Monthly Update – September 2022

As the COVID-19 case rate in Los Angeles County has dropped in community-level transmission, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has revised guidelines on mask requirements and recommendations.

  • Masks continue to be required in health care settings (including the Engemann and Eric Cohen student health centers, COVID-19 testing sites, the USC Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, USC Pharmacies, and other patient care settings on campus). They are also required for individuals who have COVID-19 (through day 10) or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (for 10-days following exposure).
  • Masks are strongly recommended on all forms of public transit, including trains, buses, shuttle buses, and ride-shares. This change from required masking on USC shuttles goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2022.
  • Masks are an individual preference in all other indoor public settings.

FACULTY ENGAGEMENT:

Office of Research – Requests for Proposals (RFP): We are happy to announce the RFP for the  Core Laboratory / Shared Instrumentation Fund, which supports acquisition of shared instrumentation — including equipment, datasets, and repositories — that enables major research endeavors and provides USC researchers with greater access to shared equipment and key resources. This solicitation invites proposals from core facilities for the acquisition of equipment, datasets, computing resources and repositories (Type A) or from those seeking external funding where a match/cost share may be required (Type B1 or B2). The deadline for Type A proposals is 5 pm PDT, Monday, Nov 7, 2022.

Research Training Finder – Updated website and search tool! We encourage you to visit the new RFT website, designed to support our researchers and scholars in determining the training requirements that apply to their conduct and support of research at USC. Information on course content, timing, and frequency of course offerings, as well as the target audience required and/or recommended to complete the training is provided.

Open Access and Transformative Agreements: USC Libraries has a guide on open access (OA) publishing which contains information on OA journals, books, publishers, repositories, and organizations, as well as open educational resources, predatory publishing and transformative agreements. A transformative agreement is a way for institutions to maintain access to scholarly content available only through subscription, while supporting open access publishing by their USC researchers. For more info, contact Melanee Vicedo or Alyssa Resnick.

Postdoctoral Fellowships for Sustainability Solutions: On behalf of President Folt and the President’s Working Group on Sustainability, the Office of Research (OOR) is inaugurating a new exciting and unique opportunity for an interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellowship in Sustainability. Five postdoctoral fellows will be recruited this year. Please distribute this announcement widely among your schools and request our colleagues to disseminate it further through their external networks if possible. Since the application deadline is 11/15/22, time is of the essence!

CONTRACTS & GRANTS: Beginning January 25, 2023, NIH researchers will be required to include a data management and sharing (DMS) plan in all funding applications. To assist the research community, please review the new NIH Data Management and Sharing webpage and register for a training session hosted by the Office of Culture, Ethics and Compliance (OCEC). The NIH DMS webpage includes guidance on the new NIH policy, available training sessions, and sample data sharing plans and additional resources.

DEPARTMENT OF ANIMAL RESOURCES:

Upgrade: DAR is now offering a revolutionary alternative for the administration of water to our lab rodents that will eliminate the need for water bottles in those facilities that require them. Water bottles can be cumbersome and can have complications such as flooding and failure. The Hydropac® Pouch system (Hydropac Individual Pouch Water System (avidityscience.com) will reduce scientific variables, labor, operating costs, and ergonomic issues, while offering improved animal husbandry procedures that will not result in failure or flooding. These are hermetically sealed, ready-to-use individual water pouches. A sterile disposable drinking valve delivers water from a pouch to the research animal. This improvement in our husbandry practices will go into effect on Nov. 1st in a phased manner. Email communications have been sent to the stakeholders on Sept 19th

Genotyping and Genetic Monitoring Services talk: This Thursday Sept 22nd, at the HSC Campus ANI, Herklotz Conference Room 112, Transnetyx will be providing a talk about their services in automated genotyping, genetic monitoring, colony and AMI, microbiome, tissue, and the TAGcenter. A continental breakfast will be served. RSVP to asteinbacher@transnetyx.com .

Training: All new animal users are expected to undergo AALAS Learning Library Training, Level 1-4 Trojan Learn online training as well as in-person hands-on training effective Sept 12th This means that all training is standardized for everyone on the IACUC protocol regardless of methods of animal utilization. This is to prevent slippage and ensure all users are trained to handle animals in any research capacity at USC. 

Animal Operations System: DAR aims to continually improve AOPS. With the new patch on Monday 9/19, you will see new questions for animal orders and transfers, additional email notifications to alert when an item needs attention, and other changes designed to simplify the use of AOPS.

Space Utilization Charge: A Space Utilization charge of 5% will go into effect January 1st of 2023 for animal facility locations where animals are either not housed or where the space must still be cleaned and maintained by DAR, such as equipment storage/behavior room space. The specific investigators who will be impacted will be contacted individually. 

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY: October is biosafety month, and we will be highlighting important biosafety contributions to USC all month long in the Announcements section on the EH&S website. EH&S recently launched a new Animal Biosafety Manual and will be launching a new How to Properly Use a Biosafety Cabinet video on EH&S YouTube channel. Please subscribe to the channel to stay up-to-date. Additionally, since October is also breast cancer awareness month, EH&S wants to recognize how biosafety (handling biohazards safely) contributes to breast cancer research at USC. 

Finally, if you would like to do research with Sars-CoV-2 or MPox, the IBC recently established some biosafety policies on how to work with those agents safely. Please contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (ehs@usc.eduif you have any questions.

FEDERAL LANDSCAPE UPDATES: President Biden has selected Dr. Renee Wegrzyn to serve as the first director of ARPA-H. Dr. Wegrzyn has held key positions at DARPA and I-ARPA. As an independent entity, ARPA-H will seek to increase the pace of health research, with a focus on prioritizing high-risk, high-reward research that has breakthrough potential. 

OPRS/IRB: Updates and revisions are underway on the OPRS website. We are launching a Reliance page. This page will support investigators who will be spearheading multi-site research and will ask the USC IRB to be the single IRB (sIRB) for all sites. We are also posting a revised Informed Consent Template (ICF) that addresses research including American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Indigenous peoples. The revised will also reflect language specific to Department of Defense funded research. For those investigators using e-consent to enroll participants, please note that REDCap is not Part 11 complaint for any purpose. If you are conducting an FDA regulated study, please make sure to use the Part 11 complaint version of DocuSign to obtain HIPAA authorization and consent. If you have questions, please contact oprs@usc.edu

OFFICE OF RESEARCH INTEGRITY: NIH will be hosting a series of workshops and conferences including NIH loan repayment programs, early career funding opportunities, research misconduct and detrimental research practices, international collaborations and more. On February 1-2, 2023, the NIH will be hosting a virtual grants conference on funding policies and processes. For more information and a schedule of events visit: https://grants.nih.gov/learning-center/conference.