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Maestro is an enterprise level web application written to facilitate and manage the review of human subjects research proposals for NMSU and other research entities that work with NMSU on a regular basis. Soon it will also be handling animal research and research dealing with bio hazards as well. It is currently in use by over 1000 researchers at NMSU and has over 5000 submissions to the system. Our conservative estimate is that it’s saving around $60,000 per year over the cost of the old paper based system.

When someone at NMSU needs to do research dealing with these potentially sensitive subjecs (humans, animals, or biological agents), there needs to be a way to ensure that the research meets governmental and regulatory standards of compliance so that nobody is harmed. Therefore, every research project at the University needs to be vetted and the methodology for the research needs to be reviewed and recorded. Maestro handles that.

At its core, Maestro is a document review system. Other solutions to this problem in the past have used PDF based forms, but PDFs lack the granularity that online forms, with questions and answers individually stored in a database, provide. Online forms, however, are hard for the layperson to create, so I developed a system by which NMSU compliance office staff can use a simple drag and drop user interface to create the forms that need to be filled out and submitted. The forms are then stored, question by question, in Maestro’s database. This allows each individual question and answer to be tracked, commented on, and subsequently revised if need be. The whole process is recorded in a history log for each form so that compliance office reviewers can see the history and revision information for every question on every form ever filled out in regards to human subjects research at NMSU.

Maestro also allows for forms to be routed through team members, review processes, and revisions… and keeps multiple forms wrapped together in a master project, making research documents easier to keep track of. It keeps track of training certificates, required for many types of research, and allows for document attachments. Since each individual type of research (human subject, biosafety, or animal research) has it’s own requirements, each is broken out into its own category and can be managed separately.

In 2016, Maestro won the NMSU Arrowhead Launch Competition, designed to highlight technologies that have a potential place in the market. We’ve been working with NMSU since that time to make Maestro a commercial product, but it’s slow going working with the university. I’m confident, however, that Maestro will eventually make its mark on research institutions all over the country.

Ed Zenisek, co-creator of MAESTRO, delivered a passionate presentation and highlighted his team of NMSU employee co-founders with 60 years of combined IT experience. Zenisek said MAESTRO saved NMSU $250,000 by streamlining a human subjects research compliance review system that once involved thousands of reams of paper and a chain of desk-passing. The system, developed by users with integrated feedback, can be adapted to other university compliance requirement and needs. MAESTRO is NMSU-owned, so the team proposed to use the Launch award to license the software from NMSU and provide service to other universities under a new name and branding.

Lauren Goldstein – NMSU News Center