Research Ramp Up: Phase 2

On-campus research activities will continue to ramp up slowly over three phases. TUSDM has prepared ramp-up guidelines for each phase of research that follow university, local, state, and federal guidelines. Currently, TUSDM is in Phase 2 for our research activities. Please see below for information regarding Phase 2 on-campus research. All Phase 1 activities that were previously approved in a Ramp-Up Plan submitted to DRA may continue as is. Any changes to the plan (i.e. number of study staff on-site per day, initiation of a new project, etc.) must be submitted to DRA in a revised Ramp-Up plan, and receive approval before the changes are implemented. The TUSDM Research Ramp-Up Guidelines: Phase 1 and forms for Phase 1 (benchwork only) can be found here. Please reach out to Pamela.Corrado@tufts.edu with any questions. 

Phase 2: Reduced On-Campus Operations

All individuals seeking to conduct on-campus research activities must receive prior-approval from the Dental Research Administration, in accordance with TUSDM and OVPR guidelines. 

Effective August 1st, as part of Phase 2 of research ramp up, face-to-face human subjects research where there is a lower risk of COVID-19 exposure may resume upon approval from Dean Kugel. All researchers planning to request to resume research activities falling under phase 2 must read the TUSDM Research Ramp-Up Guidelines- Phase 2.

Basic Research: The focus will be a continued gradual increase of on-campus research, performing experiments in the labs. This phase will allow for more on-campus research time, as well as the return of more individuals to the labs. Phase 2 will also allow for the resumption of lower risk face-to-face human subjects research. The health and safety of faculty and staff continues to be the most important, while also allowing us to ramp down on-campus research activities to Phase 1 as needed if conditions change. All researchers seeking to begin the resumption of phase 2 research activities must submit the Research Ramp Up Form Phase 2 (Researcher Form) to Dean Kugel and their Chair to ensure compliance with building density, social distancing, PPE/infection control, and training requirements. All Phase 1 activities that were previously approved in a Ramp-Up Plan submitted to DRA may continue as is. Any changes to the plan (i.e. number of study staff on-site per day, initiation of a new project, etc.) must be submitted to DRA in a revised Ramp-Up plan, and receive approval before the changes are implemented. Ramp-up plans for TUSDM researchers must be compliant with guidelines from Tufts University and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Approval from DRA must be received before research activities can begin. 

Human Subjects Research: Face-to-face human subjects research where there is a lower risk of COVID-19 exposure may resume upon approval from Dr. Gerard Kugel. Face-to-face human subjects research where there is a medium or higher risk of COVID-19 exposure will continue to be suspended until further notice. We strongly encourage continue us of remote work whenever possible. Principal Investigators (PIs) and Faculty Advisors (FAs) are ultimately responsible for identifying and minimizing risks in human subjects research protocols, and for pausing research which cannot be safely conducted. If the protocol falls entirely within the features designated as lower risk (see Guidance for Face-to-Face Human Subjects Research Ramp Up), develop a mitigation plan following the Tufts University Research Infection Control Manual and submit a request to resume your study to Dr. Gerard Kugel using the Ramp Up Request Form (still pending finalization by OVPR).

Student Research: For students seeking to resume research activities please complete the Research Ramp Up Form Phase 2 (Student Form) and submit it to Dean Kugel, Eileen Doherty, and your Principal Investigator. Approval from DRA must be received before research activities can begin.

PLEASE NOTE:  The Tufts University Biosafety Office recently released guidance to research labs that will be handling and processing human specimens, environmental samples, or other materials known or potentially containing SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). This also applies to human specimens in which the SARS-CoV-2 status is unknown. Work with unfixed human specimens requires the use of Universal Precautions and Biosafety Level 2 containment and work practices because all human materials must be treated as potentially infectious.

Moving forward, all human specimens of unknown SARS-COV-2 status, or have tested and were found negative, can be processed for diagnostic testing, histological analysis, nucleic acid extraction, and similar end-point procedures at Biosafety level containment using Universal Precautions. Procedures involving culturing the patient specimens, or SARS-COV-2 positive specimens, need to be performed at Biosafety level 3.  Given these guidelines, all research involving human source materials will require registration with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

There is also a new training for Tufts personnel that will handling patient samples that may contain COVID-19: Biosafety Overview for Processing COVID-19 Patient Samples – Tufts University.

The following research ramp-up resources are available from OVPR

Face-to-Face Human Subjects Research:

Human Specimens Research

Animal Research

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Other