 8th floor auditorium

Are you involved with human subjects research? Come to the eIRB Upgrade demo! During this brown bag we will be giving an overall demonstration of the new eIRB system. You can see a presentation of the new initial submissions process, the modifications and CRQs and the new Reportable New Information (RNI) system. This brown bag session will be open for questions and answers.

OHSU researchers Peter Barr-Gillespie and Kateri Spinelli featured in NIH Director’s Blog

Micrograph of sensory hair and supporting cells in the inner ear of a chicken

Micrograph of sensory hair and supporting cells in the inner ear of a chicken

NIH director, Francis Collins, posted a blog entry this week showcasing the work of Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology in the OHSU School of Medicine and associate vice president for basic research at OHSU. The post provided a snapshot of Barr-Gillespie’s research and also featured an image of sensory hair cells captured by Barr-Gillespie and Kateri Spinelli, Ph.D., at the time a student in Barr-Gillespie’s lab.


Peter Barr-Gillespie

Peter Barr-Gillespie

You may recall the image from a previous post announcing that the two researchers were among the winners of the 2014 BioArt competition.

Kateri Spinelli, Ph.D. is now a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Neurology at OHSU

Kateri Spinelli, Ph.D. is now a post-doctoral fellow in the Jungers Center at OHSU

One focus of  the Barr-Gillespie lab’s research is on sensory hair cell regeneration following damage, whether from noise exposure, injury, or disease. In humans, such damage can result in permanent hearing loss but the lab has found that in chickens, supporting cells have the ability to regenerate sensory cells within a couple of weeks and restore hearing. They are working to better understand these cells in the chicken to examine possible treatment options for hearing loss in humans.

Internal deadline for Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation Cancer Research Grants is fast approaching

Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation Cancer Research Grants provide support to promising young investigators who are conducting scientific research that can be applied to improving the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies and cancer-related integrative medicine. OHSU has been asked to nominate two outstanding junior faculty members – one who is conducting mainstream or conventional research and one who is conducting complementary or integrative research. Detailed guidelines have been made for each category which can be found here. This award provides $75,000 per year for three years.

Note that this opportunity requires internal coordination as OHSU may only submit one application per category; therefore, limited submission guidelines apply. If you are interested in applying, submit an application via the Competitive Application Portal (CAP) by July 1, 2015. Please specify which category you are applying for in your proposal title. The external deadline for the final application to the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation is August 15, 2015.

New insights on protein movement from the Chapman lab

chapman_1A study from the Michael Chapman lab titled “Parsimony in protein conformational change,” published in the journal Structure, provides a more complete picture of how proteins move. The researchers used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to better understand the dynamics of protein movement and thus get a better view of their normal functioning. The team designed a computer method that looks at two different snapshots of the same protein structures. Some of the findings: Minimal torsion angle rotations are a major characteristic of conformational change–and large changes are composed of smaller dihedral rotations.

The senior author, Michael Chapman, Ph.D., is professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, in the OHSU School of Medicine and a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The study bridges a significant gap in knowledge that will help determine what – at the molecular level – causes disease and how best to treat those illnesses. The long-term results of this work may provide a foundation for the development of more effective drug treatments.

Read the OHSU media release here.



Postdoctoral fellowships from the Human Frontier Science Program

Attention Postdocs!

The Human Frontier Science Program encourages postdoctoral scientists to broaden their research skills by moving into new areas of study while working in a new country. The program provides awardees with approximately $50,000 per year for three years (with additional travel and child allowances) and invites applications for two international mechanisms that offer postdoctoral fellowships for basic research training:

Long-Term Fellowships – For applicants with a Ph.D. in a biological discipline to embark on a new project in a different field of the life sciences. Preference is given to applicants who propose an original study in biology that marks a departure from their previous Ph.D. or postdoctoral work so as to learn new methods or change discipline.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships – For applicants with a Ph.D. from outside the life sciences (e.g. in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences) who have had limited exposure to biology during their previous training. Applicants should propose a significant departure from their past research (e.g. changing from material science or physics to cell biology, from chemistry to molecular biology, or from computer science to neuroscience).

