Today is Sunday, Mar. 29, 2020

Research

Coronavirus Emergency Plan

Despite the University of Cincinnati and College of Medicine operating under emergency procedures, our clinical and basic science research mission continues to be operational. However, there are restrictions that must be enacted to protect our personnel and maintain the integrity of our research infrastructure.

Basic Science and Clinical Research

President Pinto issued a shelter in place and critical research directive for the University.  What does that mean for us?  Simply put, everyone needs to work at home if possible. However, UC and the College of Medicine recognize critical research must continue.

Each college must conduct an approval process for critical research. Please submit the CoM form no later than Wednesday, March 25th by 5pm: Critical Research Approval Form.  Forms should be send to Brieanne Sheehan, sheehabe@uc.edu.  

The submission of this approval form applies to all research personnel: e.g.basic science, clinical researchers, and Research Core personnel.  Forms must be submitted for any activity, including personnel that will be charged with essential activities like filling liquid nitrogen tanks or animal care.

Critical Research is defined by the College of Medicine as: Research activities that are directed at responding to or mitigating the crisis that has caused the University closure, and which holds the potential for significant contribution in resolving the crisis.

Medical research that if discontinued would endanger the lives of the human subjects participating in the research. Clinical researchers, please refer to the attached document for further description of critical clinical research (NOTE that Level I and II, which are labelled as Critical and Essential, will be allowed for clinical research in the COM if the request form is filled out).

Activities that require timely and regular attention to maintain essential functions that support critical research, including but not limited to critical research infrastructure and experimental conditions such as animal support, maintaining equipment that requires gas, cryogenic service, monitoring irreplaceable cell lines, maintaining unique or loaned collections, and other substantially similar treatments. Examples:

·        Biological or clinical research that would deliver prophylaxis or cure for the ongoing epidemic;

·        Environmental or epidemiological research or analytics to improve current efforts to model or mitigate an ongoing natural disaster;

·        Engineering or IT systems research and development that will deliver a system with the capability to provide surveillance, establish or maintain emergency communications;

·        Oversight or operation of research infrastructure (e.g., core facilities) that are necessary or advantageous to support critical research activities;

·        Providing animal support, maintaining equipment that requires gas, cryogenic service, monitoring irreplaceable cell lines, maintaining unique or loaned collections, and other substantially similar treatments.

·        Research that contributes to a federally-sponsored research program under a Phase II or continuing grant and has near-term completion of project deliverables;

·        Research involving trainees, the delay of which would negatively affect the project outcome or degree completion, or would impose a financial burden on the trainee.

·        Biological research involving laboratory animals and/or biological cultures not directly tied to the current crisis that need regular care and monitoring;

·        Oversight or operation of research infrastructure (e.g., core facilities) that are necessary or advantageous to support essential research activities.

Next Steps:

  • For lab-based research: if you are NOT conducting critical research, you should proceed to close lab operations by the end of this week (March 27), NO later.
  • If you receive approval from this process you may reopen your lab. For those with wet labs, we realize that you may need time to shut down your lab and initiate your Research Emergency Plan.  You and your minimal staff will be able to attend to these last-minute considerations by Friday, March 27 after which at 6pm the facilities will be closed to all non-approved research. 
  • For clinical research: As above, guidance is attached on what qualifies as Level I or II Human Subjects research as approved by the IRB. Questions about "grey areas" can be answered by IRB staff or the Office of Research.

We regret these restrictions, but we are bound by the State of Ohio to carry them out. It is important that we live into good public health principles and role model the social distancing/"stay at home" behavior for all non-clinical personnel and our community. 

Thank you for all that you do for the COM. Be safe and stay healthy. 

For more information, please see the following documents:

Clinical Research 

For more information, please see the following document:

College of Medicine Research Core Facilities

  • Each core laboratory is preparing for a minimal level of research continuity and preparing in case certain cores need to be shuttered.
  • Plans should be established to shut down or “park” core equipment in a state that can be safely maintained for a period up to 6-8 weeks, if needed.
  • The initiation of any longitudinal study (particularly for live animal) that will require core activities over the next 6-8 weeks will be delayed.
  • Existing longitudinal studies are being reviewed to determine if the project can be truncated to a useful point earlier in the study or if it needs to go to completion. Every attempt will be made to complete the study if the conditions allow.
  • Chemicals or hazardous materials will be secured in the appropriate longer-term storage areas rather than the active use areas.
  • Laboratory personnel who must continue work in their laboratories will maintain social distancing and laboratory disinfection standards, such as wiping down common workspaces before and after use of the space with an appropriate disinfectant.

For more information, please see the following document:

Guidance for Research Core Facilities: COVID-19

College of Medicine Office of Graduate Education

Graduate students whose predominant duties involve daily attendance in a research laboratory will be expected to follow the guidelines in force for all laboratory personnel, whether faculty, staff or student. Students working in laboratories at CCHMC should follow the guidelines from either CCHMC or UC – whichever are the most restrictive. 

For more information, please see the following document:

Office of Graduate Education: COVID-19 Response Plans

College of Medicine IT

COM IT will perform their normal job duties during regular work hours on-site to ensure adequate IT support. COM faculty and staff should contact the HelpDesk 556-HELP (4357) or visit their website as usual for any IT support. 

For more information, please see the following document:

COM IT Off-Site Plan

College of Medicine Accounting and Finance

CoM faculty and staff should reach out to their normal Accounting and Finance contacts for any issues. If faculty and staff do not receive a timely response, please reach out to the following:

College of Medicine Human Resources

The COM HR team will be available to perform their work assignments during their regularly scheduled business hours. Faculty and staff should reach out to their assigned HR contacts with any issues. For urgent matters, please contact:

Funding Opportunities Related to COVID-19

The UC Office of Research headed by Dr. Pat Limbach and the College of Medicine’s Office of Research have committed at least $225,000 to fund pilot projects that focus on all research aspects of COVID-19, including basic, translational, and clinical research as well as population research, for example. THIS CALL FOR PROJECTS IS ON AN EXPEDITED SUBMISSION AND REVIEW BASIS.  PLEASE NOTE THE SUBMISSION DATE OF MARCH 25.

Deadlines: Applications are due March 25, 2020 by midnight.  This is not negotiable.

Funding pools: Funding for this program is derived from the UC Office of Research and the Dean’s Office of Research, College of Medicine. Applicants are being asked to request funding in modules of $25,000 (see “Budget” section 14, below).  The number of awards may range from 2 to 10, depending on the number of requests.

Project priorities: This special program seeks to support the development of innovative studies that will contribute significantly to our knowledge of COVID-19’s biology or pathology; its population kinetics; studies that will have a significant impact on treatment or diagnosis; on management of the infection or its prevention.  A wide spectrum of projects can be considered relevant. Priority will be given to those projects that carry the highest potential for a critical finding or impact. Projects with well-developed concepts where additional data are required for proposal submission and/or where innovative ideas require additional testing are also responsive.

Eligibility: Applications will be accepted from UC paid, full-time faculty member whose appointment is at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and where said faculty member will submit any resulting application for funding to an outside agency through UC’s Sponsored Research Services. Investigators from affiliated institutions, e.g. VAMC, CCHMC or Colleges may be collaborators but not the principle investigator.

Feasibility. Projects narratives must have a section on feasibility, especially if it is a study involving patient enrollment; use of humanized mice or other animal models; or dependent on a certain number of samples. Proof of availability will be seen as highly responsive.  For example, having an IRB protocol approved (or submitted), humanized coronavirus mice already in LAMS; use of available archived samples; etc.

UC COVID Pilot RFA

COVID Pilot Application