The Office of General Counsel provides advice and assistance to Vanderbilt faculty, staff and students regarding research matters, such as basic science contracts and grants, confidentiality agreements, clinical trial contracts, subcontracts and federal grants, patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret matters, and regulatory matters such as IRB, Biosafety, Animal Care, Scientific Misconduct, and Conflict of Interest.
Who do I contact for questions about conducting research on the University-side of campus?
The Office Of Associate Provost For Research was created to coordinate and enhance scholarly research throughout University Central and is directed by Dennis Hall, Ph.D., Vicee Provost for Research. Dr. Hall oversees the activities of the Division of Sponsored Research.
Who do I contact for questions about conducting research at the Medical Center?
The clinical and basic science research activities at the Medical Center are directed by Gordon Bernard, M.D., Associate Vice-Chancellor for Research (3-0077) and Susan Wente, Ph.D., Associate Vice-Chancellor for Research. (6-3455) Dr. Bernard oversees the activities of the Office of Grants and Contracts Management.
Who can I contact for information about Human Subjects Research, including research with individually identifiable data?
You should contact the Institutional Review Board or Gene Gallagher, Director, (2-7142) or Todd Rice, M.D. (Medical Director) (2-3412).
Who can I contact for information about using Animals in research?
You should contact the Institutional Animal Care Use Committee or Jeanne Wallace, D.V.M. (2-6852).
Who can I contact for questions about Patents, Material Transfer Agreements, and Intellectual Property issues?
You should contact the Office of Technology Transfer and review the Policy on Technology and Literary and Artistic Works.
Who can I contact for information about Biological safety, the Biosafety Committee, Laboratory Security, and Select Agents?
Contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety, Robin Trundy, Biological Safety Officer (2-0927), or Bob Wheaton, Director, Environmental Health & Safety.
Who can I contact for information about finance and business issues related to Research at the Medical Center?
You should contact the Department of Finance, Academic & Research Enterprise
or Craig Carmichel, Director or Steve Todd, Associate Director
Who can I contact for information about Research Contracts and Grants?
For information at University Central, contact the Division of Sponsored Research, John Childress (Acting Director). For information at the Medical Center you should contact (for Clinical Research Agreements and Grants) the Office of Research.
Who can I contact for information about the University’s Scientific Misconduct policies?
You should contact your Dean or your Compliance Officer
Medical Center Compliance Office Contacts:
Main Phone Number: 615.343.2777 (x3-2777)
Compliance Officer: Dr. James Snell
University Compliance Office Contacts:
Main Phone Number: 615.322.8363 (x2-8363)
Compliance Officer: Ruth Nagareda
You can also review the University’s Scientific Misconduct Policy at
How can I find out more information about Conflict of Interest policies?
You should review the Conflict Policy at
If I wish to participate as an investigator in a research study, may I sign the contracts the sponsor sent me?
No. Only certain senior administrators with delegated signature authority may sign a contract or agreement on behalf of the University. Please contact the Division of Sponsored Research [http://www.vanderbilt.edu/SponsoredResearch/homepg.html] for research on the University-side of Campus, or the VUMC Office of Research (clinical trials) or VUMC Office of Grants and Contracts Management (Basic Science contracts) for more information.
May I enter into consulting arrangements with research sponsors?
A qualified yes. Vanderbilt faculty and staff may provide consulting services to third parties consistent with the University’s Conflict policy. If you have additional questions please contact Maria Garner (2-5162).
A potential sponsor of my research wants me to sign a confidentiality agreement before we enter into formal negotiations. Can I sign it?
Either the Office of General Counsel or the Office of Technology Transfer should review this agreement prior to your signing. These offices can help with the process of preparation, negotiation, and execution of confidential disclosure agreements. A standard form for such agreements has been pre-approved by the General Counsel. Frequently companies ask for minor changes or provide their own standard forms, which will be considered by OTT and if necessary the Office of the General Counsel.
What should I do if I have invented something, or think I have invented something, or if I have created software that I think has commercial value?
The first step is to "disclose" the invention or software program to Vanderbilt’s Office of Technology Transfer. A technology disclosure form is available from OTT to guide this process. The disclosure will briefly explain what is invented or what software was created, how the work was funded or sponsored, and whether it has been or is scheduled for publication or presentation. For a patent to be granted, the invention must be new, useful, and non-obvious and the disclosure should attempt to make this clear. The disclosure should be submitted to OTT by internal Vanderbilt mail (Box 320 GPC). If you have questions or issues prior to disclosure, you should contact OTT (3-2430). If there are co-inventors, they should be included on the disclosure. If they are from another institution, the technology transfer offices will cooperate to manage the disclosure.