VCU Professor Appointed to Serve on Federal Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections

Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., professor of psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, has been appointed to serve as a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections.

As a member of the advisory committee, Eissenberg will help provide expert advice and recommendations to the secretary, through the Assistant Secretary for Health, on issues and topics pertaining to or associated with the protection of human research subjects. Eissenberg will serve the committee for a term of four years, from October 2012 to October 2016.

The secretary is responsible for regulatory oversight of the system for protection of human subjects in biomedical and behavioral research supported or conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Dr. Eissenberg will have the opportunity to engage his interest and knowledge of issues relating to the protection of human research subjects to help advise the federal government on critical issues that shape research as we know it,” said Francis Macrina, Ph.D., VCU’s vice president for research.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to strengthen protections for research participants while reducing the burden of research,” said Eissenberg, a renowned expert in human behavioral pharmacology who joined the Department of Psychology and the VCU Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies in 1997.

For more than 10 years, Eissenberg’s research efforts have focused on understanding the effects and health risks associated with a variety of tobacco products, including the waterpipe, also known as hookah or shisha. His primary area of research is the behavioral pharmacology of drugs of abuse. He has published more than 120 research papers in various academic journals.

Since 2001, Eissenberg has served on VCU’s Investigational Review Board and has led efforts to promote the responsible conduct of research, particularly interactions involving local IRBs and behavioral scientists. In 2006, he chaired the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Task Force on IRBs and Psychological Science and is a member of the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Human Research.

Eissenberg holds affiliate appointments in the Departments of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Psychiatry, and Internal Medicine.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D.
Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D.