Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) are the cornerstone of institutional oversight of research that involves the use of biohazardous agents, including recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acid molecules. The Virginia Tech IBC has been charged with the planning and implementation of the campus Biosafety Program with a purpose to ensure the health and safety of all personnel working with biohazardous agents.
The IBC functions to ensure that instructional and research activities conducted at Virginia Tech are in compliance with our federally mandated responsibilities and obligations, as outlined by current government requirements described in the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) select agent guidelines and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) select agent regulations, both associated with the National Select Agent Registry; and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations. Additional Select Agent guidance may be found at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. The Virginia Tech IBC consists of faculty, staff, and community representatives who have responsibility for reviewing all teaching and research activities involving:
- Infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, protozoans, fungi, etc.)
- Biologically derived toxins
- Human and/or non-human primate blood, body fluids, cells or tissue culture
- Recombinant DNA
- Synthetic nucleic acid molecules
- Transgenic animals, invertebrates, and/or plants
- Artificial gene transfer
- Select agents
- Dual-use technologies
- Synthetic biology.
Experiments involving these activities cannot be started without prior protocol review and approval by the IBC. The IBC drafts campus biosafety policies and procedures, and reviews individual research protocols for biosafety concerns. The IBC oversees and reviews research protocols involved in both teaching and research, regardless of the funding source(s). In areas of overlap, it coordinates with the IACUC when animals are used, the IRB when human subjects are involved, and the Radiation Safety Committee when applicable.