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Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

The UTHSC Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is responsible for reviewing research activities utilizing recombinant DNA (rDNA) and other biohazardous materials to ensure that UTHSC principal investigators and lab personnel utilize appropriate best practices when performing this type of work. All research by UTHSC investigators that utilizes rDNA, as defined in the NIH Guidelines, must be registered with the UTHSC IBC according to policies established by the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA).

What is rDNA?

The NIH Guidelines, initially published in 1976, were the first documents to formulate the concept of an IBC as the responsible entity for biosafety issues stemming from rDNA research. Per the NIH Guidelines, rDNA is defined as; (1) molecules that are constructed outside living cells by joining natural or synthetic DNA segments to DNA molecules that can replicate in a living cell, and (2) DNA molecules that result from the replication of these molecules. Although the use of non-replicating synthetic nucleic acids, such as siRNA, would not be included in this definition and are considered Exempt by the NIH Guidelines, research utilizing these materials must still be registered with the IBC.

What are biohazardous materials?

Biohazardous materials include all infectious agents or biologically derived infectious materials that present either a risk or a potential risk to the health of humans, animals or the environment. The risk can be direct through infection or indirect through damage to the environment. Biohazardous materials include certain types of recombinant DNA; organisms that are infectious in humans, animals or plants (e.g. parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi, prions, etc.); and biologically active agents (i.e. toxins, allergens, venoms) that may cause disease in other living organisms or cause significant impact to the environment or community. Biological materials you may not consider to be biohazardous may still be regulated as biohazardous materials.

Last Published: Sep 30, 2016