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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title When the LAR is Also the Investigator
Long Title When the LAR is Also the Investigator
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided I once worked in a lab that conducted anti-aging research. The lab was operated by Dr. Smith, who also owned and operated an assisted living facility nearby.

Dr. Smith was intrigued by homeopathic remedies that he thought might slow the aging process and improve quality of life. His research centered on vitamin and nutritional supplements, topical creams and salves, exercise programs and so on. Laboratory personnel were constantly going to the assisted living facility and drawing blood, taking skin samples, measuring bone density and respiratory capacity and the like.

I began feeling uncomfortable when I noticed that some of our research participants, who had early senility or dementia and had little idea of what was going on, had their consent to research participation signed by Dr. Smith. When I asked him about this, he looked a bit anxious but told me that these individuals had signed over their power-of-attorney to him upon entering the facility, and that he was therefore allowed to make decisions for them, including research participation.

When we were informed that we were going to be visited by some representatives of a grant foundation that might fund our work, Dr. Smith explicitly told us to say that we knew nothing about how our various biological specimens were procured. He also told us to say that our current research was on the cusp of success even though none of our assays had indicated anything unique or exciting. He also made a point to remind all of us of the confidentiality and nondisclosure stipulations in our employment contracts, which sounded like a veiled threat should any of us discuss some of Smith’s problematic practices with the funding team or any other outsiders.

We did not get the grant, and after a few months, I simply couldn’t tolerate the situation any longer, and I left. Please comment.
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics No mentor and trainee responsibilities topics
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics No publication practices and responsible authorship topics
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics
Factors that contribute to scientific misconduct,
Other serious deviations from scientific best practices
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics
The significance of conflicts of interest
Human Subjects Human subjects research

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Research Misconduct, Grant, Conflict of Interest
Other RCR Keywords Assisted Living Facility; Biological Specimens; Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Stipulations; Consent; Dementia; Drawing Blood; Early Senility; Grant Foundation; Homeopathic Remedies; Legally Authorized Representative (LAR); Measuring Bone Density; Power-of-Attorney; Research Participants; Respiratory Capacity; Skin Samples
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.


Topic revision: r2 - 28 Oct 2011 - 10:59:53 - MaryBanach
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