Registration deadline: August 13, 2015
Application deadline: August 27, 2015

Fellows must begin their fellowship between April 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017. To be eligible, the applicant must hold a research doctorate or a doctoral-level degree comparable to a Ph.D. with equivalent experience in basic research and the degree must have been conferred in the three years prior to the submission deadline or by December 31, 2016. Applicants must have at least one lead author paper either accepted for publication, in press or published, in an English peer-reviewed international journal. Applicants who have spent 12 or more months in their proposed host country or with their proposed supervisor are ineligible.

Learn more here. The registration site will be available in early July, so keep an eye out!

The NIH takes on the challenge of reproducibility: new requirements for 2016

Coming this fall, you will see changes to application instructions for NIH grant applications. Advances in science are built upon previous observations and findings: that’s why replication and corroboration of research results are essential to the scientific process. In response to continued failures in the reliability and reproducibility of published research, the NIH has been analyzing possible causes and exploring potential interventions for some time. A series of pilot projects were run over the past year, and the results of these projects were used to inform NIH’s new grant application instructions on Enhancing Reproducibility through Rigor and Transparency.

These new instructions will be published in the fall of 2015, and will apply to all applications submitted for the January 25, 2016 due date and beyond. The revised guidelines and review criteria will focus on four areas:

The scientific premise of the proposed research: Investigators will be expected to identify the strengths and weaknesses of prior research being cited as crucial support to the application and propose ways to address/improve them moving forward.

Rigorous experimental design for robust and unbiased results: Applicants will be required to provide the specifics of experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting results with full transparency and sufficient detail so that others can reproduce and extend the findings.

Consideration of relevant biological variables: Biological variables such as sex, age, weight, and underlying health conditions must now be considered in NIH-funded studies. Last week we reported on the new NIH guidelines on Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable in NIH-funded Research. Considering sex as a biological variable is essential to achieve a full understanding of the sex-based differences in disease process and treatment response. Without this consideration, results of a single sex study cannot be reproduced when both sexes are examined, nor can results be used to build on future research that must consider sex. Both new sets of guidelines reference one another and are closely linked in terms of new study design and reporting requirements.

Authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources: Investigators will be required to regularly verify the identity and validity of key biological and/or chemical resources used in proposed studies to ensure quality and reproducibility. These resources include, but are not limited to, cell lines, specialty chemicals, antibodies and other biologics. The NIH is asking the research community for their participation in developing guidelines on authenticating different types of resources by transparently reporting on their authentication methods so a consensus can emerge.

Of particular note: Consideration of scientific premise, rigorous experimental design, and consideration of sex and other relevant biological variables must be included in the Research Strategy section. Page limits for this section will not change. Reviewers will evaluate scientific premise as part of the Significance section, and rigorous experimental design and consideration of sex and other biological variables as part of the Approach criteria. As such, evaluation of these three areas will be included in the assessment of overall impact. Authentication of key resources will be incorporated as a new attachment under the other research plan sections, and reviewers will be asked to comment on the plan but not consider it when scoring overall impact.

Read more about the evolution of these guidelines and the challenges in irreproducibility.


Students and post-docs, apply now to attend OpenCon 2015!

As part of a year-long series of grant funded campus events focused on scientific communication and open science, the OHSU Library is sponsoring a full scholarship for one OHSU student or postdoc to attend OpenCon 2015 in Brussels, Belgium, November 14 – 16.

OpenCon is a student and early career researcher conference on Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Through keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, and hackathons, attendees will build knowledge, skills, and relationships that will transform how they think about scientific communication and their impact as researchers and practioners. OpenCon 2014 drew participants from 39 countries across five continents. The 2015 conference promises to be even more diverse.

To apply to attend OpenCon 2015, please complete this short application by June 22 at 11:59 PM PDT. Please note, OHSU applications must include “Oregon Health & Science University” as an affiliated organization. The OpenCon Application Review Team will select the scholarship winner and acceptance decisions will be delivered on or before July 21, 2015. The scholarship will cover the full cost of travel, lodging, and registration fees.

Please contact Robin Champieux, Scholarly Communication Librarian, with questions about the conference or application process.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under Contract No. HHS-N-276-2011-00008-C with the University of Washington.


Considering sex as a biological variable; new NIH requirement effective Jan. 2016

Women comprise slightly more than half of the population–and their representation is relatively well balanced in NIH-sponsored clinical research, where they now account for roughly half of all participants. But this shift has not occurred in the preclinical realm. Today, most NIH-sponsored animal studies are focused on males, and many investigators do not report on the sex of the subjects from whom cells are obtained for cell line work. This lack of balance may obscure key sex differences and lead to confusing and  irreproducible results.

