COVID-19 Update: Reopening Research Status, Human Subjects Research and More
05/15/2020, 12:00:01 PM
From the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston. View this message in browser.
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Dear Research Faculty,

While UH Facilities Services is continuing to support more than 1,000 research personnel who are back to campus, I want to stress that bringing in additional lab members who were not on the initial access request form requires submitting new forms and following the same process used in reopening the research enterprise in the first place. I address below several topics related to research operations gleaned from our interaction with faculty and research personnel over the past two weeks.

Access to the Libraries

While the Libraries are not open to users at this time, UH databases, electronic journals and e-books remain accessible and staff in the MD Anderson, Health Sciences and Music libraries provide additional services. Librarians provide research assistance to UH faculty and students remotely via the Contact Us link — use either the ‘Chat with us’ function or the ‘Get expert help’ link on that page. To access print materials from the general collections, use the Contact Us link on the Libraries website to contact Libraries staff who are available to scan and email chapters and articles or mail entire items such as books and magazines. 

As mentioned in my last email, to access materials from Special Collections, you should contact Christian Kelleher, Head of Special Collections, at cdkelleh@Central.UH.EDU. In-person access to materials will be by appointment only and will require the use of face masks and taking other protective measures. Appointments will only be granted to researchers who have received permission to return to campus.

Ordering new books has not yet resumed. If you have an immediate need for titles not owned by the Libraries, consult your subject librarian for possible available options. Use the Request a Purchase link for ordering of new print books that are not immediately needed or for requests for resources in electronic format that need to be purchased. You can also contact your subject librarian or use the Contact Us link if you need assistance for locating electronic materials, placing an Interlibrary Loan or any other needs not covered in this summary of services.

Access to the Research Stores

Many researchers frequent the Research Stores in the basement of the Lamar Fleming building. The store is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.– 3:30 p.m. If you need to order something, email the Research Stores at so that they can get your order ready for pickup. When you go there to pick up your order, make sure you wear a mask. If you cannot get into the building, call 713-743-2639 and someone from the Research Store will come to let you in.

The Research Stores also carry Personal Protective Equipment, such as face masks or face shields, at reasonable prices. They have been able to procure high-quality products from reputable manufacturers. For instance, 50 face masks only cost $75, have durable elastic straps and are made out of material that does not wrinkle easily. They also carry bleach, gloves, safety goggles, medical-grade wipes, hand sanitizers and other disinfecting supplies.

If you need more specialized products, such as chemicals or gases, let them know. They can procure most items within one business day.

Access to Faculty Offices

At this point, we only approve campus access requests for those who cannot conduct their research remotely. If you are not approved to come to campus and need to retrieve items from your office, email your department chair to make arrangements to come in. For those of you who have faculty offices in the MD Anderson Library, use the Contact Us link to make an appointment to pick up materials after you receive permission from your department chair. When you return to campus, make sure you wear a face mask. 

The Importance of Contact Tracing

We continue to get questions about the requirement to keep a log of known contacts over the past two weeks. (If you work with human subjects, the list of their names must be kept in a confidential UH location, and so do not add those names to your personal list that you keep at home.) We require this log because the Public Health Department will expect you to provide a list of contacts if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 so that they may inform those you have been in contact with. It is easier to maintain a complete list if you add names when you meet people rather than trying to remember who you were in contact with over the previous two weeks, especially if you are not feeling well.

50-in-5 Faculty Café

We are offering a 50-in-5 Faculty Café session on Reopening Human Subjects Research on Tuesday, May 19, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Only limited human subjects research is currently permitted. This session will explain the limitations and specific precautions required to limit the spread of COVID-19 for human subject research. To receive the Zoom link for the event, please register.

We are also offering bi-monthly 50-in-5 Faculty Café sessions on COVID-19 Related Funding Opportunities for Research. The third online session on this topic is scheduled for Friday, May 22, 1 p.m.–2 p.m. To receive the Zoom link for the event, please register

Best regards,

Amr Elnashai, FREng  
Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer

Amr Elnashai | VP for Research and Technology Transfer | | 713-743-4736

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