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Research at URI


June 2013

A Message from Peter Alfonso, PhD, Vice President for Research and Economic Development:

"Welcome to the first eNewsletter from the Division of Research and Economic Development.Our aim is to use this medium to keep you posted on recent and ongoing activities within the Division. Please feel free to direct your feedback to Melissa McCarthy


In this issue:

Office of Research Development: Announcement of Proposal Development and Career Enhancement Awards

Office of Sponsored Projects:
Team Reorganization

Office of Research Integrity: Name Change: The Office of Research Integrity (formerly the Office of Research Compliance)

Meet the New Director

Exempt, Expedited and Full Board IRB Review: What Does It Mean For Me?
Biosafety Oversight For Laboratory Research Involving Infectious Agents, Recombinant DNA, or  Human or Nonhuman Primate Blood, Tissues, or Cell Lines                           

Office of Intellectual Property Management and Commercialization           

Office of University Research External Relations: URI Cybersecurity Symposium

URI Research & Innovation Showcase

URI Excellence Awards for Research and Intellectual Property

RI NSF EPSCoR:  High Schools Tour Bay Campus Facilities



Karen Markin, Director
(401) 874-5971

Proposal Development and Career Enhancement Grant Awards

The Council for Research received from Vice President Alfonso $150,000 for the PD and CE programs. It received twenty-five proposals and made thirteen awards.
From sixteen Proposal Development applications, the Council made the following seven awards totaling $97,065: 

  • Karl Aspelund, Textiles, Fashion Merchandising & Design, “Investigating Clothing Needs for Long-Term Space Exploration,” $14,991.38.
  • Jason Dwyer, Chemistry, “Lowering the Barriers to Nanofabrication of Nanopore Single-Molecule Biomedical Sensors,” $15,000.
  • Kathleen Hawes, Nursing, “Neuroendocrine Correlates of Empathy and Stress Reactivity in Registered Nurses,” $13, 989.
  • Jason Kolbe, Biological Sciences, “Evolutionary Adaptation to Urban Environments in Anolis Lizards,” $14,981.
  • Mindy Levine, Chemistry, “Detecting Small-Molecule Carcinogens with Supramolecular Organic Chemistry,” $15,000.
  • Jasmine Mena, Psychology, “Behavioral Health Needs Assessment and Outreach Effort in Rhode Island’s Washington and Providence Counties,” $8,104.21.
  • Mark Wood, Psychology, “An Investigation of Message Framing on College Student Drinking,” $14,999.54.

    The Council for Research reviewed nine Career Enhancement applications and made the following six awards totaling $53,070: 
  • Brett Anderson, Economics, “Global Economic Growth and Decent Work,” $5,727.73.
  • Emily Clapham, Kinesiology, “Catching Waves for Health II: Exploring the Benefits of a Surf Program on Children with Disabilities,” $8,960.
  • Mark Conley, Music, “Choral Music and Human Rights: Manda Wilderness Community Trust Choral Festival,” $7,833.
  • Kathleen Davis, English, “Periodization Across the Disciplines,” $4,000.
  • Margaret Rogers, Psychology, “Best Practices in Advocacy: Strategies, Challenges and Lessons Learned,” $11,642.79.
  • Cheryl Wilga, Biological Sciences, “Strain in Cartilaginous Fish Jaws,” $14,908.

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Mary Kate De Marco, Director
(401) 874-2775

Team Reorganization

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) is changing the distribution of the colleges among our Pre Award Staff. Jill Diehl is leaving the university as of April 24, 2013 for a new position with Care New England. We wish her all the best in her new endeavor.

While the search for a new Grant and Contract Specialist is progressing, Jill’s workload will be distributed as follows:
Julia Iacono: Arts and Science
Barbara Muhitch: CELS
Please go to the following link to see the updated list of OSP Roles and Responsibilities:

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OFFICE OF RESEARCH INTEGRITY (formerly Office of Research Compliance)

Ted Myatt, Director
(401) 874-2636

Name Change: The Office of Research Integrity

Peter Alfonso, Vice President of Research and Economic Development approved a name change for the Office of Research Compliance within the Division of Research of Research and Economic Development. The office will now operate as the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). 

The functions of the office, such as operating the Institutional Review Board, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), the Conflict of Interest Management Committee (CIMC), along with efforts in Research Misconduct, Export Control, Responsible Conduct in Research, and Dive Safety, will remain the same.  However, the new name more accurately reflects the University of Rhode Island‘s efforts and responsibility to ensure integrity and ethical practice in the conduct of research.

