The Responsible Conduct of Research (MED 255)

The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course is designed to engage participants in productive discussions about ethical issues that are commonly encountered during their research careers. This course is required for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Many departments and programs also recommend or require this course as part of their curricula.

The objectives of both courses are:

To engage participants in case-based discussions of ethical issues commonly encountered in, and raised by, current biomedical research.

To introduce participants to methods of analysis of ethical issues

To introduce participants to policies and regulations relevant to the conduct of research.

MED 255 has been designed specifically to engage bench researchers in productive discussions about ethical issues commonly encountered during their scientific research careers, and addresses contemporary debates at the interface of biomedical science and society. View the current Academic Year schedule for MED 255 here.

View the syllabus here.

Topics covered include:

  1. Authorship and inventorship
  2. Data integrity and information
  3. Safe research environments
  4. Conflicts of interest
  5. Regulatory basics
  6. Collaborative and Community-Engaged Research
  7. Human biological materials
  8. Societal responsibility
  9. Rigor and Reproducibility 

Case-based Discussions

In every class section there will be discussion sessions based on cases and dilemmas that will be distributed to participants.  Participants are also free to bring up situations that they have heard about or experienced themselves.

Required Pre-Class Assignment & Optional Readings

There are 7 required video lectures that students must view to complete the required pre-class assignment (the MED255 Study Guide). The Study Guide is due one week prior to class. In-class discussions will draw heavily on the topics of the assigned videos. There are also optional reference readings available.  

NIH Certification

This course fulfills NIH requirements for training in research ethics. Documentation of attendance is very important, so you must sign the attendance sheet.


RCR classes fill very quickly, we strongly encourage students to enroll for the course you want on the day that registration opens for the term in which you wish to take the course.

Graduate students can enroll through Axess:

Post-docs, faculty, staff, and affiliates can enroll through STARS:

For further information, please contact

MED 255 Instructors

Daphne Martschenko, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Holly Tabor, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine

Please contact for any questions related to RCR.