Increased Lab Capacity & Tier 3 Human Subjects Research Activation on April 1

March 17, 2021

A message from Dr. Kunkel...

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier today, Rebecca Cunningham, U-M Vice President for Research, made two important announcements that will take effect on April 1, 2021:

  • Laboratories and research spaces will no longer be restricted to 75% occupancy and will now operate based on a density capacity that safely allows for at least six feet of social distancing between personnel. There will no longer be a mandate to maintain 144 square feet per person. Keep in mind that some teams may not be able to reach full capacity on April 1 because their labs or research spaces cannot safely accommodate more personnel and still maintain at least six feet of separation.
  • All human research studies categorized as Tier 3, which have been paused since last spring, may resume in-person activity beginning April 1. These studies must first apply for activation. Studies that are able to complete their goals remotely should continue with remote work.

Existing policies related to COVID precautions, such as mandatory face coverings, remain in effect. Please remember that work that can occur remotely should continue to be done in that manner.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued updated guidelines as it relates to social interactions among people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19; however, these guidelines are applicable to a residential setting only.

This announcement of expanded capacity is exciting news for our entire research community, given where we were almost exactly one year ago today, when thousands of Michigan Medicine faculty and staff working across 600+ labs “ramped down” in response to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, I noted that we had asked all of you to “turn the super tanker on a dime.” Twelve months later, thanks to your continued resiliency and passion for our mission, our large research enterprise is operating safely and effectively across the spectrum of our investigative efforts. We are humbled both by the unbridled power of nature and the staggering accomplishments of science. All of us are part of a larger – and frankly amazing – accomplishment, the fastest-ever roll out of a safe and effective vaccine. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks in no small part to the herculean efforts of the global biomedical research community.

CLICK HERE for a video that takes a look at some of your accomplishments over the course of this challenging year. From administrative staff to postdocs to PIs to animal care team members, I applaud your efforts and thank you for all your hard work.

Best regards,

Steven L. Kunkel, Ph.D.
Executive Vice Dean for Research, Medical School
Chief Scientific Officer, Michigan Medicine
Peter A. Ward Distinguished University Professor
Endowed Professor of Pathology Research