About the IRB Committee

UPDATED 07/30/2020:

Cornell University has been cleared by New York state to restart research activities, in a staged, limited manner. In mid-May, the Cornell Research and Operations Reactivation Committee published a guide for the safe restart of the university's research, which includes the requirement that researchers must submit a reactivation plan to their college/unit for approval before returning to campus.

On July 1, a sub-committee on Human Subjects Research Reactivation published new guidelines for reactivating in-person human subjects research on Cornell’s Ithaca, Geneva, and Cornell Tech campuses. These guidelines provide a means for each college/unit to decide if a research reactivation plan that involves in-person, on-campus human subjects research can be approved. Any changes to IRB protocols must also be reviewed by the IRB.

On July 28, the IRB published additional guidance for investigators on conducting in-person research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please visit the IRB COVID-19 FAQs page for updates and contact the IRB if you have any questions.

Federal and state regulations mandate that research involving human participants must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Learn more about Cornell's IRB and its membership.

The Cornell IRB is a standing committee of the University Faculty whose activities are overseen by the Vice Provost for Research.  Cornell's Human Research Protection Program operates under two Federal Wide Assurances (FWAs) filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: one for the Ithaca-based campuses, including Cornell Tech (FWA 00004513), and one for Weill Cornell in New York City (FWA 0000952). Weill Cornell operates separate IRBs.

What does the IRB do?

The IRB is responsible for providing guidance and oversight for Cornell's Human Research Protection Program, and for helping to maintain compliance with applicable regulations and policies.

Federal regulations require that any IRB include at a minimum: one member whose primary concerns are in scientific areas, one member whose primary concerns are in nonscientific areas, numerous members representing more than a single profession, and at least one individual not affiliated with Cornell.

Because Cornell is a large institution, additional members are included to provide adequate representation of the diverse research community and to accommodate the workload associated with reviewing large numbers of applications. Membership beyond the minimum required by regulation is drawn from faculty and staff primarily from the social, behavioral and biological sciences.

Cornell's IRB includes twelve to eighteen voting members. Members are appointed by the President, upon recommendation of the Dean of Faculty in consultation with the Vice Provost for Research. Members are typically appointed to a three year term. The committee chair is appointed from the faculty membership and will serve for a term of one to three years, after which they may be re-appointed.

Current IRB Membership

  • Andrew Willford (Chair), Professor, Anthropology
  • Kathleen Bergin, J.D., non-scientist
  • Reverend Doctor Robin Blair, non-affiliated member and non-scientist
  • Kent Bullis, M.D., Executive Director, Cornell Health
  • Anthony Burrow, Associate Professor, Human Development
  • Bobby Edamala (Ex-Officio, non-voting), Chief Information Security Officer, IT Security Office
  • Gary Evans, Professor, Design and Environmental Analysis/Human Development
  • Kenneth Hill, M.D., Cornell Health
  • Stephanie Mattoon (Ex-Officio, non-voting, alternate for Dr. Turse), Biosafety Specialist, Environmental Health & Safety
  • Saurabh Mehta, Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences
  • Sarah von Schrader, Assistant Director of Research, K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, ILR School
  • Robert Scott, Executive Director, Cornell Prison Education Program, Prisoner representative
  • Mike Shapiro, Professor, Communication
  • Joshua Turse (Ex-Officio, non-voting), Biosafety Officer, Environmental Health & Safety
  • Martin T. Wells, Professor, Department of Statistics and Data Science
  • Jura Liaukonyte, Dake Family Associate Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management