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Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Thank you to all who participated in Biosafety Stewardship Month!

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To complete a registration, please go to:

Please allow three to four weeks for review and approval of your IBC registration, whether it is an initial registration, an amendment, or a renewal. Remember that project award accounts may be held until rDNA projects are properly registered.

Investigators from other institutions who are having recombinant DNA work performed for them at a UM facility such as the Vector Core Laboratory (VCORE-UM) must complete a special IBC registration form. Please e-mail the IBC Coordinator or call (734) 936-3934 to receive a copy of the registration form you will need to complete. Please contact the Vector Core Laboratory directly at (734) 936-5843 for additional information on use of that facility.

The Institutional Biosafety Committee oversees recombinant DNA research at the University of Michigan. The UM adheres to the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules with regard to all uses of recombinant DNA at the University. The UM requires that all use of recombinant DNA at the University be registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee even if such use is exempt from the requirements of the NIH Guidelines. The IBC also has oversight responsibility for Select Agents and for "experiments of concern."

View the IBC Charge

The IBC Standard Operating Procedures are being revised. Please view the IBC Basic rDNA Registration Process Flowchart for an overview of our current process. Additional detail is provided below for specific topics.

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The principal investigator or project director at UM is responsible for registering rDNA work and for ensuring the use of proper microbiological practices and laboratory techniques at the approved biosafety level. Additional PI/PD responsibilities are detailed in Section IV-B-7 of the NIH Guidelines.

Laboratory Inspections
The principal investigator or project director of a BL2 laboratory must ensure that a working Biosafety Manual is available for the research project and that all staff have attended the OSEH Comprehensive Laboratory Safety Training course. Laboratories planning BL2 work must be inspected by OSEH and all corrective action items completed before the IBC will issue approval for the associated registration. A checklist of items required in addition to a Biosafety Manual and personnel training is located at

Personnel Training
All laboratory personnel must attend the OSEH Comprehensive Laboratory Safety Training course (#BLS009). Free. Pre-registration required through My LINC.

Individuals planning to work with viral vectors are highly recommended to enroll in the course "Working Safely with Viral Vectors" (course #BLS008) which is offered quarterly by the Vector Core and OSEH (February, May, August, November). Free. Pre-registration required through My LINC.

Approval for Human Gene Transfer Research
Principal investigators performing human gene transfer work have special responsibilities and reporting requirements that are detailed in Appendix M of the NIH Guidelines, and in the section below on human gene transfer.

Approval for Select Agents Research
Investigators planning work with Select Agents should read the Introductory Guide and contact Janet Follo, the University's Responsible Official, at 734-647-3133, to initiate the required review processes.

Please note that at least BL1 lab practices should be used with all recombinant DNA work, even if the work is exempt from NIH Guidelines. UM OSEH Biological Safety has prepared a listing of BL1 and BL2 standards for UM laboratories designated at these containment levels.

Please note that BL2 research may require additional practices beyond the standard practices. Additional practices are assigned based on a risk assessment of the research being conducted. The new designation, BL2 with Additional Practices, represents a re-calibration of the former BL2+ containment designation in a way that still goes beyond standard BL2 containment and allows for biosafety practices targeted to the work conducted. Read about how this change is being made.

Recombinant DNA work at BL2 requires an OSEH laboratory inspection as well as registration with the IBC. It is recommended that you contact OSEH (734-647-1143) at the same as you are preparing your IBC Registration in order to arrange for a lab inspection. Your inspection must be completed and all action items corrected before the IBC will issue approval. In addition to a completed Biosafety Manual and appropriate training for personnel involved with the project, the OSEH staff will cover items on the BL2 checklist.

Further resources on BL1, BL2, and BL3 lab practices can be found in Appendix G of the NIH Guidelines, and in "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories" (BMBL) from the CDC/NIH.

Work requiring BL3 containment must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the IBC through submission to the IBC BSL3 Subcommittee.

Experiments requiring containment ABOVE BL3 will not be permitted without the prior approval of the Regents.

