Institutional Biosafety Committee


The committee promotes a safe campus environment by developing specific policies and procedures that reduce risks to the University of Nevada, Reno community associated with biological agents in accordance with guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health, OSHA, and appropriate state and local authorities.

Committee issues

  • Biological agents inventory and reporting
  • Memorandum of understanding and agreement review and approval
  • Current and ongoing biosafety issues

Who should submit a biological use protocol (referred to as a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement or MOUA) to the Institutional Biosafety Committee?

Each supervisor who possesses or uses any biological agents must submit a MOUA to the Institutional Biosafety Committee, regardless of the risk level of the biological agent. Biological agents include:

  • Microorganisms
  • Viruses
  • Prions
  • Human body fluids, cells or tissues
  • Cultured cells of any origin
  • Recombinant DNA or RNA and toxic products
  • Animals infected with human pathogens and as sources of zoonotic agents
  • Genetically modified plants
  • Insects

Generally, the MOUA should be written to cover all use of biological agents in a particular lab so that only one MOUA is submitted per laboratory; however there are instances when more than one MOUA is necessary. Please see the University's Biosafety Manual, chapter 2 for more information on the MOUA submittal process.

Major regulatory drivers

  • NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules
  • CDC/USDA Select Agent Regulations
  • OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard
  • Washoe County Health District Biohazardous Waste Regulations

Member demographics

  • Number of members: 11
  • Number of academic faculty: 7
  • Number of administrative faculty: 2
  • Number of non-University of Nevada, Reno community members: 2
  • Meeting frequency: Monthly

Committee minutes

Contact the Institutional Biosafety Committee if you would like a copy of the meeting minutes at

Committee contacts

Paul Brett
Institutional Biosafety Committee Chair
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
University of Nevada, Reno
(775) 784-4109

Keith Kikawa
Biosafety Officer
University of Nevada, Reno
(775) 327-5046

Institutional Biosafety Committee meeting schedule

Institutional Biosafety Committee meetings are held every month via remote format (Zoom), as well as in-person at the Applied Research Facility, room 213. Researchers submitting a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement (MOUA – aka. “Biological use protocol”) or MOUA amendment for review must provide the submittal on the second to last Friday of the month effective Dec. 1, 2023. Protocols received after this deadline will be evaluated at the next scheduled Institutional Biosafety Committee meeting.

The submittal and meeting schedule through 2024-2025 academic year is as follows:

  • May 8, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline April 19, 2024)
  • June 12, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline May 24, 2024)
  • July 10, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline June 21, 2024)
  • Aug.14, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline July 19, 2024)
  • Sept. 11, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline Aug. 16, 2024)
  • Oct. 9, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline Sept. 20, 2024)
  • Nov. 13, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline Oct. 18, 2024)
  • Dec. 11, 2024 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline Nov. 15, 2024)
  • Jan. 8, 2025 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline Dec. 20, 2024)
  • Feb. 12, 2025 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline Jan. 17, 2025)
  • March 12, 2025 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline Feb. 21, 2025)
  • April 9, 2025 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline March 21, 2025)
  • May 14, 2025 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline April 18, 2025)
  • June 11, 2025 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline May 16, 2025)
  • July 9, 2025 at 3 p.m. (submittal deadline June 20, 2025)

Please note that the date of an Institutional Biosafety Committee meeting may change slightly if the need arises.

Submitting a biological use protocol (MOUA) or an MOUA amendment

Effective September 2019, EH&S will begin using SafetyStratus to submit, track and follow up with the submissions of biological use protocols (also known as Memorandum of Understanding and Agreements “MOUAs”). Previously, new protocols were requested as Microsoft Word or PDF documents, and follow-up/communication with the PI regarding their biological use protocol was conducted manually. In an effort to increase the efficiency of this process, we have chosen the SafetyStratus application as our new management system. Specifically, biological use protocols will be tracked in the “IBC module”.

Beginning September 2019, all new MOUAs and MOUA amendments will be submitted using the new SafetyStratus system. We recommend adding as a trusted domain so that messages aren’t inadvertently filtered as spam.

The most up-to-date information regarding the SafetyStratus implementation can be found on this web page. How-to text and video tutorials are available to PIs learning to navigate the new submission system. See the helpful resources below for video tutorials and instructions.

To submit an initial/renewal MOUA or an MOUA amendment

Upon entering the SafetyStratus application (using the Single Sign On [SSO] authentication for University of Nevada, Reno users or logging in with an e-mail for non-University users), a PI will be able to:

  1. Submit a new MOUA application
  2. Submit an amendment to an existing MOUA
  3. Submit a renewal MOUA for an existing MOUA that is set to expire

To submit an amendment to an existing MOUA

For PIs with existing protocols that were approved prior to September 2019, they do not need to do anything until the current MOUA expires or until an amendment is needed. Individuals who would like to submit an amendment, please contact Keith Kikawa at for assistance.

We expect the implementation of this program to be smooth, but there may be functionality that is not operating as intended. Please notify Keith Kikawa at if you are having difficulty using the system, if you believe there is a software bug that we need to fix, or if you have any questions about the submission and review of MOUAs or amendments. We appreciate your help and patience as we move forward with the new software implementation.

Helpful resources

Video tutorial for PIs submitting a MOUA or an MOUA amendment

Below are links to third party web/multimedia content. If you experience any issues accessing this content, please contact Keith Kikawa at

Instructions for completing a MOUA or an MOUA amendment

View step-by-step instructions for Safety Stratus.

The freezer farm maps for Fleischmann Agriculture 229 and Howard Medical Sciences 140 can be downloaded by clicking the appropriate link below.