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  February 18, 2002

New Office to Support Faculty in
Complying with Research Protocols
By John Wray

A new Office of Research Compliance has been established to assist faculty and students in obtaining research protocol approvals, and is now fully operational.

The Office aims to protect the integrity of the University's research programs by ensuring that all human and animal research protocols are in compliance with federal regulations, Connecticut law, and University policies. At the same time, the office will serve as an important resource on regulatory issues and protocol approval procedures for the University's research community.

Ian C. Hart, interim vice provost for research and graduate education, says the University is taking a proactive approach to research compliance. "The formation of an Office of Research Compliance is going to help us identify compliance problems at an early stage and take steps to avoid them," he says.

"Our function is to foster research that is in compliance with federal, state and University policies," says Alysia Maffucci who recently joined the University as associate director, research compliance.

"We want faculty and students to come to us with their questions regarding research compliance issues early in the process," she says. "That way, we can help smooth the way to approval by the appropriate review committee and help them do their work within the regulatory framework."

The requirement for approval of formal research protocols before research can begin is not a new requirement, Maffucci notes, but has been in place for many years. The University has long had an Institutional Review Board, which is responsible for review and approval of research protocols involving humans, and an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which is responsible for review and approval of all research protocols involving animals.

Maffucci is a member of both review boards. She says she plans to attend the meetings of both boards and will participate in the review process.

"The Office of Research Compliance will not add any new requirements to the federal and state regulations already in place," Maffucci says. "However, we will be reviewing all of the University's forms and procedures to make certain that the review boards have before them all of the information they need. This will result in better enforcement of the regulations by the University, and serve the research community by ensuring a more efficient and more effective review process."

"The benefit of coming to us early with questions about regulations governing particular kinds of research, or about the approval process, is that we can provide information and assistance, answer questions, and help streamline the process," she says. "It is better to contact us sooner rather than later, because we can often pre-empt issues that might otherwise become impediments to the approval process and we can help our researchers to avoid compliance issues."

Maffucci comes to UConn from Yale University where she gained extensive experience in a broad range of regulatory compliance issues. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Richmond, and a JD from Quinnipiac School of Law. She left a litigation practice in 1997 to work at Yale.

The Office of Research Compliance is located in the former Fleet Bank Building on Dog Lane.

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