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Joseph Malcolm: Leading step-by-step through the IRB

Joseph Malcolm

The Institutional Review Board is a step that every researcher at West Virginia University needs to take when conducting certain studies. Joseph Malcolm can help you up that step.

. . . once they submit to the IRB, they aren’t just a WVU student, they are a WVU researcher . . .

Malcolm, a Buckhannon, West Virginia native, is an IRB administrator with the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance.

When a researcher starts a new study at WVU, he or she must gain IRB approval to carry out the project. Of the 4,000 studies currently being conducted at WVU, 27% of them are student studies. If they have fallen under Flex or NHSR status, they’ve been seen by Malcolm. 

Malcolm earned his undergraduate degree in public science from Fairmont State University. He came to WVU about 10 years ago and spent his first seven years working as a data manager in the Cancer Research Center. 

In his data manager position, he worked primarily with data sets related to types of head, neck and brain cancer diseases. While working at the center, there were about 250 active studies being conducted through the IRB.

For the past two years, Malcolm has worked as an IRB administrator, which has allowed him to oversee numerous studies and play an important role in students’ projects.

Malcolm is part of a four-person department that works to review multiple different categories of protocol statuses along with the full review boards. However, his primary concern is making sure that every student is equipped with the knowledge and understanding of the IRB process so that their study can be successful. 

“It's very easy once you wrap your head around it, to understand what kind of tools students need to succeed,” Malcolm said. “I don't want students having issues or worrying about the IRB. I want to have that taken care of so they can enjoy their research project. 

“The most important thing to me is that each student puts their concentration into the research project and that they enjoy their project because once they submit to the IRB, they aren’t just a WVU student, they are a WVU researcher.”

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