In order to address this imbalance, the NIH announced plans in May 2014 to adopt a new policy requiring a deliberate approach to the consideration of sex as a biological variable in preclinical research. Later in the year, a Request for Information went out to the research community seeking input on areas of science with the greatest opportunity or need for this consideration, the main impediments to implementation, how considering sex as a biological variable might affect reproducibility or generalizability of research, and how NIH could best facilitate sex as a biological variable in NIH-supported research. Response affirmed the need for such consideration, but most respondents expressed concern about practical aspects such as costs and constraints on methodology or experimental design. We surmise there must have been many comments to accommodate, since the full notice was released 7 months later than planned.

Last week, the full notice finally arrived, announcing NIH’s expectations that scientists now account for the possible role of sex as a biological variable in animal and human studies. Once the Office of Extramural Research’s updates are approved by the Office of Management and Budget, applications submitted for the January 25, 2016 due date and thereafter must include such consideration. Expectations include:

  • Sex as a biological variable will be factored into research designs, analyses, and reporting in vertebrate animal and human studies.
  • Strong justification must be provided for applications proposing to study only one sex.

Additional guidance can be found here, and you can read commentary on this new requirement here.

Sally Rockey to depart NIH for Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research

This week, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins announced that Sally Rockey, Ph.D., will depart NIH to become the director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Rockey has served as the deputy director for extramural research for NIH since 2008. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill; it will support research on a range of issues from plant and animal health to agricultural and food safety and security to agriculture systems and technology. Rockey’s new position allows her to bring together her experience at NIH and her previous 19 years with the USDA, where she oversaw the competitive research component of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, which is today’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Following are excerpts of Collins’ statement regarding Rockey’s departure:

On the one hand, I’m very happy for Sally and proud that she will be bringing her considerable skills to the leadership of this new and important endeavor…Sally has a long history in agriculture, having spent 19 years with the USDA before joining the NIH, so this looks like an ideal fit. On the other hand, I will greatly miss her wisdom, courage, and creativity as we tackle the knotty issues associated with extramural grant funding, especially in this particularly stark budget climate. Sally has done an outstanding job of steering the NIH through many challenging times and we will be forever in her debt. Among her many accomplishments, she managed the successful implementation of ARRA, led the focus on the biomedical research workforce, and greatly enhanced NIH’s partnership and dialogue with the extramural community, especially through social media and her “Rock Talk” blog where she shares information about NIH grants policy, extramural research activities, and data about NIH-extramural research. I wish Sally all the best in her new position. We will truly miss her. The good news is that she’s not leaving right away. She will be with us until mid-September while we mount a vigorous search for her successor.

Read Rockey’s personal announcement on her Rock Talk blog.

Medical Research Foundation of Oregon Awards nominations due Aug. 21

Do you work with an outstanding researcher you’d like to see recognized? Each year, the Medical Research Foundation commends Oregonians who are performing cutting-edge research and who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities. Awards are available in the following categories:

  • The Discovery Award acknowledges an Oregon investigator who has made significant, original contributions to health‐related research while working in Oregon. This research can be in the basic, clinical or behavioral sciences, or can be research in health care delivery, health informatics or health outcomes. The Discovery Award recipient will receive a cash award of $6,000 and a commemorative award.
  • The Mentor Award is presented to an Oregonian who has provided outstanding leadership in support or development of health research, education, or the advancement of health care. The Mentor Award recipient will receive a $6,000 cash award and a commemorative award.
  • The Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award recognizes an investigator who shows exceptional promise early in a career in biomedical research. This individual must be within seven years or less of completing clinical and/or post‐doctoral training and will be judged on the basis of independence, quality of science, national funding, and first- or senior-authored publications in peer‐reviewed biomedical research journals. The culmination of the research must have been performed in Oregon. The Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award recipient will receive a $3,000 cash award and a commemorative award.

The official call for MRF award nominations will go out in July. Nominations are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21. For information on how to nominate your colleagues, visit the MRF website. You can also view the pre-announcement here.

Welcome to the Research News Blog

Welcome to the Research News Blog

OHSU Research News is your portal to information about all things research at Oregon Health & Science University. Visit often for updates on events, discoveries, and important funding information.

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