How can I submit a registration for my research involving biological materials?

The UConn IBC uses HuskySMS Powered by SciShield, an electronic database to complete and submit registrations and amendments to the IBC. The former registration system is no longer available. All new registrations and renewals must be submitted via HuskySMS, by completing a biological summary. The following link, uconn.scishield.com, can be used to access the new database. Personnel can log in using their UConn NetID and password.

The lab must be bio-enabled by the IBC Coordinator, so please contact ibc@uconn.edu, to begin the registration process.

If you have any questions about HuskySMS and need help, please feel free to contact ibc@uconn.edu with  “HuskySMS Support” in the subject line.

When can I begin research or teaching activities involving biological materials?

Due to requirements outlined in state and federal regulations/guidelines, when your work can begin will depend on the activities conducted in the lab. A biological summary must be submitted through HuskySMS and reviewed by the IBC Coordinator and the IBSO, who will then determine when the work can begin. Many experiments can start once the preliminary review is complete and the lab has received an initial biosafety audit, while other activities may require full committee review and approval prior to initiation of research. For additional information regarding when work can begin, please contact the IBC Coordinator at ibc@uconn.edu.

Who is eligible for PI status?

UConn employees serving in the following capacity are eligible for PI status:

  • Principal Investigators are University employees (permanent, temporary, post-doc) who direct the activities of a research laboratory and/or project within a research group.
  • Principal Instructors are University employees who oversee the activities of teaching laboratories and/or individual undergraduate student projects.
  • A Laboratory Supervisor is a University employee who works for a PI as a technician or assistant responsible for daily laboratory functions.
  • The individual responsible for overseeing a lab that is a part of the Technology Incubation Program (TIP), can act as a PI for the IBC registration process.

How long are registrations approved for?

Each registration shall be active for a maximum period of three (3) years. At the end of this three year period, the registration expires.  As a courtesy, PIs will be notified by e-mail in advance of the expiration date to begin the registration renewal process.

Does the IBC work with other compliance committees?

If there is a need for review by multiple compliance committees (e.g., IACUC, IRB, SCRO), the IBC will coordinate with the applicable RICS contact to ensure that the lab is in compliance. In some cases, a pending protocol may be acceptable, while in other cases a final approval must be in place. It must be noted that IBC approval does not supersede or waive the requirement for independent review by other research compliance committees.

How can I amend an approved registration?

PIs may modify their approved registration at anytime within HuskySMS. Simply log into HuskySMS, navigate to the biological summary and make the necessary changes. Be sure to certify and submit the updated bio-summary for committee review.  Requests for amendments must be submitted to the IBC for review prior to the initiation of new experimental activities.  Amendments may include but are not limited to changes in experimental activities (new microorganisms, host-vector systems, transgenic animals, etc.), funding, personnel, and locations.

Please note that new research activities involving RG2 organisms as a host-vector systems, cloning RG2 DNA into non-pathogenic bacteria, infectious DNA or RNA viruses and recombinant experiments with animals or plants must not begin until the committee has reviewed and approved this amendment. An exception may be made when the changes are necessary to eliminate apparent immediate hazards to human health or the environment.

The procedures for approving amendments are the same as those described in the IBC Registration Process page. Supplementary questions may be required for the addition of biological materials. If necessary, PIs will be notified.

What is an annual review and how do I complete one?

Since the implementation of HuskySMS, the previous Annual Review Form has transitioned into the HuskySMS database as a Self-Inspection Log. At least annually, PIs should review their current IBC Registration / biological summary in HuskySMS to determine if any modifications are required.

To complete the IBC Annual Review, navigate to the “Self-Inspections” in your lab’s HuskySMS dashboard. Select “Add a new Self Inspection”, and under the drop-down menu of “Inspection Type”, select “IBC Annual Review” and click “Inspect”. For additional information on this requirement, contact the IBC office via email ibc@uconn.edu.

This helps the lab to remain in compliance and aids the IBC in determining if major changes have been made to the registration that have not been approved. In the event a PI does not receive an email, they can complete the survey during their Biosafety Audit.

My registration contains proprietary information. Can this remain confidential?

When the IBC reviews registrations containing proprietary information, a conflict may exist between this proprietary information and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The State of Connecticut requires University records remain open to the public.

To resolve this conflict, investigators may provide written documentation to justify any confidentiality request or claim.  The investigator will submit a written justification along with a copy of the IBC registration specifying that proprietary information is contained in the application.

Types of information which may be considered proprietary:

  • New and/or novel ideas. If so specified in a written contract or agreement.
  • New commercial uses of a process, device, or chemical.
  • Potentially patentable items.

The above list is not all inclusive. When questions arise relating to specific guidelines or matters which may be unclear, investigators should contact the UConn Technology Partnership group.

The registration will be discussed in closed/executive session.

Only those portions of the registration identified in the approved written justification will be considered proprietary and as such kept confidential. Following the executive session, the IBC will reconvene in open meeting for the purpose of a formal vote on any actions conducted during the executive session.

It must be noted that in the event a FOIA request is received, the IBC office will work with Biosafety, the OVPR, and University Communications to review and redact records for security purposes. Documents that contain materials and research methods that could be considered proprietary (e.g. gene targets and vectors) will also be submitted to University Communications for redaction as well.