Institutional Biosafety Committee / IBC

IBC protocols are now submitted through Kuali.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (the University) has an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) in compliance with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines, April 2016) and in accordance with Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 6th Edition, November 2020.  

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is a University-wide review body that provides oversight over University operations and activities of a potentially biologically hazardous nature. The IBC reviews and approves research that involves potentially biohazardous materials (plant and animal pathogens, oncogenes, toxins and recombinant DNA), as required by University, State and Federal directives.

The IBC consists of no fewer than five members so selected that they collectively have experience and expertise in recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules and technology. The committee shall also include a biosafety officer, one scientist with expertise in animal containment, and one scientist with plant, plant pathogen or plant containment principles. Two members shall be from the community and who represent the interest of the surrounding community with respect to health and protection of the environment. The committee has the capability to assess the safety of the proposed research and to identify any potential risk to public health or the environment.

The committee schedules monthly meetings and meets at least four times a year. Questions as to whether a material is a potential biohazard should be directed to the Biosafety Officer in Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) at 545-2682.

The IBC follows NIH Guidelines recommendations for reviewing projects that require constructing and handling: (1) rDNA and synthetic nucleic acid molecules, and (2) organisms and viruses containing rDNA and synthetic nucleic acid molecules. In addition, the IBC reviews activities involving use of Select Agents and Toxins and other biohazardous agents that must be handled at BSL3. The IBC also reviews activities involving BSL-2 materials.

The IBC assists the EHS Biosafety Officer in formulating policies and procedures related to the use of biohazards. The IBC is also charged with reviewing the biological and medical waste management program annually and may advise the institution and the Principal Investigator (PI) concerning management of research that is classified as “dual use”.