All laboratory personnel must attend the OSEH Comprehensive Laboratory Safety Training course (#BLS009). Free. Pre-registration required through My LINC.

Individuals planning to work with viral vectors are highly recommended to enroll in the course "Working Safely with Viral Vectors" (course #BLS008) which is offered bi-monthly by the Vector Core and OSEH. Free. Pre-registration required through My LINC.

OSEH has developed SOPs for commonly used viral vectors:

View the OSEH Adenoviral Vector SOP

View the OSEH Retroviral Vector SOP

See also the NIH OBA (RAC) guidance on biosafety with Lentiviral Vectors

For immediate response procedures refer to the Spill & Exposure Response Procedures for Etiologic Agents & Recombinant DNA.

IMPORTANT: All spills and exposures involving recombinant DNA must be reported to the following:

IBC registrations include questions about your use of animals and recombinant DNA. Based upon your responses, the IBC will assign a containment level for your work with (housing of) the animals. It is usually denoted as "BL1N" or "BL2N," etc., and corresponds to the commonly used "ABSL1," "ABSL2," etc. The animal containment level may be different from the containment level approved for handling your recombinant construct in the lab. The IBC has developed a virus-specific containment reference for the housing of animals injected with recombinant virus.

The containment conditions for animal work involving viral vectors are conditioned on proof that each batch of virus used is substantially free of replication competent virus. ULAM may require such proof prior to commencement of animal experimentation.

All work with animals must be approved by the University Committee for the Use and Care of Animals (UCUCA). Contact UCUCA and the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) for additional guidance on work with animals.

Investigators planning to administer recombinant DNA to animals should refer to Appendix Q and Section III-D-4 of the NIH Guidelines for information on biological and physical containment practices.

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In March 2013 the NIH Guidelines were revised and renamed to include work with synthetic nucleic acid molecules. NIH OBA has published an FAQ on what type of work with synthetic nucleic acid molecules is covered by the Guidelines. IBC registration is required for research meeting this criteria (click here for announcement/criteria) Please note that small DNA molecules such as oligonucleotides and PCR primers are not included in these categories of synthetic nucleic acids. Email the IBC at with questions, or call 734-936-3934.

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If you are planning a human gene transfer proposal please note there is a special review process for this type of work:

1) NIH OBA Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee Review Process
All human gene transfer research proposals must undergo review by the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) of the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (NIH/OBA). The RAC determination on the proposal must be obtained PRIOR TO the proposal receiving local Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval.

NIH OBA has an excellent set of FAQs about human gene transfer and the RAC review process.

NIH OBA also provides guidance on informed consent for gene transfer research.

Please refer to Appendix M of the NIH Guidelines for complete information on NIH/OBA/RAC requirements for submission, review and reporting in connection with human gene transfer clinical trials.

Please keep in mind that the IBC cannot formally approve a human gene transfer proposal until review by NIH OBA/RAC has been completed and a letter has been received with the outcome of the NIH OBA/RAC review. The schedule of RAC meetings and corresponding RAC deadlines is displayed at the NIH OBA website.

No research participant may be enrolled in a human gene transfer clinical study until the RAC review process is completed AND IBC and IRB approvals and applicable regulatory authorizations are obtained. Furthermore, investigators are required to submit specific additional materials to NIH OBA prior to the enrollment of any research participant (for additional clinical trial sites being added to multi-center trials) OR no later than 20 working days after the enrollment of the first research participant (for the primary site identified with a clinical trial).

2) Local Review Process
Please inform the IBC as early as possible when you are considering submission of a human gene transfer proposal to the RAC. The IBC will attempt to conduct reviews simultaneous with RAC reviews though no IBC determination may be made until the RAC outcome is known. The IBC meets on a monthly basis and needs two to three weeks prior to a meeting for review of human gene transfer proposals. The upcoming IBC meeting schedule is below.

