Nicholas Jones, MS, was looking for the next natural evolution in his career, and he believed Salus University was a good fit. The University’s administration agreed, and Jones recently started as the new Research compliance coordinator.

Certainly starting any new job during a pandemic comes with its own unique challenges, but Jones — who came to Salus from Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania, where he was research coordinator for the past six years — has hit the ground running.

Nicholas JonesJones will be the liaison between the University’s researchers and two main review boards — the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which reviews all research involving human subjects; and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which reviews research using animals.

“My role is primarily administrative and really what I’m doing is trying to make sure the applications that are coming to me from the researchers are at a state where the regulatory boards will be able to approve them,” said Jones. “One of my big roles is essentially reducing the workload for those two committees.” The researchers send applications to those committees for approval to conduct their research. And, Jones reviews those applications prior to sending them to the committees. “I’ll do a pre-review, give basic feedback and catch mistakes, and do a quick round of revisions before sending it to the committees,” he said.

One of the job qualifications for this role was research experience with both humans and animals, something Jones was doing at Haverford College.

Although he started his new job during the pandemic, Jones said his predecessor, Lydia Parke, was instrumental in getting him up to speed. The two had two weeks of crossover, and Parke’s advice gave Jones a leg up with his new duties and the environment.

Late summer and early fall — particularly September and October — has been a busy time for Jones and the Salus researchers. Closely tied to the academic calendar, the research calendar brought a flurry of activity at the beginning of the semester.

“A lot of returning students and faculty get their research spooled up in September and October. That’s when we would have a lot of applications to those committees,” said Jones.

When he is not involved with research, Jones has a unique hobby: he is very involved in the blues dance scene in Philadelphia. At least he was before the pandemic hit and limited those activities.

“It’s similar to swing dance, which a lot of people are more familiar with,” said Jones. “I do some teaching with a small volunteer group, which has all moved online now and is looking pretty strange.”

To fill in the gap, Jones has tried to get outside on the weekends and take shorter day hikes and trips to the beach.

Nevertheless, he has been impressed with his time at Salus.

“It was a really great fit for my background and skill set,” said Jones. “And, I sort of felt like it was the next natural step in the expansion of responsibility for this kind of role.”