The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (DCOM) at Lincoln Memorial University recognizes the value and importance of research and scholarly activities in medical education. Accordingly, LMU-DCOM has committed resources to ensure that both students and faculty have access to research opportunities and to promote successful research programs that contribute to advancements in the areas of prevention, control, and treatment of diseases. In addition, LMU-DCOM seeks to develop collaborations with other colleges within LMU as well as external entities to further these research goals.
LMU-DCOM employs multiple individuals with expertise and talents that provide assistance and guidance in the initiation and execution of faculty and student research projects. The LMU-DCOM Director of Research provides oversight and guidance to research activities conducted by LMU-DCOM faculty, staff, and students and is responsible for the communication and administration of research related policies. The Director of Health Sciences Research and Grants leads and supports the seeking of funds for research and scholarly initiatives. Research Specialists are available to help faculty with gathering information and data for their current research initiatives, assist in the preparation of research grant proposals, and to mediate community outreach studies. An Osteopathic Biomedical Research Assistant is also available for basic and clinical science data collection and assistance with laboratory experiments. In addition, biostatisticians are on staff to assist with research design and biostatistics analysis.
Facilities and equipment support
In the LMU Mathematics and Natural Science Building (MANS), approximately 4,700 square feet of laboratory space is designated for faculty and student bench research. These facilities include mass spectroscopy, fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC), high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), quantitative PCR equipment, and modern molecular biology and tissue culture facilities. In addition, a Microscopy Suite is housed on the first floor of the MANS building and occupies 1,900 sq. ft. of space. This facility is equipped with sample preparation equipment, light microscopes, and a state-of-the-art scanning electron microscope (SEM), as well as a transmission electron microscope (TEM).
Within the annual budget of LMU-DCOM, funds are earmarked specifically for the support of research activities. Included in these funds is money designated for two separate competitive student research fellowships: the DeBusk Summer Research Fellowship and the Basic Science Research Fellowship. There are also competitive Intramural Grants available to the faculty that are intended to provide seed money to initiate research projects that are likely to lead to successful external funding applications in the future. In addition, financial support is available to cover reasonable costs associated with travel to a professional meeting for students or faculty members who have an abstract accepted for presentation.
LMU Research Policies
At the institutional level, Lincoln Memorial University maintains an active Committee on Scholarly Activities (COSA) which works to “Promote, Assess and Enhance University Wide Research; Consider University Wide Research Issues and Recommend Research Policy to the Vice President of Academic Affairs”. The LMU-DCOM Dean/Director of Research serve on this committee as representatives of LMU-DCOM.
The University Vice President of Academic Affairs also provides administrative oversight to the LMU Office of Research Grants and Sponsored Programs (ORGSP). The ORGSP is dedicated to providing the supportive infrastructure needed to increase the overall number and types of externally funded grants and ensure the proper management and oversight of new and established awards that fully represent the mission statement and historical integrity of Lincoln Memorial University. ORGSP maintains policies related to research and scholarly activity that govern all entities within LMU, including LMU-DCOM. Under direction of the ORGSP, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and Institutional Biological and Chemical Safety Committee (IBCSC) ensure that all activities adhere to relevant federal, state, and local regulations.
To ensure the protection of every person who may be involved in research and training projects, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews all research projects involving human subjects and confirms their compliance with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) regulations for the protection of human subjects (45 Code of Federal Regulations 46) and relevant FDA, VA, state and local regulations. A LMU-DCOM faculty member is appointed to the LMU Institutional Review Board (IRB) and provides representation of LMU-DCOM on this committee.
The mission of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is to assure the well-being and proper care of all vertebrate animals used for research and educational purposes at Lincoln Memorial University. It serves the public by ensuring institutional compliance with all legal and ethical standards regarding the use of animals in research. LMU-DCOM faculty provide representation by serving on this committee.
The Institutional Biological and Chemical Safety Committee (IBCSC) is the cornerstone of institutional oversight on research involving biological materials and chemicals. All research projects involving pathogens, recombinant DNA, or highly corrosive chemicals undergo review by the IBCSC. Currently, there are two LMU-DCOM faculty members that serve on this committee.
LMU-DCOM Research Policies
In addition to the institutional regulations governing the research and scholarly activities at LMU, LMU-DCOM has established additional policies and procedures to provide oversight and to support the research and scholarly activities of its faculty and students.
LMU-DCOM Research and Grants Committee
The mission of the LMU-DCOM Research and Grants Committee is to consider all matters pertaining to initiation of research projects, prioritizing, funding, evaluating and auditing of grant applications, and identifying funding opportunities and community projects of LMU-DCOM. These matters shall consist of, but will not be limited to faculty basic science research, clinical research, drug trials, consortia projects both domestic and international, as well as community-oriented research with collaboration from members of the tri-state area. This committee is chaired by the Director of Research and consists of LMU-DCOM faculty members from the basic sciences, clinical medicine, and physician assistant departments.
LMU-DCOM Policies and procedures for faculty research
LMU-DCOM has institutionalized guidelines for faculty promotions that require research or scholarly activity as a criterion. These guidelines were authored by the LMU-DCOM Faculty Executive Committee representing the LMU-DCOM faculty assembly.
Faculty who are interested in initiating a research project are encouraged to first prepare a research proposal. The proposal should include Title, Goal, Hypothesis, Methods, and Timelines for completion of the project. A preliminary budget specifying costs of materials and equipment required for completion of the project should also be included in order to provide an estimated total cost of the project. This proposal should be presented to the faculty member’s supervisor or department chair for review and to discuss any release time that may be required for the project. If desired, the faculty member may submit completed proposals to the LMU-DCOM Research and Grants Committee for critical evaluation and feedback.
If the proposed project involves the use of human subjects, then an IRB Application for Human Subject Research must be submitted to the LMU Institutional Review Board (IRB). Projects involving animal research must be submitted to the LMU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). If the project requires the use of biohazardous, toxic, or other controlled reagents/substances, Institutional Biological and Chemical Safety Committee (IBCSC) review is required.
Research collaborations with other institutions
In 2015, a multi-institutional collaboration known as the Central Appalachian Consortium of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (CACCOM) was established to provide a framework for the development of collaborative research and medical education among its member schools. The consortium consists of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, the University of Pikeville – Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The stated mission of CACCOM is to improve health outcomes in Central Appalachia, especially for vulnerable populations, by collaborating on research and medical education, implementing innovative strategies that measurably improve the health status within the region, and leveraging the strengths of the osteopathic approach.