Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Recombinant/Synthetic Nucleic Acids Research

Non-Recombinant/Synthetic Nucleic Acids Research

The IBC is responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the NIH Guidelines as well as for reviewing and approving all research projects involving recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is actively committed to preserving the health and safety of its students, staff, and faculty, and to protecting the environment and the community.  Environmental Heath and Safety (EHS) recognizes that manipulation and insertion of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids into various organisms is necessary within many CMU research and teaching laboratories. To ensure the safe handling of these organisms, Carnegie Mellon mandates that all research at the university involving recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules, hazardous biological materials, and/or biological toxins be conducted in accordance with federal and state laws.  See below for what the NIH Guidelines pertain to as of the most recent revision.

In the context of the NIH Guidelines, recombinant and synthetic nucleic acids are defined as: 

(i) molecules that a) are constructed by joining nucleic acid molecules and b) that can replicate in a living cell, i.e., recombinant nucleic acids;

(ii) nucleic acid molecules that are chemically or by other means synthesized or amplified, including those that are chemically or otherwise modified but can base pair with naturally occurring nucleic acid molecules, i.e., synthetic nucleic acids, or

(iii) molecules that result from the replication of those described in (i) or (ii) above.

(NIH, November 2013)

Recombinant/Synthetic Nucleic Acids Research

To register a new project, modify an existing project or renew approval of a current project, please use the research application form in the helpful links box on the right side of the page.

*You will need to enable macros in order to use this form.  Please contact our Biological Safety Officer with any questions.

In addition to the biosafety office, any human subject or animal research MUST go through the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance.  Please click the weblink on the right hand side of the page for the appropriate forms and information.

To file for exemption from the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules, please complete the exemption form in the helpful links box on the right side of the page. NOTE: The exemption form is to be used for research that DOES NOT involve recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules.

*You will need to enable macros in order to use this form.  Please contact our Biological Safety Officer with any questions.


Non-Recombinant/Synthetic Nucleic Acid Research

Biological Materials Registration

Carnegie Mellon University requires that all work involving biological materials handled at Biological Safety Level 2 (BSL-2) containment or higher be registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for completing this registration document which will then be reviewed by the IBC and, on approval, will be valid for a period of two (2) years. The PI is also responsible for notifying the Biological Safety Officer (BSO) when any changes are anticipated.

To register your non-recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid materials, please use the Biological Materials Registration Form provided in the helpful links box.

For information regarding BSL determination and the principles of biosafety please refer to EHS and to the CDC’s Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.

**PLEASE NOTE that CMU is not equipped to handle research that must be conducted under BSL-3 or BSL-4 containment.  Research requiring these containment levels is strictly prohibited.**

If you have any questions regarding IBC protocols, meeting times and dates, and/or meeting minutes please contact EHS at (412) 268-8182.

Office: MI 313
Phone: (412) 268-8405
Contact: Andrew Lawson


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