Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBC) are federally mandated in the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH r/s NA Guidelines) for institutions that host r/s NA work (see Section IV, “Roles and Responsibilities”, NIH r/s NA Guidelines).
In recent years, it has been recognized by NIH that the roles and responsibilities of IBCs are growing. IBCs are being given responsibilities for emerging technologies like xenotransplantation, nanotechnology and biosecurity.
At UConn Health, you can contact the IBC through its Coordinator, who is also the Biological Safety Officer (BSO), by email or at 860-679-3781. The BSO appreciates email most of all because conversations may be tracked and archives kept.
Submissions to the UConn Health IBC
The UConn Health IBC meets monthly. See Meeting Dates for details. Submissions are previewed by the IBC coordinator for clarification prior to consideration by the IBC reviewers. All submissions should be by email as a word document (please do not send a .pdf). Final submissions should be made two weeks prior to the meeting date, to allow the reviewers time. The IBC coordinator will preview submissions on a first-come-first-served basis up to 10 days before IBC meetings. Direct all submissions to the IBC Coordinator.
Submissions to the IBC consist of Registrations for use of r/s NA. Safety Protocols that bring up non-routine biosafety (not r/s NA) issues that come to the attention of the BSO from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, the Institutional Review Board, and from researchers themselves are routed to the Committee on Biohazards (COB).
To find out how registration is defined in the NIH r/s NA Guidelines and the two ways registrations are handled by the IBC relative to approval and the timing beginning of experiments, you can read the first paragraphs of Sections III-D and III-E in the NIH r/s NA Guidelines.
To be compliant, pass everything by the BSO prior to beginning an experiment.
About the UConn Health Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
The UConn Health IBC consists of about a dozen members of whom half are researchers with expertise in areas of research that are pertinent to the research that is reviewed. The NIH r/s NA Guidelines require that at least two members are unaffiliated with UConn Health to represent the interest of the surrounding community with respect to health and protection of the environment.
If the membership of the IBC is lacking in expertise concerning a particular registration or issue, the IBC will engage an ad hoc member that has the required expertise. These are usually recruited from the UConn Health faculty.
At times the IBC is looking for additional members, both affiliated with UConn Health and unaffiliated. Please contact the UConn Health IBC Coordinator if this would interest you.
Times to Contact the IBC Coordinator/BSO
When you have questions or concerns about:
- Safety and/or compliance around the use of recombinant or sythetic nucleic acids (r/s NA).
- Safety and/or compliance around the use of viral vectors.
- Using (or ordering – all SA toxin orders must be made through the BSO) an infectious agent or toxin that is on or not on the Select Agent List.
- Experiments Involving the Cloning of Toxin Molecules with LD50 of Less than 100 Nanograms per Kilogram Body Weight, including but not limited to: botulinum, tetanus, diphtheria and shigella toxins.
- Experiments involving the deliberate transfer of a drug resistance trait to microorganisms that are not known to acquire the trait naturally, if such acquisition could compromise the ability to control the disease agents in humans, veterinary medicine or agriculture.
- Performing a human gene transfer experiment (you wish to put r/s NA into human subjects).
- Biosafety training.
- Checking anything but ‘no use of r/s NA’ in the recombinant/synthetic materials/compliance section (Section 6) of the IACUC animal application.