Research Protections

The Office of Research Protections oversees the approval process for research that involves the use of human subjects, animals or restricted materials. We perform this task with the help of several resources:


  • Research Conflict of Interest program
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) 
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) 


Research Conflict of Interest Program
Our Research Conflicts of Interest program is intended to ensure that the design, conduct, reporting and publication of research will not be biased by actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Houston Methodist's goal is to promote the identification and, if required, resolution or management of such conflicts in the context of research.

Institutional Review Board
The Institutional Review Board is composed of physician investigators and administrators who oversee the regulatory review and approval process of human subjects research studies conducted at Houston Methodist. Every study that uses human samples (blood, urine, tissue) or enrolls patients into a clinical trial must be approved by the IRB. This process provides oversight for researchers since a committee of their peers evaluates their proposed use of human subjects and ensures that the research is well-designed and ethical.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
The responsibility of the IACUC is to oversee use of animal subjects, including proposed and ongoing studies, as they relate to animal welfare laws, regulations and policies. This oversight includes review of the appropriateness, quality and availability of the selected animal model, determines how humane and appropriate the procedures and conditions surrounding animal subjects before and after the study are and examines the adequacy and availability of essential animal research facility support.

Institutional Biosafety Committee
All research and teaching that involves the following materials must be reviewed and approved by the IBC:  


  • Recombinant DNA
  • Artificial Gene Transfer
  • Infectious Agents (includes attenuated lab and vaccine strains)
  • Biologically Derived Toxins

For additional information regarding the use of human subjects, animal subjects or biological agents in research, as well as the IRB, IACUC and IBC, please contact the Office of Research Protections at 713.441.7887 or 713.441.7548.