Featured Member Profile: Heather Pixley

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews where we will continue to introduce you to our members, individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Pixley, program leader and scientific writer at the Center for Aging Research at the Dartmouth Institute in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

When and why did you join the field?
I joined in 2003 when I was promoted to laboratory coordinator for a research group at Dartmouth. Much of my position involved writing and updating institutional review board (IRB) materials, and I soon became an IRB member and the administrative manager for our group. IRB duties are the most fulfilling part of my position.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is helping others learn about human subjects and ethical issues. I also enjoy serving as a consultant for research groups that are less experienced.

What’s playing on your iPod?
I might be the last person who doesn’t have an iPod or other MP3 player.

What is the last movie you saw?
I recently saw Paranormal Activity 2.

What are you reading?
I’m currently reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Why did you join PRIM&R?
My institution’s IRB provided funding for my initial membership and attendance at a meeting. It was a very worthwhile experience.

What is your favorite member benefit?
I really enjoy the Newsletters and complimentary access to webinars.

If you were planning our next conference, who would you select as a keynote speaker?
I would choose Stephen Bartels, MD, MS, as a keynote speaker. The aging population is growing, and therefore so are treatment and research programs. I would consider him to be an expert on ethics, research, and older adults with serious mental illness. He is an excellent speaker.

What motivates you to maintain your commitment to advancing ethical research?
I have been a research subject in the past, recruited subjects to research studies at my institution, and served as an IRB committee member to review the research of others. At each point, I have gained a different perspective and also seen that not everyone is well versed in the best policies and procedures. It is important to continue offering guidance to researchers as techniques change and advance.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Heather. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.