RCR Workshops Descriptions

Conflict of Interest

Work/Work Balance: Conflict of Commitment

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Academic Researchers face non-financial conflicts of interest daily when deciding among competing demands on their time. Research design, data collection, mentoring, teaching, and other duties compete for attention. In this workshop, we will discuss the multiple competing demands on investigators and potential strategies for evening out the work/work balance in an ethical and responsible manner.

Managing Conflicts of Interest

Shawna Porter, MSW, Research Conduct and Compliance Office.

This workshop introduces the importance of conducting safe, ethical, and successful research. We use cases to illustrate specific RCR issues, such as conflict of interest and research misconduct. Attendees will be equipped to identify RCR issues and policies that guide their research management.

Human Participants, Animal Subjects, Lab Safety

Ethics of Rare Disease Research

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Research ethics dilemmas faced by rare disease researchers are discussed as a special case in the wider context of research integrity. A combination of factors converges to create unique challenges for the application of traditional research ethics concepts and standards in rare disease research. Primary among these concerns are the expectations for advocacy and resulting potential conflicts of interest in researchers working with the rare disease patient population.

Community Partner Research Ethics Training (CPRET): A Strategy for Improving Recruitment and Retention

Bee Schindler, LMSW, Community PARTners, CTSI.

Join us to learn about a Pitt-IRB approved research ethics training for community partners. CPRET was designed to help principal investigators and research coordinators tailor research ethics training for a specific study and to encourage dialogue with community members who will participate on the research team. This training is particularly relevant for investigators engaged in clinical and translational research involving community stakeholders. Investigators have the opportunity to create and discuss scenarios that may arise in the course of their specific study while ensuring that Core research ethics principles – i.e., autonomy, beneficence, and justice – are defined and reviewed.

Recruiting Research Participants, a Two-Way Street

Kerri Jackson, and Heather Rockwell, MFA, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

This workshop will provide an in-depth overview of the Pitt + Me Registry, will walk attendees through the Registry process from a participant’s point of view, and will provide information on how to best utilize the Registry as an investigator or coordinator.

Informed Consent 101

Michael Green, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Surgery, Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Discussion points include ethical implications, protecting participant rights, and ways to help participants understand biomedical research and form more honest, trusting, and respectful relationships with clinical investigators.

High Stakes Consenting

Michael Green, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Surgery, Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Vulnerable populations present a unique set of demands for clinical research. Using cases, we will discuss how to identify potentially vulnerable participants and develop strategies and techniques for designing a consent experience that supports a responsible and ethical research consent process.

Implementing Ethical Conduct of Human Participant Research

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

This workshop discusses ethical issues and policies, using recent cases to highlight ethical principles governing human participant research. Attendees will learn to recognize lapses in ethical research practice and the importance of human participant safety in conducting successful clinical research.

Show me the Money:  Paying Research Participants

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI. George Cerminara, Office of Finance. 

During this presentation we will discuss a variety of compensation issues, including:  Why do people participate in research? Should subjects be “incentivized” or otherwise compensated? What types of incentives are appropriate? How should the value be established? And do “special populations” require special treatment?

Working toward solutions in IRB protocol design

Shannon Valenti, MBA, CIP, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

As you develop your research project to meet requirements for protection of human participants, practical issues of protocol design arise. At the end of this presentation, you will be able to: anticipate and understand basic elements that will be required of your IRB protocol submission and describe your research project in terms of concepts such as minimal risk.

Responsible Use of Animals in Biomedical Research

David Schabdach, MS, DVM, Senior Executive Director, DLAR.

This workshop discusses considerations and practical approaches to the responsible conduct of animal based biomedical research. Strategies to foster productive, collaborative working relationships, and facilitate successful animal research at the University of Pittsburgh will be presented.

Performing Animal Research: The Do’s and Don’ts

Frank Jenkins, PhD, Chair, IACUC.

This workshop discusses the ethical issues and policies governing research using animals. The course uses recent cases to illustrate the importance of responsible animal care in successful research. Attendees will learn to utilize guidelines for safe use of animals in research.


Building A Lab Culture

Paula Davis, MA, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Diversity.

Laboratories have cultures unto themselves, separate and apart from the larger organizational culture. How do leaders and supervisors influence lab culture? How can leaders and supervisors change lab culture? This workshop will include discussion of how lab culture is established and how it can made to be more inclusive.

