Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance (SIRC) has named Cristen Jandreau as director of the Conflict of Interest (COI) Program at Virginia Tech. As the newly appointed director, she also serves as the university conflict of interest officer. 

Jandreau will shape the COI Program to balance the needs of research objectivity and opportunities with industry.  

“This is a critical leadership role for SIRC and for Virginia Tech,” said Lisa M. Lee, associate vice president in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. “As the university cultivates relationships with the global business community and other external entities, it is vital that we have a leader who is skilled at navigating the complex intricacies of research relationships.”

The COI Program facilitates the university-wide process for disclosure of outside interests, identifies where research conflicts of interest exist, and works with researchers to develop ways to manage the conflicts in order to ensure objectivity in research.  

“Maintaining objectivity in research is essential for maintaining public trust in the exceptional work our faculty does. Cristen and her team are well-equipped to guide researchers through a process that helps us preserve that trust,” Lee said. Jandreau’s experience as a molecular biologist in fields ranging from preclinical research to epidemiology gives her a researcher’s view of the regulatory landscape that investigators must navigate in order to satisfy numerous constituencies and regulatory requirements.

Jandreau will oversee the COI Program while leading an initiative to examine COI processes across the university for opportunities to accommodate the growth of its robust, university-wide research portfolio.

“Our research and development growth goals are ambitious and ensuring that our COI Program facilitates compliance with state and federal requirements is part of our achieving those goals,” said Don Taylor, interim vice president for research and innovation.

Jandreau will lead a team of professionals to educate researchers and facilitate disclosure of outside interests across Virginia Tech. In addition, she will serve as a campus resource, providing subject matter expertise for discussions with industry leaders.  

“This is a tremendous opportunity to take a fresh look at existing processes and help create a program that will take Virginia Tech into the future as a competitive research institution,” Jandreau noted. “I am excited to be a part of the Virginia Tech community and to work with researchers; the Office of Sponsored Programs; and programs such as LINK, License, and Launch. My vision is an effective COI Program with a robust reporting culture and suitable frameworks to ensure proper identification and management of relationships that pose risk to objectivity in research.”

A Hokie, Cristen returns to Blacksburg from Virginia Commonwealth University where she focused on developing and implementing the COI Program as well as other research integrity initiatives.  

Anyone with questions about disclosure of outside interests or objectivity in research can reach Jandreau and her team coi@vt.edu

-Written by Mary Potter