Biological Safety

Guideline Date: September 2017     Revision: 1     Last Review: August 2017

In pursuing innovative scientific research, the University promotes safe science practices and the fulfillment of regulatory obligations through its facilitation of the Laboratory Safety program. The main regulatory elements relating to biological safety come from the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standards, the Center for Disease Control (CDC)/U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Select Agent Program and the Washoe County Health Department biohazardous waste regulations.

In order to comply with applicable regulatory elements relating to biological safety, principal investigators (PIs) who plan to use biological agents during the course of their research are required to submit a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement (MOUA) to the University Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for approval and attend mandatory training.  

Compliance Actions  

Prior to acquiring or using biological agents, principal investigators must adhere to the following:

  • Be familiar with regulatory requirements and University policies and procedures relating to biological agents
  • Evaluate biological agent risks and develop laboratory-specific safety procedures and training
  • Complete all required training and ensure that laboratory group personnel complete all required training
  • Submit an MOUA to the IBC as described above

Training Requirements  

The following training courses related to biological safety are required for all University personnel who use biological agents:

  • Laboratory Biosafety Training. For University personnel who use biological agents in their research.
  • Select Agent Training. For University personnel who use select agents in their research as described the Federal Select Agent Program. Annual refresher course is required.
  • Shipping of Infectious Materials. For University personnel who ship or cause to ship infectious agents as described in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Regulations. Refresher course is required every two years.
  • NIH OBA rDNA Compliance Training. For University personnel who use recombinant DNA techniques as defined in the NIH Guidelines.
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Training for Laboratory Workers. For University personnel with a potential for exposure to human blood or other potentially infectious materials as specified in the University of Nevada, Reno Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan. Annual refresher course is required.  

PIs should contact the biological safety staff in Environmental Health and Safety if they have any questions about training, consultation and compliance with biological safety requirements.

Who to Contact

Environmental Health and Safety

  • (775) 327-5040
  • (775) 784-4553 Fax

Additional Information