Multiple Sclerosis

Signal Transduction

Kidney Development
Psychosomatic Medicine
Research Briefs
Around & About

In June 2002, the Office for Responsible Conduct of Research was created at Columbia. Its director, Dr. Daniel Vasgird, and Ellen Hyman-Browne, assistant director, aim to foster a culture of research integrity within the university and ensure that researchers are aware of university and government policies and regulations regarding research practices and ethics. In Vivo sat down with Dr. Vasgird to find out more about ORCR.

Q: What role have you played at the Health Sciences campus?

A: I spend half of my time at Health Sciences. I've been meeting with administrators, faculty, postdocs, and students, and with Dr. Gerald Fischbach [dean and executive vice president] and his executive staff. We work closely with the Center for Bioethics. We are doing education sessions in various departments and will be doing grand rounds. We're on call for any department that has concerns or questions about the upcoming directives from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or about university policies and procedures. In general, we look for areas in the university where we can make suggestions about how to strengthen the framework for responsible conduct of research.

Q: How do you inform researchers about research integrity?

A: There's a strong educational component, which includes seminars, workshops, and brief speaking engagements. I'm one of the speakers at a Columbia course called Responsible Conduct of Research and Related Policy Issues. We'll have a Web site up in a few months and we're creating a unique interactive training program that will be available next year. We provide counsel to departments and researchers when there are special issues that need to be addressed.

Q: What are the main areas that comprise responsible conduct in research?

A: We have 11 core areas we concentrate on. Nine of them emanate from the ORI. These are data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership; mentor/trainee relationships; publication practices and responsible authorship; peer review; collaborative science; human subjects protection; animal care in research; research misconduct; and conflict of interest and commitment. The university added another two—environmental health and safety and financial responsibility as it relates to research. Safety has become a particularly important area since 9/11 and the new government regulations that have come about as a result. In general, the American public and their governmental representatives have made it clear that as the scale and stakes have gone up in research, more is expected of the scientific community in terms of attention to research integrity issues.

The Office for Responsible Conduct of Research is located at the Interchurch Building, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 504. For information call 212 851-1671.

Give Kids a Smile Day Fourth and fifth graders from P.S. 152 in Inwood received oral health instruction from Elizabeth Mendez, a dental hygienist with the School of Dental and Oral Surgery's Community DentCare Network, during "Give Kids a Smile Day!" on Feb. 21. Free dental screenings took place outside the school in SDOS's mobile dental van, while dental pediatric residents provided free dental screenings for community children at the Vanderbilt Clinic and the Thelma C. Davidson Adair Medical/Dental Center of Columbia University Health Care on 124th Street and Manhattan Avenue.

Nursery School Art Exhibit "The Big Castle," a painting by 5-year-old Tierra, is among the artwork of students from the Medical Center Nursery School on display in the lobby of Bard Hall at 60 Haven Avenue. The school, which cares for children of Columbia faculty, staff and students, and community residents, has displayed student masterpieces for the past 10 years. New works are displayed monthly.

Andrew Marks, Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Molecular Cardiology and professor of medicine and pharmacology, has been named chairman of the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics. Dr. Marks is retaining his responsibilities as director of the Center for Molecular Cardiology at Health
Sciences and co-director of the Integrated Program in Molecular and Cellular
Biology and Biophysics. Last year, he was named editor-in-chief of the Journal
of Clinical Investigation.

The Columbia Center for the Health of Urban Minorities has been established at the Health Sciences campus through a $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The interdisciplinary center, which will focus on minority health and health disparities, will be based at the Center for Community Health Partnerships. Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, assistant professor of medicine, will serve as principal investigator of the center, and Dr. Rafael Lantigua, professor of clinical medicine, will serve as co-principal investigator. Over the next five years, 27 researchers from P&S, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Harlem Hospital, and the Mailman School of Public Health will work with northern Manhattan residents to explore ways to improve health in minority populations. Researchers also will develop a four-year cultural competency curriculum for all medical students and a masters of public health degree program to support the training of minority investigators and others who focus on minority health and health disparities research.

Rogerio Lobo, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is the narrator of a continuing medical education CD, "HRT and Menopausal Health," which is part of an educational kit presented to more than 10,000 healthcare practitioners who attended a national series of symposia on menopausal health and hormones. The symposia, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University, were presented in 42 cities throughout the country.

Justin Richardson, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, is the co-author of the newly released Crown Publishing Group book, "Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask): The Secrets to Surviving Your Child's Sexual Development from Birth to the Teens."

Dickson Despommier, professor of microbiology at P&S and professor of parasitology at the Mailman School of Public Health, was chosen as the American Medical Student Association's recipient of the 2003 National Golden Apple for Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Despommier is being honored at AMSA's national convention in Washington, D.C., on March 21 for the contributions he has made to medical students at P&S. Medical students Puneet Masson'05 and Christy Kim'05, who nominated Dr. Despommier, wrote in their essay submitted as part of Dr. Despommier's nomination that he is a "compassionate and inspirational professor...a model of excellence, empowering us not only to become leaders in the medical community, but also compassionate physicians."

Joseph Gogos, assistant professor of physiology and cellular biophysics, received the 2003 Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Award from the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience. Dr. Gogos will receive $100,000 annual payments for three years to support his research project, "Identification of the Underlying Disturbances in Schizophrenia Using Reliable Mouse Models of Susceptibility Genes."

William Macaulay, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and director of the Center for Hip and Knee Replacement, received the 2003 Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation's Prospective Clinical Research Grant for his submission titled, "An Evaluation Study Comparing Total Hip Arthroplasty to Hemiarthroplasty in the Treatment of Displaced Femoral Neck Fractures." The three-year, $225,000 grant is supplemented by the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. Dr. Macaulay is the principal investigator of the multi-consortium study.

Mailman Fellowships for Reproductive Rights The Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health of the Mailman School of Public Health announced the selection of eight scholars to receive the 2003 Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship. The fellows, located in academic and research institutions around the world, engage in discussion, research, and analysis focusing on critical human rights aspects of reproductive health. The recipients are Radhika Chandiramani, Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues, New Delhi, India; Martha Davis, Northeastern School of Law, Boston; Benno deKeijzer, Salud y Genero, Veracruz, Mexico; Jessica Horn, Research Action and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women, London, England; Ayesha Imam, Baobab for Women's Human Rights, Lagos, Nigeria; Andriana Ortiz-Ortega, El Colegio de Mexico, Tlalpan, Mexico; Lisa Ann Richey, Center for Development Research, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Edwin Winckler, East Asian Institute, Columbia University. The fellows' work will culminate in a book of essays to be produced by the Mailman School next year.

Susan Vannucci, associate professor of neuroscience in pediatrics and the Institute of Human Nutrition, was awarded a $142,500 grant by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to investigate the effect that insulin-dependent diabetes has upon the brain development of young children. Co-investigators from the Department of Psychiatry are Dr. Holly Moore, assistant professor of neuroscience, and Dr. Susan Brunelli, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry.

Landrum Brewer Shettles, among the first researchers to conduct experiments in the field of fertilization and the developing ovum, died Feb. 6 at age 93. Dr. Shettles was a resident at Presbyterian Hospital from 1947 to 1951, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at P&S and attending obstetrician-gynecologist at the hospital from 1951 to 1973. He co-authored a book, "How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby," first published in 1970, which has since sold more than one million copies.