Last Revised: February 2010
The University of Nevada, Reno employs various biological agents in scientific research, clinical medicine, and medical diagnostic activities. Additionally, UNR personnel may have exposure to biological agents while performing duties as maintenance personnel, athletic trainers, first aid providers, and a multitude of other activities. This policy provides guidelines for use of or exposure to biological agents to ensure a safe environment for the campus through the auspices of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
The IBC was created in response to the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities guidelines for the use of recombinant DNA (rDNA). The scope of IBC was expanded to include all risks associated with biological agents that arise as a result of UNR activities. The IBC will consider all consequences resulting from these risks including: (a) adverse effects to humans, animals, plants and the environment; (b) regulatory compliance; (c) legal liability; and (d) moral and ethical responsibilities. Biological agents include:
The IBC policies and procedures are in accordance with guidelines and regulations established by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the applicable state and local authorities.
The IBC is responsible for overall administration of the Biosafety Program through establishment of university biosafety policies and administrative oversight of activities involving biological agents. Specifically, the IBC is responsible to:
To conduct this responsibility effectively, the president of the University has appointed the vice president for research as the Institutional Officer to ensure that the IBC is appropriately supported. The Institutional Official has the authority to act for the institution and to assume, on behalf of the institution, the obligations imposed by federal, state, and local regulations pertaining to the use of and exposure to biological agents. However, the Institutional Official or other organizational officials may not approve the use of biological agents in research, teaching, extension or testing that have not been previously approved by the IBC as a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement (MOUA).
The Institutional Official appoints IBC members and also designates the committee chair. Each member will serve three years with the opportunity for re-appointment. Vacancies within the IBC will be evaluated by the current chair and the Institutional Official to determine appropriate replacement(s). The one exception to membership is the Biosafety Officer, who is a permanent member of the IBC. The Biosafety Officer will be a staff member of the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EH&S) and will be designated by the Director of EH&S.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on file with the Chair of the IBC and the Institutional Official provide details regarding: (a) training/qualifications; (b) membership terms, qualifications, responsibilities; (c) committee meeting attendance; (d) MOUA review (approval, amendment, modification and periodic review); (e) incident reporting and review; and (f) complaints and adjudication processes.