The foundation of research integrity is compliance with federal and state regulations and guidelines, but research integrity encompasses goals that go beyond compliance.  As defined by the National Research Council of the National Academies (2002), integrity in research includes a range of good research practice and conduct, including:

  • Intellectual honesty in proposing, performing, and reporting research.
  • Accuracy in representing contributions to research proposals and reports.
  • Fairness in peer review.
  • Collegiality in scientific interactions, including communications and sharing of resources.
  • Transparency in conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest.
  • Protection of human subjects in the conduct of research.
  • Humane care of animals in the conduct of research.
  • Adherence to the mutual responsibilities between investigators and their research participants.

The new URI Office of Research Integrity (ORI) hopes to serve URI investigators by assisting in regulatory oversight management of sponsored research, while at the same time, reinforce the principle that quality research requires adherence to the highest standards of integrity in proposing, conducting, and reporting research.

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Meet the New Director

It has been about seven months since I have been leading the University of Rhode Island Office Of Research Integrity. Prior to joining URI, I was part of the Office of Research Compliance at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. The goal of the position of Director of Research Compliance is to coordinate research compliance activities, including the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Institutional BioSafety Committee (IBC), and the Conflict of Interest Management Committee.

As you know, I inherited a very dedicated and capable office staff, including Mary Riedford, Jean Gentile and Tammy Chambers. Together, we hope to serve your needs as best we can.  In the coming months you will see changes from the Office of Research Compliance, including a new name for the office, new forms; new policies and processes; an updated, more user friendly website; and our new email newsletter with information for targeted groups. The goal of all these initiatives is to try to serve the research community as best we can.  We hope to reduce the administrative burden on investigators while ensuring the integrity of the research, remaining compliant with Federal and State regulations, and meeting our obligations to the funding agencies.  
As we being this process, I want to encourage you to contact me with any comments or suggestions you have for improvement of our Office’s function. I am always available to meet with you at your convenience.  And do please review future email newsletters when they arrive in your in-box.  We plan to tailor articles specific to the type of research you conduct.

Thank you for the warm welcome here at URI. Best Regards, Ted

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Exempt, Expedited and Full Board IRB Review: What Does It Mean For Me?

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations specify Human Subjects Research in three categories of Institutional Review Board (IRB) review: exempt review, expedited review and full board review.  The category of review that your research falls into greatly impacts the turnaround time required for the IRB review and the continuing oversight required by the investigator.

Exempt Review

Although the category is called "exempt," the determination of exemption per URI Institutional Review Board (IRB) policy must be made by IRB staff. Exempt research are projects that meet specific federal criteria and fall into one of the six categories of Exempt research as described in section 46.101(b) of 45 CFR 46. Some examples of Exempt research are: 1) anonymous surveys or interviews, 2) passive observation of public behavior without collection of subject identifiers, 3) retrospective chart reviews, and 4) analyses of discarded pathological specimens without patient identifiers. Exempt projects are different from Expedited or Full Board review in that they are not assigned an expiration date, do not have to undergo continuing review and are but must undergo IRB approval for changes to the original protocol.

Expedited Review

Expedited Review means that the review can be done by the IRB Chair or a qualified IRB reviewer rather than at a convened IRB meeting.  To be considered eligible for Expedited Review, the research must (1) present no more than minimal risk to human subjects, and must fall into one or more of six (6) federally-defined expedited categories. The Expedited Review procedure may not be used where identification of the subjects and/or their responses would reasonably place them at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects' financial standing, employability, insurability, reputation, or be stigmatizing, unless reasonable and appropriate protections will be implemented so that risks related to invasion of privacy and breach of confidentiality are no greater than minimal.

Like Full Board Review, expedited projects are assigned expiration dates, undergo annual continuing review, and changes to the project must be reviewed by the IRB. However, since the review is conducted internally within the IRB office, the approvals are done in a rolling process and therefore the turnaround time is shorter than waiting for a Full Board Review.

Full Board Review

If the research is not eligible for either exempt for expedited review, the research will be reviewed by the full board of the IRB. Full board review means that the research is reviewed at convened meetings at which a majority of the members of the IRB are present. As required by the HHS and FDA regulation, the URI IRB is composed faculty members with both scientific and nonscientific backgrounds and a public member that does not have any affiliation with the IRB. The URI IRB meets monthly; deadlines for submission are two weeks prior to the meeting date.