All human gene transfer clinical trials require IRB approval in addition to IBC approval, and there is a section of the IRB application in eResearch which is devoted to human gene transfer. When you complete that section of your IRB application, the IBC will be notified automatically. The IBC functions as an "Ancillary Committee" to the IRB's review of human gene transfer clinical trials.

The IBC requires submission of the same materials required by NIH OBA/RAC: 1) scientific abstract, 2) non-technical abstract, 3) clinical protocol including tables, figures and relevant manuscripts, 4) responses to NIH Guidelines Appendices M-II through M-V, 5) informed consent draft, and 6) curriculum vitaes for all key personnel. Submission of these materials to the IBC can be made through the eResearch system as part of your IRB application for the human gene transfer clinical trial.

Please contact the IRBMED (763-4768) regarding the full process for human subjects review and approval.

Please see Appendix M-I-C-4 of the NIH Guidelines for safety reporting requirements, including serious adverse event reporting and the reporting of findings from tests in laboratory animals suggesting risk for human research participants.

Please see Appendix M-I-C-3 regarding annual reporting requirements for human gene transfer projects.

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EXPERIMENTS OF CONCERN: An important notice from the IBC

If you are planning work with select agents, please read the Select Agents Introductory Guide and note that the IBC will accept hard copy, hand-delivered submissions only regarding rDNA work that involves select agents (please do not submit online rDNA registrations for work that involves select agents).

All of the meetings listed below are on the third Friday of the month and start at 1:15 p.m. Please call the IBC at 734-936-3934 or e-mail the IBC Coordinator for more information regarding meetings.

Upcoming IBC Meetings:

December 19, 2014 (November 28 deadline)

January 16, 2015 (December 26 deadline)

February 20, 2015 (January 30 deadline)

March 20, 2015 (February 27 deadline)

April 17, 2015 (March 27 deadline)

May 15, 2015 (April 24 deadline)

June 19, 2015 (May 29 deadline)

July 17, 2015 (June 26 deadline)

August 21, 2015 (July 31 deadline)

September 18, 2015 (August 28 deadline)

October 16, 2015 (September 25 deadline)

November 20, 2015 (October 30 deadline)

December 18, 2015 (November 27 deadline)

The IBC reserves the right to change meeting dates and deadlines. Changes will be posted here as far in advance as possible.

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Q: I breed transgenic rodents. In addition to approval by the University Committee on the Use and Care of Animals (UCUCA), do I need to register this aspect of my work with the IBC?

A: Yes. Any use, creation, or procurement of transgenic rodents needs to be included in your IBC registration. This is because the U-M requires that even rDNA work that falls into exempt categories of the NIH Guidelines must be registered with the IBC. The NIH Guidelines outlines the following categories regarding the generation or procurement of transgenic rodents:

Purchase or transfer of transgenic rodents for experiments that require BL1 containment (NIH Guidelines Appendix C-VII. U-M IBC registration required.)

Breeding of two different transgenic rodents or the breeding of a transgenic rodent and a non-transgenic rodent with the intent of creating a new strain of transgenic rodent if:

  1. Both parental rodents can be housed under BL1 containment; and
  2. Neither parental transgenic rodent contains the following genetic modifications: (i) incorporation of more than one-half of the genome of an exogenous eukaryotic virus from a single family of viruses; or (ii) incorporation of a transgene that is under the control of a gammaretroviral long terminal repeat (LTR); and
  3. The transgenic rodent that results from this breeding is not expected to contain more than one-half of an exogenous viral genome from a single family of viruses.
    (NIH Guidelines Appendix C-VIII. U-M IBC registration required.)

Experiments involving the generation of transgenic rodents in which the animal's genome has been altered by stable introduction of rDNA, or DNA derived therefrom, into the germ line. (NIH Guidelines Section III-E-3. U-M IBC registration required.)

Q: I will be expressing genes in tissue culture using human cell lines. Does this need to be performed at BL2 containment?