Strategies for Effective Teaching and Mentoring of Students

Bill Yates, PhD, Co-Director, Research Conduct and Compliance Office.

Providing education to diverse populations (e.g., residents, medical students, graduate students, undergraduate students, lay members of the public is an important component of a scientist's responsibilities. However, unlike K-12 teachers, scientists receive little or no formal education about teaching strategies. This workshop is intended to provide general education strategies that are effective for any audience.

Collaborative Research

Investigators and Statisticians: Relationship Therapy

Nalyn Siripong, PhD, and Li Wang, MS,

Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design Core, CTSI.

Our objective in this workshop is to go beyond the usual generic advice given to researchers seeking to consult with biostatisticians. We will provide specific suggestions for common problem areas in the investigator/statistician collaboration. Through a series of case vignettes and discussion, we will illustrate the best methods for working productively with a biostatistician on your research. 

It’s only a Model: Understanding what can and can’t be learned from computation

Timothy Lezon, PhD, Department of Computational & Systems Biology.

Like any research tool, computational modeling is most effective if the user has a good feel for its inner workings. Communication failure between quantitative and wet bench scientists can doom transdisciplinary projects. This session will address the strengths and limitations of computational models, and will explore strategies for effectively communicating across disciplines.

Risks and Rewards of Collaborating through Shared Data Repositories

James Ibinson, MD PhD, Department of Anesthesiology.

Funding agencies have compelled researchers to include plans for sharing data from their research projects through data repositories. Although sharing is widely encouraged, the relative risks and rewards of using these data to fuel scientific collaborations remain relatively unknown for many investigators. This workshop will promote discussion of potential benefits for sharing research data through existing and emerging data repositories.

How to Partner with and Recruit in Schools

Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD, FSAHM, Director, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Medical Director, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Academic Co-Director, Community PARTners, CTSI.

There are special considerations and processes for how to partner with schools to conduct research in schools as well as to recruit for research studies through schools. We will share experiences partnering with schools to facilitate research and will lead a discussion about how to work with schools. 

Building Trust to Support Research Recruitment and Retention: Perspectives from Community Members

CTSI Community PARTners & the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

We will discuss how to engage organizations and build trust in community-academic partners. Hear from community organizations about how to approach and what to consider when requesting a research partnership. Learn tips on building trust and discuss the responsibilities for all parties – the community partner, the PI, and the research coordinators.

Peer Review

Writing manuscript reviews

Daniel Buysse, MD, Professor of Psychiatry. Director, HUB Capacity, CTSI.

Peer review of manuscripts is a cornerstone of the scientific process. But all reviews are not equal. Writing a GOOD manuscript review is a skill and an art that can benefit the reviewer as much as the reviewee. This session will delve into the why, how, and what of writing fair and incisive manuscript reviews.

Reviewing Scientific Colleagues: Responsibilities of Peer Review

Clayton Wiley, MD, PhD, Professor, Division of Neuropathology.

This workshop discusses the importance and responsibilities of scientific reviewing, as well as the reasoning behind traditional forms of peer review. Case examples are used to illustrate issues that can arise during the peer review process.

How the NIH Can Help You Get Funded

Michelle Kienholz, CTSI.

Using NIH tools and expertise can improve odds of a successful application. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies to make the most of NIH staff and resources to plan and prepare a competitive application and manage the post-submission outcome. Bring questions you might have about the NIH and its grant application and review process.

Peer Review

Michael Gold, PhD, Department of Anesthesiology.

Three major aspects of peer review will be discussed in this workshop: the impact of the mode of reviewing on review quality, the implications of potential conflicts on the review, the effects of reviewing in general, and potential conflicts at different stages of your career.

Data Acquisition

Crafting a Data Management Plan

Carrie Iwema, PhD, MLS, AHIP, Health Sciences Library System.

The overwhelming advantages of devising and implementing a data management plan for research studies will be presented. Investigators will be provided with specific steps and tools that can be used to develop and maintain a successful data management plan.

Best Practices for Reproducible Data

Janette Lamb, PhD, and Deborah Hollingshead, MS, Genomics Research Core, Health Sciences Core Research Facilities.

It has been estimated that at least 50% of basic and preclinical research cannot be reproduced.  How can project design contribute to robust, reproducible data?  We will discuss how replication can lead to greater data confidence, what controls are appropriate and how N affects high content technologies.

Study Design

Stephen Wisniewski, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology, Co-Director, Epidemiology Data Center, Vice Provost for Data and Information.

