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ORE Forms Human Research Protection Program

The Office of Research Integrity continues to make strides in strengthening the infrastructure for responsible conduct of research oversight and support on campus. As part of this effort, three new staff have been hired to form the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Human Research Protection Program (HRPP).

The HRPP is the administrative arm of UT’s infrastructure to protect human participants in research. This unit, in partnership with the faculty-led Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the research community, is responsible for ensuring the safety and welfare of participants in human research projects conducted under the UT Federalwide Assurance. It provides the campus and the IRB with professional guidance and administrative support.

Laura Moll and Kristine Hershberger both joined the ORE team as IRB Compliance Officers effective August 1. Moll has been involved with human subjects research since 2003, first as a program coordinator at the University of Georgia and for the past ten years as an IRB administrator at Clemson University. Hershberger also has extensive human subjects research administration experience. She was involved with the IRB at Purdue University since 1996, and for the past ten years has been an IRB administrator there.

Sara Mulville joined the HRPP as an IRB Compliance Specialist effective July 5. She comes to UT from the Knox County Health Department where she served as a public health educator and helped facilitate public health research activities since 2009. Mulville will provide support to compliance officers and the IRB for incoming submissions, including continuing reviews, study closures and exempt determinations.

“I am honored to have been chosen for this important role and am excited to be part of this vital and committed team of professionals,” said Laura Moll, IRB compliance officer. “Kristine, Sara, and I look forward to getting to know researchers within the university community and to helping them achieve their research goals in a respectful and ethical manner.”

To aid the distribution of activities and research support needs within each college, the two compliance officers have been assigned to be the primary liaisons to specific academic units.

Moll will serve as the primary liaison for:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Communications & Information
  • College of Social Work
  • College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Haslam College of Business

Hershberger will serve as the primary liaison for:

  • College of Architecture & Design
  • College of Education, Health, & Human Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Law
  • College of Nursing
  • University-wide administrative units

Moll and Hershberger will work with college representatives and the IRB chairperson(s) – Colleen Gilrane, Marlys Staudt, and Tami H. Wyatt – to ensure a robust infrastructure that enhances the efficiency and integrity of IRB reviews.

“I am excited to welcome Laura, Kristine, and Sara to our university community,” said Robert Nobles, assistant vice chancellor for research. “The work that they will accomplish to support our researchers and the IRB is vital to our continued success and goals of becoming a Top 25 research university, which requires a strong supportive administrative infrastructure.”


The HRPP is a unit of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), headed by Robert Nobles, assistant vice chancellor for research. The ORI is housed within the Office of Research and Engagement. The UT Institutional Review Board is an appointed committee that regulates all research activities involving human subjects at the university and receives support from the Office of Research and Engagment.