A: Yes, federal and state OSHA regulations require that work with human cell lines, tissues or body fluids be performed at BL2 containment. The reason for using BL2 containment in this instance is to reduce the likelihood of exposures to bloodborne pathogens that may be present in human-derived materials. Requirements for such work include an Exposure Control Plan and Annual Bloodborne Pathogen Training, in addition to a BL2 lab inspection by U-M OSEH. See full information on the requirements at U-M OSEH's website.

Q: I am already registered with the IBC for some recombinant DNA work. When do I need to fill out another recombinant DNA registration form?

A: Once you have completed an IBC registration in eResearch, that registration is valid for three years from the approval date. You will need to amend that registration, however, if changes in your rDNA work involve any of the following: the cloning of genes onto a viral chromosome,* or if your recombinant DNA work involves a CHANGE in organism studied, host-vector system, animal model, or biosafety level.

*Please note that ALL GENES to be cloned onto a viral chromosome must be represented on a IBC registration.

Q: Do I have to register for PCR work?

A: You need to register the work with the IBC if you are cloning the PCR product first, prior to sequencing. The direct sequencing of PCR products does not need to be registered with the IBC - as long as there is no cloning involved.

Q: My lab partner is registered for recombinant DNA work. Doesn't that registration also cover what I do in our shared lab?

A: In some cases it might. Investigators sharing laboratory space also share registration and training obligations. Recombinant DNA work may be registered either under the investigator in whose lab the work is occurring or under the principal investigator of a project.

For example, investigators in charge of labs where recombinant DNA work occurs are responsible for ensuring that there is a registration with the IBC for all the recombinant DNA work occurring in their lab space. In addition, they must maintain documentation of the training status for all the individuals working in the lab with recombinant DNA at BL2 containment.

Q: Is it alright for the BL2 portion of my rDNA work to be performed in my colleague's BL2 lab? Who needs to be registered for the work?

A: Principal investigators who are not themselves registered for BL2 recombinant DNA work, and who are having this work performed in another investigator's lab, are responsible for ensuring that it is occurring in a laboratory that is registered with the IBC for that type of work and that it is conducted by individuals who have received training for the work they are performing.

Q: What items will OSEH review when they inspect my lab before I can begin my BL2 rDNA work?

A: OSEH will be looking at the items on the BL2 Recombinant Laboratory checklist and reviewing the laboratory's completed Biosafety Manual to ensure the lab has the proper training, and written procedures in place to safely conduct the work.

More frequently asked questions will be posted here in the future.

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  • External Resources
  • Internal Resources


    Philip Hanna, Chair
    Microbiology & Immunology
    Medical School

    Carl Marrs, Associate Chair
    School of Public Health

    Janice Berry
    Periodontics/Prevention and Geriatrics
    School of Dentistry

    Lois Brako
    UM Office of Research

    J. Christopher Fenno
    Biologic & Materials Science
    School of Dentistry

    Janet Follo, Biological Safety Officer (ex officio, voting)
    Responsible Official
    Occupational Safety and Environmental Health

    Renny Franceschi
    Periodontics & Oral Medicine
    School of Dentistry

    Michael Imperiale
    Microbiology & Immunology
    Medical School

    Joyce Lai, Community Representative
    Michigan Department of Community Health

    Allen Liu
    Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
    College of Engineering
    College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

    Pedro Lowenstein
    Neurosurgery; Cell and Developmental Biology
    Medical School

    Harry Mobley, IBC BSL3 Subcommittee Chair (ex officio, non-voting)
    Microbiology & Immunology
    Medical School

    Stephen Rapundalo, Community Representative

    Howard Rush
    Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine
    Medical School

    John Schiefelbein
    Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
    College of Literature, Science and the Arts

    Andrew W. Tai
    Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology
    Medical School

    Jason B. Weinberg
    Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Microbiology & Immunology
    Medical School

    Please call (734) 936-3934 with questions and comments
    or send an e-mail to:

    Jacqueline Hoats Shields (,
    Biosafety Compliance Program Manager
    UM Office of Research

    This page was last updated December 2, 2014.

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