This workshop is first in a series of six workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center. For a research study to successfully answer the clinical question being addressed, the appropriate study design must be implemented. The purpose of this workshop will be to provide a basic overview of common study designs, as well as the advantages and limitations of each approach.

Describing and Defining Your Data

Heather Eng, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, CTSI.

This workshop is second in a series of six workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center.

Beginning with the assumption that a study has been designed, its aims and hypotheses clearly defined, and the data to be collected have been broadly identified, this workshop will address:

Part 1 - How to critically review your proposed data collection instruments, including issues of form design, validated vs standardized instruments, and foreign language translations.

Part 2 – How to convert the Table of Measures from your grant proposal into a tool to document data collection sources and track form development, file transfer protocols, and versioning. Part 3 - How to create a data dictionary that can be used to build a data collection system. Topics include variable naming conventions, types, codes, dependency, and validations.

Data Collection-- Monitoring and Reporting

Heather Eng, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, CTSI.

This workshop is third in a series of six workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core.

Accruing data must be constantly monitored and reported. We will discuss issues in quality control for completeness, correctness, and logical consistency; specimen tracking; reporting on data accrual; alerting appropriate parties about problems or exceptions; and modifying forms and underlying data mid-study as necessary.

Preparing Data for Analysis

Heather Eng, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, CTSI.

This workshop is the fourth in a series of six workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center.

Publication of results is the point of a trial, and collected data may need to be groomed and summarized for proper analysis. Topics will include creation of analysis variables and summary datasets, periodic database freezes, and cataloging of analysis data, programs, and results.

Study Closeout

Heather Eng, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, CTSI.

This workshop is the fifth in a series of six workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center.

The study database is rarely the final resting place for data. Data may be shared throughout the project, and at study closeout must be archived and, as requested, publicly shared. Techniques in sharing, de identification, and archiving will be discussed.

Creating a Data Collection System

Heather Eng, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, CTSI.

This workshop is the sixth in a series of six workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center.

In this workshop, you will build a sample REDCap project and learn about point of entry quality control, longitudinal design, double entry verification, and exporting to Excel or SAS.

Fishing without a license: How data dredging can lead to misguided conclusions

Lauren Terhorst, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Running several statistical analyses using the same data set without an a priori hypothesis can inflate the probability of a false significant finding. In this workshop, several examples of how data dredging has led to misguided conclusions in health research will be discussed.

Using Electronic Lab Notebooks

Carrie Iwema, PhD, MLS, AHIP, Health Sciences Library System.

This workshop will focus on the Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) selected by the University of Pittsburgh, LabArchives. We will cover how to get started using it, including access, lab notebook creation and organization, adding and editing entries, linking, and sharing data.

Research Misconduct

Myths about Misconduct

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Researchers seeking to prevent research misconduct in their labs and in their research communities should be prepared to recognize the threats to scientific integrity that may arise. In this workshop, we will discuss myths about misconduct that may hamper early identification of questionable research practices or misconduct. Our objective is to communicate the current understanding of the facts surrounding sources of misconduct and the vulnerability of scientists to unethical behavior.

Will you make the right decisions? "The Lab"

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

You, along with others in the group, will become one of the lead characters in an interactive movie and make decisions about integrity in laboratory research that can have long-term consequences. This simulation addresses thought provoking topics in RCR such as avoiding research misconduct, correct handling of data, and questionable research practices. 

Digitally detecting plagiarism: approaches for protecting your science

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

This workshop will provide current standards for evaluating scientific manuscripts for evidence of plagiarism, as well as a demonstration of state-of-the-art methods for digital detection of misappropriated work. A brief review of scientific plagiarism will be followed with discussion of best practices for presenting original work and protecting the integrity of your scientific publications.

Responsible Authorship

An Author’s Responsibilities: Publication and Authorship  

Robert Weyant, DMD, DrPH, Professor and Associate Dean, School of Dental Medicine.

The author’s role in writing, submitting, and ultimately publishing scientific research results ethically will be discussed. Perspectives of the first author, coauthors, journal editors, and other contributors to scientific publication will be addressed.

The Publication Process: An Editor’s View

Bill Yates, PhD, Co-Director, Research Conduct and Compliance Office.

