Research Committees at Whitman College

This page provides information for faculty members who are preparing grant proposals that include research involving animal or human subjects, or recombinant DNA/genetically modified organisms. Whitman College has committees that must approve research protocols for this type of research. Please make sure to contact the head of the appropriate committee as soon as you start to think about developing a research proposal, so that they can help you obtain the required approval. The Office of FCR can also be a helpful resource.

Whitman College strongly believes in the ethical care and treatment of animal and human subjects to be used in biological, biomedical and behavioral research, and has established policies to ensure that College and national regulations are followed. In addition, we take great care to assure that biosafety standards are followed, to ensure the health and safety of the campus.

Animal Research: If your research proposal involves vertebrate animals, your research protocol must be approved by the Whitman Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Whitman's IACUC is approved by the federal Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

The chair of the committee is Chris Wallace (Biology). New protocols that involve animals should be submitted to Professor Wallace. He will distribute them to the members of the committee for approval.

Contact Professor Wallace at or x 4421.

Human Subjects Research: If your research proposal involves human subjects, your research protocol must be approved by the Whitman institutional Human Subjects Committee.

New protocols that involve human subjects should be submitted at the IRB Web site or may be sent electronically to

Read our Institutional Review Board Policy at


Genetically Modified Organisms/Recombinant DNA: If required by the funding agency, protocols for research conducted by faculty and/or students using Genetically Modified Organisms/Recombinant DNA must be approved by the Whitman Institutional Biosafety Committee. Not all funding agencies require institutional approval, and it is up to the applicant to determine whether his or her experiments require approval. Most federal agencies use the National Institutes of Health guidelines, which can be found at

If research involves recombinant DNA:

a. Look at the required forms in the grant application. Is there one that mentions recombinant DNA safety or approval?

b. If there's a box to check for recombinant DNA safety, contact that agency to see what you need to do.

c. Peruse the NIH recombinant DNA rules carefully to see if your experiments are exempt from any restrictions, note what exemptions apply, and make copies of those exemptions for your files. Determine whether your experiments are exempt from institutional biosafety approval.

d. If a funding agency requires biosafety committee approval, contact Tana Park, Sponsored Programs Coordinator ( or x5926) for guidance.


 Here are some useful online resources on research bioethics:

American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association ethics guidelines:

National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Health bioethics guidelines:
Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare:

Research Involving Human Subjects:
NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (recombinant DNA):