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Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)


The University of Pennsylvania’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is responsible for enforcing the NIH Guidelines (NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules) and policies relevant to university-related use or transfer of recombinant DNA (rDNA) or synthetic DNA (sDNA) or RNA (r∙s∙RNA) derived from recombinant or synthetic DNA (r∙s∙DNA).  The IBC is responsible for providing review and oversight to ensure that all forms of research involving r∙s∙DNA, particularly r∙s∙DNA research involving infectious agents, human and non- human primate materials (including established cell lines), select agents, biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) research, transgenic animals and human gene transfer studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and within the University of Pennsylvania Health System are in compliance with the NIH Guidelines and all of the University’s policies.  The IBC is responsible for ensuring that research using these materials is conducted in a manner that protects the researchers, laboratory workers, human research subjects, the public and the environment.  The IBC is authorized to inspect research facilities, clinical research areas, approve research practices and procedures, and to take actions, such as enforcement of cessation of research activities, in the event of an unsafe workplace situation.  In addition to oversight of r∙s∙DNA research the IBC also oversees research involving Select Agents and all work requiring BSL-3 and/or ABSL-3 containment.  IBC members are appointed by the Vice Provost for Research.  The University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) supports the IBC in carrying out its mission and its Executive Director shall act as secretary to the committee.

In carrying out its charge, the IBC will:

  1. Review r∙s∙DNA research conducted at or sponsored by the institution for compliance as specified in Section III, Experiments Covered by the NIH Guidelines, and will approve those research projects that are found to conform to the NIH Guidelines [Section IV-B-2-b-(1)].

  2. Notify the Principal Investigator of the results of committee review and approval [Section IV-B-2-b-(2)].

  3. Lower containment levels for certain experiments as specified in section [Section IV-B-2-b-(3)].

  4. Set containment levels as specified in Sections III-D-4-b and III-D-5 [Section IV-B-2-b-(4)].

  5. Periodically review r∙s∙DNA research conducted at Penn to ensure compliance with NIH Guidelines is maintained [Section IV-B-2-b-(5)].

  6. Adopt emergency plans covering accidental spills and/or personnel contamination resulting from r∙s∙DNA molecule research [Section IV-B-2-b-(6)].

  7. Report significant problems with or violations of the NIH Guidelines and any significant research-related accidents or illnesses to the appropriate institutional official and NIH/OBA within the mandated time period [Section IV-B-2-b-(7)].

    Office of Biotechnology Activities
    National Institutes of Health
    6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 750, MSC 7985
    Bethesda, MD 20892-7985
  8. Not authorize initiation of experiments which are not explicitly covered by the NIH Guidelines [Section IV-B-2-b-(8)].

  9. Perform other functions (review Select Agent Research; review BSL-3 Research) as may be delegated to the IBC under in Section IV-B-2 [Section IV-B-2-b-(9)].