In today’s competitive funding environment, productivity is extremely important. However, the peer review process has been compromised by time constraints of researchers. This session discusses the problems that may occur during peer review of manuscripts (including ethical concerns), and the steps that authors can take to address these problems. The session is intended to provide insights into how an author can best guide their paper successfully through the peer review process.

The Big Picture: Tools for visualizing Big Data

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Lee Bash, Information Technology, CTSI

In this workshop, we will introduce exciting new forms of data visualization made possible by large data sets (Big Data). Starting with examples, we will discuss principles of designing communicative and clear visualizations. We will also present commonly available tools that can be used by beginners to generate your own big data visuals.

Authorship Conflict

Tetsuro Sakai, MD, PhD, Professor, Director, Resident Research Rotation, Department of Anesthesiology.

Upon the completion of this workshop based on actual examples of authorship conflict observed in an academic center, the attendees will be able to describe authorship eligibility in scientific manuscripts, indicate potential types and causes of authorship conflict, and discuss possible methods to solve, address, and avoid authorship conflict.

All Journals are not created equal

Andrea Ketchum, MLIS, AHIP, Health Sciences Library System.

Selecting a journal for your publications has never been more complex. Learn how to avoid predators while balancing open access, impact factors and peer review with HSLS resources.

Locating and Citing Research Data

Melissa Ratajeski, MLIS, AHIP, RLAT. Health Sciences Library System.

Need to find a dataset to act as a control for your study? Or do you want to reuse open access data? This class will offer tips for locating and citing data and include hands-on exercises to explore directories of data repositories and data journals. This workshop is co-sponsored by the Health Sciences Library System.

Responsible Data Visualization

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Lee Bash, Information Technology, CTSI

While modern productivity tools such as Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop make creating data visualizations easier than ever, these tools can be used to create graphs that either illuminate or mislead. Join us in a discussion of best practices from experts such as Edward Tufte and Stephen Few for responsibly and accurately presenting research results in visual formats such as charts, graphs and infographics.

Scientist in Society

Identifying Issues in the Responsible Conduct of Research

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Concepts of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) that promote safe, ethical, and successful research will be discussed. Case studies illustrating specifics such as conflict of interest and research misconduct will be shared, along with information on federal and University research resources that are available for investigators and students.

Ethical Marketing of your Research Study

Bill Young, Director of Marketing and Communications, CTSI.

Where do you turn to find study participants and what resources do CTSI and the University offer that can help you? Find out the answers to these questions as well when you should start thinking about marketing your study.

Communicating Science

Judy Cameron, PhD, Department of Psychiatry.

All audiences want to learn interesting new scientific information and have it delivered as a good story in an understandable format. This workshop will assist you in learning how to convey the importance of your message while being interesting, maintaining the attention of the audience and making the learning process enjoyable. An overview of scientific communication skills, including knowing your audience and why they are interested in the information you are speaking about, how to translate scientific jargon into understandable concepts for the public, and how to keep the audience engaged will be presented.

Navigating the Path to Commercialization

John Maier, MD, PhD, Director, Innovation, CTSI, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine

Don Taylor, PhD MBA, sciVelo Executive Director, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Commercial Translation in the Health Sciences.

In this workshop, we bring together experts in medical innovation to discuss multiple facets of the decision to commercialize health science innovations. Whether you are wondering about patenting your invention, what kind of funding might be appropriate for your next steps, or what commercialization might mean for your career, you are welcome to come and begin the discussion with us.

Plain Language for Research

Karen Schmidt, PhD, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, CTSI.

Communicating complex information about research studies to the public can be a challenge, and the best way to do this is to develop plain language descriptions of our work. In this workshop we will demonstrate best practices for presenting scientific research in accessible, simple, and accurate ways.

The Art of Pitching

Babs Carryer, Director of Education & Outreach, Innovation Institute

Pitching is part of your lives as researchers. The “pitch” is how you tell your story to funders, associates, and the potential research participants. In entrepreneurship, the “pitch” often represents the most crucial point in the development of a startup. Learn from an entrepreneur the basics of how to tell your research story in the most compelling way. View videos of successful pitches and help analyze why they are successful.

Involving community partners in research

Bee Schindler, Community PARTners, CTSI.

Community engagement in research, such as Patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), is recognized as an effective translational approach that integrates education and social action to improve health and reduce disparities. This approach presents a variety of unique ethical considerations and concerns. This RCR session will present strategies for involving stakeholders in the research process and will introduce the community partner research ethics training program that can facilitate community-engaged research.