Spotlight

Fostering Integrity and Societal Impact in Genomics through Management and Leadership Practices

Alison_headshot_croppedDr. Alison Antes, Assistant Professor in the Division of General Medical Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine, received a K01 career development grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute. This grant will support the research program described below which focuses on the management and leadership practices of researchers as they relate to integrity and societal impact in genomic research. The grant will also allow Dr. Antes to receive mentoring and education in genetics, bioethics, and the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics. Her mentors include Dr. James DuBois, the Steven J. Bander Professor of Medical Ethics and Professionalism at Washington University School of Medicine, and Dr. Laura Bierut, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine.

Researchers conducting genetic and genomic science play an essential role in advancing biomedical science and its translation and dissemination in medicine. In performing their work, researchers encounter a number of practical ethical, legal, and social challenges, such as research compliance, data integrity, and engaging the public. Moreover, there are significant ethical, legal, and social implications of the outcomes of this research. The purpose of this research is to understand the challenges and needs of genomic researchers with regard to these issues focusing in particular on management practices and leadership practices employed by researchers in navigating issues of research integrity and the societal impact of their work.

In the first phase of this research, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with a national sample of federally-funded researchers nominated as exemplars of professionalism and integrity to identify the management and leadership practices they employ to foster integrity and impact in their research. In a second phase, we will survey a national sample of genomic scientists regarding the management and leadership practices identified in the interviews. We will ask researchers to report on the management and leadership practices they utilize, their confidence in performing each practice, and their interest in training or support materials. In the third phase of this research, we will conduct focus groups with researchers to understand their preferences regarding types of programs and messages about tailored management and leadership programs for scientists. Next, we will develop messages and test their appeal among with researchers using a survey. These findings will facilitate effective messaging about future initiatives to encourage the participation of researchers.

This research will lay the groundwork for future research and practical resources and tools to assist researchers with meeting the various ethical, legal, and social demands of their work, thereby contributing to the quality, integrity, and social impact of genomic science.