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Biosafety Oversight For Laboratory Research Involving Infectious Agents, Recombinant DNA, or Human or Nonhuman Primate Blood, Tissues, or Cell Lines

Institutions that receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research involving recombinant DNA (rDNA), are required to comply with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines). A core requirement of the NIH Guidelines is for institutions to constitute an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), which is a committee of URI faculty, staff, and community members not affiliated with URI. Compliance with the NIH Guidelines is a requirement irrespective of the source of funding.

The mission of the IBC, which works closely with URI Office of Safety and Risk, is to promote safety and minimize the risks of performing biological research to URI investigators, study participants, the community, and the environment by providing scientific review and oversight to Biological Research at URI. The IBC has defined biological research to include research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids, infectious agents, select biological toxins, or human or nonhuman primate blood, tissues or cell lines. Any investigators utilizing these materials must submit a registration form to the IBC for review and approval prior to commencing work with these materials.

While the IBC at URI has been in existence for a number of years, the Office of Research Integrity has recently updated the IBC Governance and Operating Policy and developed new forms for submitting information to the IBC.  As part of the new IBC policy, the Office of Research Integrity will be reaching out to investigators that last updated their IBC registrations prior to 2008 to submit a new registration document to the IBC as it is a best practice to re-review approved registration at least every five years. If you have any questions about the IBC, visit the Office of Research Integrity website or contact Ted Myatt, Sc.D., Director of Research Integrity at

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James Petell, Ph.D., Patent Agent
Associate Vice President Intellectual Property Management & Commercialization

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Melissa McCarthy, Director
(401) 874-2599

URI Cybersecurity Symposium

Cybersecurity workforce development to take center stage at Cybersecurity Symposium May 2 featuring national experts

Media Contact: Ericka Tavares

twoKINGSTON, R.I., April 17, 2013 The popular Cybersecurity Symposium returns to the University of Rhode Island May 2 with a focus on workforce development and preparing the next generation of cybersecurity leaders. The slate of speakers includes prominent experts in the field of cybersecurity and digital forensics and the full Rhode Island Congressional delegation.

One of three keynote speakers will be Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn. Lieutenant Flynn, who graduated from URI in 1981, was commissioned a second lieutenant in Military Intelligence and during his service he led the U.S intelligence effort in Afghanistan, bringing a different and updated approach to gathering intelligence. He became the 18th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency on July 24, 2012.

Also delivering keynote addresses will be the Department of Defense’s Chief Information Officer Teresa M. Takai and Major General Suzanne M. Vautrinot, Commander of the 24th Air Force. Takai serves as principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Information Management/Information Technology and Information Assurance, as well as non-intelligence space systems, critical satellite communications, navigation, and timing programs. Major General Vautrinot commands Air Forces Cyber and Air Force Network Operations, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. She directs the activities of three operational cyber wings.

threeURI President David M. Dooley will join R.I. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and R.I. Representatives James R. Langevin and David Cicillini at a symposium that will focus on the latest research, collaboration, and developments in cybersecurity.

“The speakers at this year's symposium include cybersecurity experts from the military and government, as well as from a wide range of business sectors,” said URI Associate Professor of Computer Science Lisa DiPippo, who is academic director of URI’s Cyber Security Program.

Panel discussions feature speakers from IBM, Google, Dell, CVS, Fidelity Investments, National Grid, and other business leaders. Panels will focus on the cyber challenges facing workforce development and the business and industry perspective on this workforce and economic development.

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URI Research & Innovation Showcase

fourResearch and innovation at the University of Rhode Island was in the spotlight April 10, 2013 at an event that showcased the intellectual productivity of students and faculty and demonstrated how that work can contribute to economic development.

A panel discussion "Forming Your Own Company: Tales from the Experts"  featured comments from URI professors Patricia Burbank, Annie De Groot and Judith Swift, as well as Christina Khoo, manager of research sciences at Ocean Spray.

Among the projects included were research on therapies for epilepsy, global trade analysis training, communal education programs in indigenous communities in Mexico, early brain development, health monitoring of beluga whales, and many more. Individuals invited to present their research were:
-- Faculty who have received awards from the Council for Research for Proposal Development and Career Enhancement;
-- Graduate Students who have received awards from the Graduate School for Enhancement of Graduate Research;
-- Undergraduate Students who received awards from the Council for Research for the Undergraduate Research Initiative;
-- Research and Intellectual Property Excellence Awards Recipients.

