The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) of the University of Connecticut (UConn) is committed to promoting the advancement of research and teaching activities, by ensuring that all experiments involving biological materials are conducted in full compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and guidelines. As required by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines), all institutions that conduct research with recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids (rsNA) and receive NIH funding, must maintain an active IBC. With the cooperative effort of Principal Investigators (PIs), the IBC conducts risk assessments for hazards associated with the use of biological materials, and promotes the safe use of such materials by enhancing lab personnel’s understanding of biosafety practices and procedures, as defined in the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The IBC was established to review research and teaching activities that involve biological materials including but not limited to: recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules (rsNA), bacteria and their phages and plasmids, viruses, biological toxins, fungi, mycoplasmas, prions, and parasites; human and non-human primate tissues, body fluids, blood, blood byproducts, and cell lines, transgenic and wild type animals and plants, animal remains and insects that may harbor zoonotic pathogens.
Institutional policy requires that all biological research is registered, reviewed, and approved by the IBC every three years. The IBC review and approval process is based on the completion and submission of the IBC Registration forms to the IBC Office.
The IBC provides guidance on research related safety issues as described in the NIH Guidelines (Section IV-B-2-b). For example, the IBC will assess facilities, incidents, procedures, practices, training and expertise of personnel involved with biological research. The IBC will ensure compliance with all necessary health surveillance, data reporting, and adverse event reporting requirements. The IBC also works with UConn Biosafety to ensure compliance with other relevant federal and state regulations (e.g. Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), etc.).