Institutional Biosafety Committee Home Page

The UTHSC Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is responsible for reviewing research activities utilizing recombinant DNA (rDNA) and other biohazardous materials to ensure that UTHSC principal investigators and lab personnel utilize appropriate best practices when performing this type of work. All research by UTHSC investigators that utilizes rDNA, as defined in the NIH Guidelines, must be registered with the UTHSC IBC according to policies established by the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA).

These pages are designed to provide you with assistance and guidance in registering the use of rDNA and other biohazardous materials in your studies. If you do not find the information you need on these webpages or need additional assistance, contact:

910 Madison Avenue, Ste. 650
Tel. (901) 448-2164
Fax. (901) 448-5222

What is the IBC and rDNA?
The NIH Guidelines, initially published in 1976, were the first documents to formulate the concept of an IBC as the responsible entity for biosafety issues stemming from rDNA research. Per the NIH Guidelines, rDNA is defined as; (1) molecules that are constructed outside living cells by joining natural or synthetic DNA segments to DNA molecules that can replicate in a living cell, and (2) DNA molecules that result from the replication of these molecules. Although the use of non-replicating synthetic nucleic acids, such as siRNA, would not be included in this definition and are considered Exempt by the NIH Guidelines, research utilizing these materials must still be registered with the IBC.

What are biohazardous materials?
Biohazardous materials include all infectious agents or biologically derived infectious materials that present either a risk or a potential risk to the health of humans, animals or the environment. The risk can be direct through infection or indirect through damage to the environment. Biohazardous materials include certain types of recombinant DNA; organisms and viruses infectious to humans, animals or plants (e.g. parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi, prions, rickettsia); and biologically active agents (i.e. toxins, allergens, venoms) that may cause disease in other living organisms or cause significant impact to the environment or community. Biological materials you may not consider to be biohazardous may still be regulated as biohazardous materials.
The use of biohazardous materials will require IBC approval shortly, and a registration form for these materials will be found on the left sidebar.

Who is on the IBC?
The UTHSC IBC is composed of faculty and a minimum of two community members. The faculty members have expertise in the use of the biological materials currently on this campus. The IBC community members are present to represent the community interest in protecting the environment of our university. The role of the IBC has expanded over time, and the committee reviews rDNA research and other forms of research that entail biohazardous risks.
If you have expertise in biosafety, rDNA or infectious agents and would like to serve on the IBC, please contact the UTHSC IBC office.

Do I need IBC approval for my rDNA studies if I have funding from another agency other than the NIH?
Yes. NIH policies require that all work carried on at an institution that receives any NIH funding must be approved by the IBC. If you do not apply for and receive approval, then the NIH funding of all investigators on our campus may be withheld.

How do I register my research involving rDNA?
Step by step instructions to register for IBC approval to conduct rDNA research are available via the link in the left sidebar, "Instructions to Complete rDNA Registration Form".