"This event is a well deserved recognition of the scholarly activities taking place here at the University of Rhode Island by some of the institution's researchers, from undergraduate students to senior faculty. We will also highlight some of our faculty's efforts in commercializing the various products that stem from their research programs," said Alfonso, the coordinator of the event. “It will enable everyone on campus and in the community to see what important work is being done here and stimulate collaboration across disciplines on campus and with the business community around the region. It’s really a showcase for the big thinking that is taking place at URI.” One highlight of the program will be a display of posters from 1 to 3 p.m. in the URI Memorial Union ballroom on the Kingston campus featuring examples of the best scholarly and creative work being done in URI’s eight major academic units, from science and engineering to health and the humanities. Exhibitors were selected from among the faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students who received funding from the University for their research in 2012.

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URI Excellence Awards

The University of Rhode Island held the annual Excellence Awards Ceremony on May 14. The joint award celebration was organized by the URI Division of Research and Economic Development, the URI Research Foundation, and the URI Foundation.

The URI Division of Research and Economic Development recognized individuals with research excellence awards. The recipients, recommended for the awards by their mentors or peers, were selected by the URI Council for Research.  In addition to a citation and framed certificate, faculty members received $1,000, post-doctoral and graduate students received $500, and undergraduate students received $250.


Undergraduate Student Research Excellence Award in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
Andrew Burnap
Department of Theatre

Undergraduate Student Research Excellence Award in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Teresa Mako
Department of Chemistry

Graduate Student Research Excellence Award in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
Megan Martinelli
Department of Text, Fashion Merchandise and Design

Graduate Student Research Excellence Award in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Amir Nasrolahi Shirazi
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Postdoctoral Fellow Research Excellence Award in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Rakesh Tiwari, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Early Career Faculty Research Excellence Award in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
Assistant Professor Carlos Garcia-Quijano, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Early Career Faculty Research Excellence Award in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Assistant Professor Jason Dwyer, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry

Advanced Career Faculty Research Excellence Award in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities
Associate Professor Kathleen Davis, Ph.D.
Department of English

Advanced Career Faculty Research Excellence Award in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering
Associate Professor Yana Reshetnyak, Ph.D.
Department of Physics


Intellectual Property Patent Excellence Award
Professor Qing Yang, Ph.D.
Department of Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering
"System and Method for Maintaining Redundant Storages Coherent Using Sliding Windows of Eager Execution Transactions"

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High Schools Tour Bay Campus Facilities

On any given day, groups of schoolchildren from around Rhode Island and neighboring states are reaping the benefits of all the Bay Campus has to offer through collaborative efforts by various programs.

In just one of many examples, the graduating seniors from Green School of Exeter spent their Senior Day, April 27, here, participating in a variety of educational programs.

Maryann Scholl of the Coastal Institute explains that the daylong event featured volcano investigation, looking at volcano flows and explosions, underwater robots that study submarine volcanoes, and oceanographic geology.

For the biology angle, Scholl turned the students over to Marine Science Research Facility Director Ed Baker. “Ed walks them around, gives them a tour of the aquarium and talks about the research that goes on there,” Scholl says. “The aquarium has been a very big hit.”
Scholl works in outreach through the Coastal Institute. Rhode Island NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) largely funds the aquarium.

Describing what the students see with him on aquarium tours, Baker says he shows off the smoothound sharks, talks about the importance of filter feeders in the marine ecosystem and explores the important connections and relationships within the ecosystem.

In a typical talk, Baker explains the role of filter feeders in cleaning the water and how they provide better light penetration, which is good for eel grass beds, and what that means for young fish seeking food and a safe haven from predators.

Baker also tells students about flounder metamorphosis, how the fish starts out like any other and then one eye migrates to the other side of the head so they can assume a benthic life as a raptorial predator where they lay in wait for unsuspecting prey to swim by. And, he relates to the students about hypoxic events in Narragansett Bay and what they mean in terms of water quality and fish kills.

For many Rhode Island students, the Bay Campus trip can be the first time they enjoy marine science hands-on rather than in a school classroom. The information they hear may not be new, but the on-site visit brings the lessons to life and generates excitement, particularly the sharks.

In addition to the Green School tour, Baker will talk to groups from a Connecticut high school and La Salle Academy of Providence.

From an outreach perspective, joining forces with different programs gives the visiting students a value-added experience that showcases the best of the Bay Campus.

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