Conflict-of-interest committee will work to ‘untie the knots’

Michael R. Cannon, J.D., executive vice chancellor and general counsel, and Susan K. Dutcher, Ph.D., professor and interim head of the Department of Genetics, have been appointed co-chairs of the Committee on Institutional Conflicts of Interest, announced Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

The committee, which comprises 19 members, will formulate a University policy on institutional conflict of interest.

“At Washington University, we must address the institutional conflicts of interest in a way that ensures the integrity of our academic and research missions, protects those who participate in clinical research, and retains the trust and confidence of the public and agencies, organizations and individuals who support our research effort,” Wrighton said.

“This is an issue of significant national importance, and the development of a policy here provides us with an opportunity for national leadership,” Wrighton said.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Association for American Universities (AAU) joint advisory committee on institutional conflict of interest — which was co-chaired by Wrighton — recommended earlier this year in an AAMC/AAU report that all medical schools and major research universities develop and implement institutional conflict of interest policies.

According to the AAMC/AAU report, institutional conflict of interest is a growing concern as academic institutions assume more complex roles and expand their relationship with industry.

“Progressively mounting political pressure on universities to transfer beneficial technology to the marketplace, and to enhance regional economic development in doing so, has over the past decade or so produced a real deepening of industry-academe research relationships,” Cannon said.

“These relationships are overwhelmingly beneficial to the public, but they have also generated institutional conflict of interest challenges that are increasingly knotty,” Cannon said. “The committee will be working hard to untie those knots.”

Additional WUSTL committee members are:

• Richard A. Chole, M.D., Ph.D., the Lindburg Professor of Otolaryngology;

• James P. Crane, M.D., associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs and chief executive officer of the Faculty Practice Plan;

• Ron K. Cytron, Ph.D., associate chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering;

• Barbara A. Feiner, vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer;

• William F. Howard, J.D., associate vice chancellor and chief counsel to the School of Medicine;

• Martin H. Israel, Ph.D., professor of physics in Arts & Sciences;

• R. Gilbert Jost, M.D., the Elizabeth E. Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Radiology and director of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology;

• Jack H. Ladenson, Ph.D., the Oree M. Carroll and Lillian B. Ladenson Professor of Clinical Chemistry in Pathology and Immunology;

• Pamela S. Lokken, vice chancellor for governmental and community relations;

• Philip A. Ludbrook, M.D., professor of medicine and of radiology;

• Andrew E. Newman, member of the WUSTL Board of Trustees and chairman of Hackett Security Inc.;

• Enola E. Proctor, Ph.D., the Frank J. Bruno Professor of Social Work Research;

• Eugene H. Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., vice chair and professor in the Department of Psychiatry;

• Samuel L. Stanley, M.D., vice chancellor for research;

• William F. Stenson, M.D., the Dr. Nicholas V. Costrini Professor of Medicine;

• Michael J. Strube, Ph.D., associate chair of the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences and professor of physical therapy; and

• Charles F. Zorumski, M.D., the Samuel B. Guze Professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry.