The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) oversees the safety of research and classroom projects involving recombinant DNA or other biohazardous materials. The IBC sets containment levels in accordance with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It also periodically reviews previously approved research projects for changes which would necessitate increasing or decreasing the containment levels. Recombinant DNA
consists of molecules constructed outside of living cells by joining natural or synthetic DNA segments to DNA Molecules that can replicate in a living cell, or molecules that result from their replication.
Biohazardous materials are infectious agents or hazardous biological materials that present a risk or potential risk to the health of humans, animals or the environment. The risk can be direct through infection or indirect through damage to the environment. Biohazardous materials include certain types of recombinant DNA; organisms and viruses infectious to humans, animals or plants (e.g. parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi, prions, rickettsia); and biologically active agents (i.e. toxins, allergens, venoms) that may cause disease in other living organisms or cause significant impact to the environment or community.
Specifically, the responsibilities of the IBC are:
1. Reviewing recombinant DNA and biohazardous materials research and classroom activity conducted at or sponsored by the University for compliance with standards set forth in NIH Guidelines and approving those projects that are found to conform with NIH Guidelines, including
a. An independent assessment and establishment of containment levels,
b. Assessment of the facilities, procedures, practices and training and expertise of personnel involved in the project
c. Ensuring compliance with all surveillance, data reporting and adverse event reporting requirements
d. Notifying the Principal Investigator of the results of the IBC’s review and approval/disapproval
e. Periodic review of on-going project to ensure compliance with the approved protocol and procedures
f. Periodic laboratory inspections to ensure that laboratory standards are rigorously followed
g. Reviewing and adopting emergency plans covering accidental spills and personal contamination resulting from recombinant DNA or other biohazard materials research or classroom activity
h. Reporting, any significant problems with or violations of the NIH Guidelines and any significant research-related accidents or illnesses to the appropriate University official and NIH/OBA if the project is NIH funded.
i. Performing such other functions as may be delegated to the IBC.