Office of Research Assurances

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

National Biosafety Stewardship Month

Biosafety is an important element at WSU. This importance is also recognized by the federal government and supporting agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To reinforce the significance of biosafety, NIH has proclaimed September as National Biosafety Stewardship Month. During the month of September, NIH is encouraging grantee institutions like WSU to reexamine current biosafety policies and practices, conduct inventories of infectious agents and toxins in all laboratories, and to reinforce biosafety training.

The safe use and handling of potentially biohazardous materials at WSU is overseen by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). WSU investigators are expected to register with the IBC prior to conducting research involving recombinant DNA molecules or infectious agents including human, animal or plant pathogens. As part of the approval process, the IBC verifies that appropriate precautionary measures are in place including sufficient containment facilities, work practices and training. The IBC maintains a database which helps monitor what agents are used where.

In concert with National Biosafety Stewardship Month, all WSU research, teaching and diagnostic laboratories are requested to evaluate if they possess or use any biological materials considered potentially biohazardous by the IBC. Principal investigators and laboratory directors must ensure that potentially biohazardous materials are registered with the WSU IBC. To make this evaluation, each lab must maintain accurate inventories of all the biological materials located in their freezers, refrigerators, or other storage equipment. Biological materials that are no longer needed should be deposited in an approved collection facility or destroyed following appropriate methods. Biological materials that cannot be documented should be destroyed as well. The biosafety officer must be contacted immediately if an unregistered select agent or toxin is discovered.

Potentially biohazardous materials include (but are not limited to) all of the categories below. Projects involving material(s) included in any of these categories must be submitted for IBC approval prior to initiating the project.

  • Recombinant DNA (rDNA),
  • Genetically modified organisms including, but not limited to:
    • Animals, plants, invertebrates, and/or other organisms created by WSU employees or in/on WSU property
    • Transgenic field trials, any genetically modified organisms to be introduced into the environment, including planting of deregulated items in the field (by WSU personnel and/or on WSU property)
    • Field testing of plants engineered to produce pharmaceutical and industrial compounds
  • Any organisms, or agents requiring federal permits (including but not limited to, APHIS, CDC, EPA, FDA)
  • Pathogens/infectious agents (human, animal, plant, and other)
  • Select/Biological Agents and Toxins (CDC and USDA). Please note that possession, use, or transfer of Select/Biological Agents and Toxins entails additional requirements – contact the Office of Research Assurances for additional information
  • Human & non-human primate cells (including all cell lines), tissue, blood and potentially infectious fluids
  • Animals or vectors known or suspected to be reservoirs of RG2 or RG3 infectious agents when such work increases potential exposure risks to personnel or other animals,
  • Oncogenic viruses used in conjunction with animals

For more information, please visit the WSU’s Institutional Biosafety Committee’s website at:


Please direct questions to: Mike Kluzik, WSU Biosafety Officer, 509-335-9553.

Office of Research Assurances, P.O. Box 643143, Neil Room 428, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-3143
Phone: 509-335-7195, Fax: 509-335-6410,