Committees

Committees made up of faculty members and administrators, and in some cases community members, oversee research activities at The University of Texas at Austin.

Look up addresses and phone numbers for committee members in the university's directory.

Advisory Committees

Research Committees

Committees on Objectivity

Safety Committees

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Advisory Committee on Classified Research

Committee Charge

The Advisory Committee on Classified Research is appointed by the Vice President for Research under the provisions of the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Section 5.09. The committee is charged with (1) reviewing the classified research program for conformance with university policy and advising the President accordingly; (2) considering issues relative to the university’s policy regarding classified research and recommending changes in policy as necessary; and (3) reviewing procedures relative to classified research programs and considering infrastructure needs and administrative issues. The committee meets at least annually and is required to submit a report to the President annually on its findings relative to university policies on classified research and any recommendations for changes in those policies.

Juan M. Sanchez, Ph.D., Ex-officio, Vice President for Research

Clark S. Penrod, Ph.D., Chair, Director, Applied Research Laboratories

  • Dean Appling, Ph.D., Assoc. Dean, College of Natural Sciences
  • David A. Brant, Ph.D., Center for Agile Technology
  • Jay Boisseau, Ph.D., Director, Texas Advanced Computing Center
  • John Ekerdt, Ph.D., Assoc. Dean for Research, Cockrell School of Engineering
  • Austin Gleeson, Ph.D., Department of Physics
  • Robert Hebner, Ph.D., Director, Center for Electromechanics
  • Patricia C. Ohlendorf, J.D., Vice President for Administration and Legal Affairs
  • Susan Sedwick, Ph.D., Assoc. Vice President and Director, Office of Sponsored Projects

Laboratory Safety Advisory Committee

Committee Charge

The Committee is charged to act in an advisory and consultative capacity regarding the administration, implementation and coordination of policies and procedures for safety and environmental health in University research activities. The functions of this committee complement but do not overlap the responsibilities of the Institutional Biosafety Committee and the Radiation Safety Committee. Areas of consideration include regulatory compliance, training, inspections, hazardous materials management, waste minimization, emergency response, signage, and biological safety.

Desmond F. Lawler, Ph.D., ChairDepartment of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

  • Jennifer S. Brodbelt, Ph.D., Interim Chair and Professor, Department of Chemistry
  • Kevin Dalby, Ph.D., Professor, College of Pharmacy
  • Jackie Dudley, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • Alejandro De Lozanne, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Physics
  • Paul Liebman, J.D., Chief Compliance Officer
  • Jennifer Maynard, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Dean P. Neikirk, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Wayne Patterson, Ph.D., Associate VP & Director, Office of Research Support
  • John Salsman, Director, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Jim Smitherman, Staff, Department of Chemical Engineering

Committee on Objectivity in Research

Committee Charge

The Committee on Objectivity in Research advises the Vice President for Research and the Conflict of Interest Official on matters related to the implementation of the University’s policy on Promoting Objectivity in Research by Managing, Reducing or Eliminating Financial Conflict of Interest (http://www.policies.utexas.edu/policies/promoting-objectivity-research-managing-reducing-or-eliminating-financial-conflicts).

At a minimum, Committee members will include four members of the General Faculty, the Conflict of Interest Official, the Chair of the General Faculty Research Policy Committee, the Associate Dean for Research in the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Natural Sciences, and the Associate Vice President for Administration and Legal Affairs.  The Vice President for Research chairs the Committee.

 Juan M. Sanchez, Chair, Vice President for Research

  • Dean Appling, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • Leszek F. Demkowicz, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
  • John G. Ekerdt, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Andrew Ellington, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • Benny D. Freeman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, Ph.D., Chair, Research Policy Committee
  • Wayne R. Patterson, Ph.D., Associate VP & Director, Office of Research Support
  • Susan Sedwick, Ph.D. Associate VP & Director, Office of Sponsored Projects
  • Lee S. Smith, J.D., Associate Vice President for Legal Affairs
  • Salomon A. Stavchansky, Ph.D., Professor, College of Pharmacy

Laser Safety Committee

Committee Charge

The Laser Safety Committee reports to the Vice President for Research and is responsible for review and approval of policies and practices regarding the acquisition, manufacture, registration, use, monitoring, transfer, and disposal of lasers or intense pulsed light devices at The University of Texas at Austin. The Committee will meet at least once each regular semester on a called basis, or as required, to review applications for laser use, inspection and training activities, any incidents and best safety practices. Three members shall constitute a quorum.

The Committee shall consult with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) regarding regulatory issues and the current standards for safe use of lasers.  EHS shall assist the Committee concerning any unusual or exceptional action that affects the administration of the Laser Safety Program, and provides operational support to implement the program.

Todd Ditmire, Ph.D., Chair, Center for Fusion Research, College of Natural Sciences

  • Adela Ben-Yakar, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • W. Scott Pennington, ex-officio, Assistant Director Radiation and Laser Safety, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Tracy Tipping, Health Physicist Laboratory Manager, Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory
  • James Tunnel, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Philip Varghese, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
  • John Salsman, Director, Environmental Health and Safety

Research Safety Steering Committee

Committee Charge

The Research Safety Steering Committee is charged with providing oversight for all safety programs affecting university research. The Steering Committee ensures coordination between Offices of the Vice President of Operations and the Vice President for Research and among other safety committees including the Institutional Biosafety Committee, the Radiation Safety Committee, the Laser Safety Committee and the Research Safety Advisory Committee. The Steering Committee provides strategic direction to ensure regulatory compliance, promote a strong safety culture and encourage best safety practices consistent with the President’s EHS Statement of Commitment.

The Research Safety Steering Committee is co-chaired by Drs. Clubb and Sanchez with the following members appointed by President Powers:

  • Neal Armstrong, Ph.D., Vice Provost
  • Todd Ditmire, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Physics
  • Gerald "Bob" Harkins, Associate Vice President, Department of Campus Safety and Security
  • Gerald Hoffmann, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Physics
  • Desmond Lawler, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Alan Lloyd, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • Paul Liebman, Director and Chief Compliance Officer, University Compliance Services
  • Dennis Nolan, Assistant Director Biological and Lab Safety, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Glenn Otto, Ph.D., Director, Animal Resources Center
  • Wayne Patterson, Ph.D., Associate VP & Director, Office of Research Support
  • John Salsman, Director, Environmental Health and Safety

Radiation Safety Committee

Committee Charge

The Radiation Safety Committee reports to the President and has the broad responsibility for policies and practices regarding the license, purchase, shipment, use, monitoring, disposal and transfer of radioisotopes or source of ionizing radiation at The University of Texas at Austin. The Committee will meet at least once each regular semester on a called basis, or as required, to formally approve applications to use radioactive material. Four members shall constitute a quorum.

The Committee shall be consulted by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety concerning any unusual or exceptional action that affects the administration of the Radiation Safety Program.

Gerald W. Hoffmann, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Physics


Juan M. Sanchez, Ph.D., Vice Chair, Vice President for Research

  • Neal Armstrong, Ph.D., Vice Provost
  • Kevin Dalby, Ph.D., Professor, College of Pharmacy
  • W. Scott Pennington, ex-officio, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Rick Russell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • John Salsman, Director, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Bob G. Sanders, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences
  • Tracy Tipping, Health Physicist Laboratory Manager, Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory
  • Karen Vasquez, Ph.D., Professor, College of Pharmacy