Biological Safety

Biological Safety is the scientific discipline devoted to the protection of individuals, agriculture, and the environment from potentially harmful microorganisms and other biological agents. Biosafety is accomplished through the use of risk assessment and the application of work practices, protective equipment, and exposure control.

NAU Biological safety programs have been developed to protect staff, students, faculty, and visitors from potentially hazardous biological materials; to assist with compliance with regulations, standards, and guidelines pertaining to biological research; and to promote good microbiological work practices. Information about our Biosafety programs are listed below, along with helpful documents.

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

NAU is responsible for ensuring that all research and teaching laboratories working with hazardous biological materials, regardless of funding source, is conducted in a safe manner and is compliant with regulatory guidelines and policy. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to seek IBC approval, using the NAU IBC Form, for the safe handling, transport, use, and disposal of hazardous biological materials within their laboratory spaces and maintain IBC approval during the time period these materials are used and/or stored. Modifications to protocols must also be approved by the IBC.

The NAU IBC is a faculty-led committee of experts in biosafety-related fields established to oversee research involving recombinant DNA and other biohazards. The IBC is responsible for the oversight of all research activities involving recombinant and synthetic DNA and biohazardous material, as required and outlined in the NIH rDNA Guidelines and CDC’s Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL). Research involving recombinant DNA and biological materials must be reviewed and approved by the IBC prior to the initiation of research. For more information, please read the IBC manual posted below.

Helpful Links

Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) Resources

DURC is life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misused to pose a significant threat with broad consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, or national security. The United States Government’s oversight of DURC is aimed at preserving the benefits of life science research while minimizing the risk of misuse of the knowledge, information, products, or technologies provided by such research. For more information, please peruse the links posted below.

Bloodborne Pathogens, Sharps Safety, & Occupational Exposures

All NAU employees who may have occupational exposure to human blood, unfixed human tissues, human cell/tissue cultures, certain other body fluids or bloodborne pathogens must receive OSHA Required Bloodborne Pathogens Training before they initiate assignments with any of these materials.

Training

Biosafety

Required for personnel working with recombinant DNA, infectious materials, and any other research-related projects that involve Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) containment practices. Training is tailored to meet the needs of individual groups, so please contact the Biosafety Office to schedule biosafety training.

Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)

Required prior to the start of work for personnel working with specimens such as human blood, human body fluids/tissues, and potentially infectious human cell lines (including primary cell culture and cell lines known or likely to by infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C). This training applies for personnel when there is a potential occupational exposure or contact to blood, blood products, or other potentially infectious materials. Training is tailored to meet the needs of individual groups, so please contact the Biosafety Office to schedule biosafety training. Initial BBP training must be taken in person. The annually required refresher training may be completed in person, or online:

NIH Guidelines

Required prior to the start of work for personnel working with recombinant DNA and synthetic nucleic acid molecules.

Responsible Conduct of Research

Required prior to the start of work for personnel listed on an IBC protocol.

Helpful links

Contact

If you require specific information regarding biosafety, please e-mail Biosafety@nau.edu.