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Biological Safety

The biological safety team partners with researchers to ensure that biological materials are used in ways that reduce risk, as well as in compliance with requirements and regulations. The biological safety team:

  • Coordinates all registration/approval activities for the Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBC). All research involving the following materials in a viable state requires review and approval by the IBC:
    • Recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids
    • Microbiological agents infectious to humans, animals or plants
    • Human-derived materials including cells, tissues and body fluids
    • Nonhuman primate-derived materials including cells, tissues and body fluids
    • Toxins of biological origin
  • Assists with risk assessments of proposed biomaterials activities to recommend exposure controls
  • Provides guidance regarding shipment of biological materials (including international dangerous goods requirements, permits, and other logistical considerations)
  • Provides biosafety training for all personnel working in research labs with biological materials

Please scroll to the table below and click on a square to access guidance on the corresponding Biosafety Program topic.

If you have been exposed to biomaterials through a puncture, cut or abrasion of the skin (including animal bites/scratches), contact with compromised skin, or contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth:

  1. Go to the nearest sink and/or eyewash, remove impacted PPE, and flush the exposure site for at least 15 minutes (use soap if the exposure was to your skin).
  2. Report to the Occupational Health Clinic or Adult Emergency Room (if outside of standard business hours).
  3. Notify your supervisor and the Biosafety Officer. For VU-related events, use this link to report the event to Risk and Insurance Management.

If you have spilled biohazardous materials in your lab or while transporting a sample:

  1. Stop work immediately. Assess the scene and yourself for contamination.
  2. Follow posted spill procedures outlined in “Cleanup Procedure for Biomaterials Spill outside a BSC”.
  3. Report the spill to your supervisor and the Biosafety Officer.

For complete details on biomaterials spill cleanup and exposure response see the VU IBC policy here