University of Minnesota
Institutional Review Board

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Membership of the IRB Committees

The Institutional Review Board is composed of a dedicated group of volunteers from the University of Minnesota and its surrounding community. The committees possess a breadth of knowledge allowing them to review a large range of research projects. These members serve an important role in protecting the rights of research subjects.

Criteria for Diversity

Diversity enables the IRB to effectively evaluate a wide range of research. The professional preparation of IRB members includes expertise in a wide range of medical and social research areas, familiarity with applicable regulations and laws and with relevant standards of professional conduct and practice, and knowledge of vulnerable or special populations such as children, prisoners, pregnant women, and disabled persons.

The committee strives for a balance of men and women, with representation from minority populations.

The following criteria apply to each of the review panels:

  1. Each IRB panel is composed of at least five members with varying backgrounds. Every nondiscriminatory effort is made to assure that no panel is composed entirely of either men or women.
  2. At least one member (the Community Representative) has no affiliation with the University, other than IRB membership, and is not an immediate family member of anyone affiliated with the University. Whenever the primary Community Representative is unable to attend an IRB meeting, every attempt is made to appoint an alternate Community Representative to serve.
  3. Typically, at least one IRB panel member has primary professional expertise in a scientific field relevant to the type of research reviewed by that panel, and at least one member has primary concerns in a nonscientific field. To ensure that there is always a non-scientific member present, senior IRB staff serve as voting members for each panel. No IRB panel consists entirely of members of the same profession.

How Members are Appointed

In selecting new members, the Director of the HRPP works with department heads and other University officials to seek candidates for nomination, with consideration for maintaining the diversity and specialty requirements of the individual panels.

When an appropriate candidate is found, an invitation letter is sent requesting confirmation of intention to serve. The formal appointment of new members is made by the designated Institutional Official for Human Subject Protection.

Length of Terms of Service

Each member is appointed to a three-year renewable term.

Liability Coverage

With regard to potential legal action, IRB members are covered under the University Legal Defense and Indemnification of Employees policy which provides coverage for those University of Minnesota faculty and staff serving the University and also covers any non-affiliated member acting on behalf of the University.

List of University of Minnesota's IRB Members

This IRB does not provide rosters of individual committees, but provides a list of active members and provides a narrative description of our compliance with federal rules and regulations. See the list of members on the right of this page.

Mitigating Conflict of Interest

No IRB member participates (other than to provide requested information) in the initial or continuing review of any protocol in which they have a conflicting interest. This includes review of any material submitted over the course of the study or the duration of the member’s term.

Conflicting interest includes, but is not limited to, the following:

The IRB member or his/her family member…

  • is or will be an investigator in the research;
  • supervises an investigator on the protocol
  • holds a significant financial interest in the business entity sponsoring the research;
  • has a proprietary interest in the research, such as a patent, trademark, copyright, or licensing agreement
  • holds a close personal relationship with an investigator
  • participates in a potentially competing research program or study
  • has any other personal/financial biases or interests that may interfere with the exercise of impartial judgment and objective review of the research.

Every effort is made to prevent new applications in which a member has an interest from being reviewed by that member’s panel. If time constraints or study content require that such a study be considered by the conflicted member’s panel, that member must recuse him/herself from the deliberation, discussion, and vote on that study. Unless requested to remain in order to provide additional information, it is expected that the member leave the room until after the vote is taken.

Abstention from the vote is noted in the minutes.

Membership Expectations

Members on the IRB act as surrogates and advocates for potential subjects in research at the University of Minnesota, Fairview Health Services and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. Members attend meetings to discuss regulatory and ethical considerations surrounding proposed research. They participate in analysis of the risk/benefit relationship before the meeting and during the discussion sessions, acting as a unit to understand, clarify, and improve the research enterprise.

Members are expected to prepare for and attend meetings. Each IRB meeting must have a quorum of members present in order for official meeting business to take place. Committee members should anticipate spending approximately six hours to review meeting materials. The homework preparation for the meetings can be significant, but results in substantive discussion at the meeting. New committee members will be introduced to the principles of the Belmont Report, along with federal regulations pertaining to human subject protections. They will then learn to apply those principles and regulations within the review process.

Members are also expected to participate actively in continuing education to assure continued excellence in the research review process.

Despite the work burden, membership is also a rewarding experience, with the overwhelming majority of persons serving on the IRB opt to extend their three-year terms. Through participation in review and discussion of research, a connection is forged with the other members of the committee, resulting in a more informed core to the research community with a focus on the ethical conduct of research. If these are issues that interest you, we encourage you to come and join this impressive group.

For more information on current membership or on becoming a new member contact:

Sarah Wanserski, IRB Operations Manager
Human Research Protection Program
612-626-5924 |

Committee Members

The Institutional Review Board is composed of a dedicated group of volunteers from the University of Minnesota and its surrounding community. The committees possess a breadth of knowledge allowing them to review a large range of research projects. These members serve an important role in protecting the rights of research subjects.

Please note that all communication concerning submissions should be directed to Human Research Protection Program Office, and not directed to individual committee members.

Current Committee Members (Oct 2015)