Research News

September 19, 2005

Dear Fellow Tulane Researchers:

With help from many of you, significant progress has been made to allow Tulane investigators to continue their research.

1. Tulane Vivaria

Thanks to the courage and generous efforts of several individuals at the Health Sciences Center and uptown facilities before, during and after the storm, most of the research animals survived with a minimal amount of distress. An animal evacuation plan was arranged through the Division of Vivarial Science and Research faculty and the Office of the Associate Senior Vice President for Research. A courageous team led by Drs. Patti Coan and Jim Blanchard rescued the majority of the transgenic and genetically altered rodents at both uptown and downtown campuses. The animals were transported to the primate center where they are being maintained temporarily, thanks to Dr. Andrew Lackner and his staff. Soon we will transfer the rodents to a facility where they can be maintained until we return to our buildings. An inventory is available by contacting us (

All remaining animals in both facilities were humanely euthanized. We owe a debt of gratitude for this effort to the USDA, several Houston animal care programs, Tulane Primate Center technicians, Tulane Police, and the senior staff of the Division of Vivarial Science and Research. Through their efforts, we were successful in recovering valuable Tulane research program resources while limiting the suffering of animals in our care.

2.  Stabilization and Recovery of Biological Specimens

Stabilization and recovery of biological specimens began on September 5 and is continuing. Missions led by Dr. John Clements, with help from Drs. Robert Garry and Tom Voss, have entered both uptown and downtown campuses on several occasions to stabilize and recover research materials. This involved evacuating or stabilizing all liquid nitrogen storage containers on both the Health Sciences Center and uptown campuses. On the Health Sciences Center campus, 47 liquid nitrogen storage containers were relocated to the second floor of the JBJ building, along with a source of liquid nitrogen to replenish them. These storage containers were collected from laboratories in the School of Medicine and JBJ. The containers have been replenished with liquid nitrogen and will be maintained in this temporary "tank farm" until we can return to our buildings. The storage containers have been labeled with the name of the investigator or the room number from which they were removed. An inventory is available by contacting us ( Missions have also entered the Stern, Israel and Boggs buildings to replenish the liquid nitrogen on all identified storage tanks. The tanks have been relocated to the proximity of the elevators, where we await power to the building to effect their evacuation or to import a liquid nitrogen supply. We worked with the chairs of Cell and Molecular Biology and of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering to locate and stabilize tanks. In addition, liquid nitrogen was provided to the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometers in Stern Hall to stabilize them. We continue to organize missions to both campuses to complete this important task.

Once the stabilizing of perishable specimens has been completed, we will permit a few individuals from each department to enter the campuses to collect critical items necessary to operate for the upcoming weeks until we can return to our buildings. Entrance to the buildings is strictly controlled. Meticulous documentation of each entry is critical, including a log of items removed from the buildings. Department chairs are working to ascertain the needs and priorities for entry into the buildings.

Sadly, it has not been possible to preserve all of the biological materials of importance to the Tulane research community. In particular, the extensive biologic specimen banks in -70 degree freezers at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine were already at ambient temperature before rescue missions could be mounted.

3. Interactions with Federal Agencies

We have been working with federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control, the Office of Management and Budget and others. We have found the agencies to be dedicated to the continuation of our research efforts and the preservation of our productive future. We ask you to view the websites of the agencies regularly, as new policies are being posted there. In particular, the National Institutes of Health has posted new policies regarding grant submissions and other issues at their Frequently Asked Questions site ( Please note that we have successfully negotiated with the National Institutes of Health a new mechanism for submissions from affected institutions. For National Science Foundation submissions, FastLane is accessible through our Office of Research Administration (see contact information below).

In order to access funds from your grants, you have two options :

1. Negotiate a subcontract. It will not be necessary to transfer salaries to the subcontract, since personnel will remain on the Tulane payroll. The subcontract would include the cost of consumables or other things that you anticipate needing in the immediate future. Our Office of Research Administration will negotiate the subcontract with your host institution.

2. Reach a "gentle-person's" agreement with your host institution. By this mechanism, your host at another institution would agree to support your research needs, with the understanding that reimbursement will follow from your grant as soon as our business systems are operational. We must have e-mail documentation of your mutual agreement, including the anticipated amount of funds involved and the source for repayment. Please forward e-mail documentation to the Office of Research Administration and to us (

To utilize either of these mechanisms, you must also seek approval of your department chairman. This is essential to confirm that sufficient funds are available in your account for reimbursement.

4. Research Administration

Tulane's Office of Research Administration is operational and can be reached as follows:


Tulane's Institutional Review Board is operational and can be reached as follows:


Tulane's Institutional Biosafety Committee and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee are operational. At present, these offices can be reached by contacting Angelique Dorsey, University Research Compliance officer, as follows:

We remind you that Tulane's responsibility to conduct research in a manner compliant with federal regulation remains intact, even though the research may be conducted at a remote site. Please contact the relevant compliance office before you initiate or continue work that is subject to federal regulation.

Finally, we ask all Tulane researchers to work closely with department chairs or center directors, who will be updated weekly at teleconference meetings. We sincerely hope that this message finds you safe and well. We look forward to working together with you at Tulane in the near future.

With best regards,

Paul K. Whelton
Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences

Laura S. Levy
Associate Senior Vice President for Research

Lester Lefton
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

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