Biological Safety


To protect faculty, staff, students, and the public from potential hazards associated with the use of Biological Materials and organisms and to ensure the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign complies with laws and regulations on safe use of Biological Materials.


This policy applies to all Campus Community members engaged in use of Biological Materials in university-sponsored activities conducted in campus facilities or at off-campus locations.


The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI).


All activities conducted at or sponsored by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that involve Biological Materials must:

  1. Be registered and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
  2. Comply with federal, state, and local regulations including but limited to CDC Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, import and export requirements from APHIS, CDC, Customs & Border Protection, and  US Fish and Wildlife, and shipping and transportation requirements from HHS and FMCSA.
  3. Adhere to policies, standards, and requirements adopted by the IBC, the Biological Safety Officer (BSO), or the Division of Research Safety (DRS).

Significant problems, violations of biological regulations or policies, or biological-related accidents and illnesses must be reported to the IBC.


Activities include research, teaching, outreach programs, archival storage, import or export, and distribution, transportation, or shipping of Biological Materials.

Biological Materials means recombinant or synthetic nucleic acids; genetically modified organisms; pathogens; biologically derived toxins; human and non-human primate materials (cell lines, blood, blood products, tissues, or bodily fluid); animal, plant, or microbial materials; or environmental samples that may be potentially infectious. For more detailed information see Materials Requiring Registration.

Campus Community includes but is not limited to university employees, faculty and staff, adjunct and clinical faculty, visiting faculty, postdoctoral appointees, visiting scholars, visiting scientists, students, contractors, subcontractors, guests, volunteers, and visitors.


The VCRI is responsible for ensuring that research at the University is conducted in conformity with federal, state, and local regulations. The IBC, the BSO, and the DRS report to the OVCRI and administer the biological safety program to ensure that research is conducted in a manner that is safe and consistent with regulations and guidelines. The VCRI appoints members of the IBC who are qualified through experience and expertise and appoints the BSO within the DRS. The IBC has responsibilities including review and approval of research registrations, confirming containment levels, and reporting significant problems or violations. The BSO is a member of the IBC and has responsibilities including periodic inspection of laboratories to ensure standards are followed, establishing emergency plans, and providing training and advice to Investigators and the IBC members on research safety.

The IBC, the BSO, and the DRS have authority to establish policies, standards, and procedures and to require training as necessary for compliance with applicable laws and regulations or for business management of the biological safety program.

Information on registering Biological Materials is located on the DRS IBC webpage. Applications for registration and authorization to use biological materials are submitted to the DRS IBC Registration system.  Applications for new registrations and modifications to approved registrations are reviewed by DRS and may be approved on behalf of the IBC or sent to the full committee for review and approval following NIH guidelines on risk.  All work with materials requiring registration, including experiments exempted by the NIH Guidelines, must be approved by the IBC before initiation of work.

The Principal Investigator (PI) for any activity using Biological Materials is responsible for registering the project with the IBC. The PI is responsible for oversight, supervision, and training of staff and students. The staff and students working on a project are responsible for conducting the research in a manner that is consistent with the IBC registration as well as relevant standards and guidelines. The PI is responsible for promptly reporting problems or violations to the IBC. If a PI leaves the university or is not physically on campus for extended periods, another PI must be assigned oversight and approved by the IBC.

The IBC, BSO, DRS, or OVCRI may suspend any activity that poses an immediate hazard or suspend previously approved activities if the activity is not being conducted in a manner consistent with the IBC approval or consistent with laws, regulations, or campus policies and standards.


There are no exceptions to federal or state laws and regulations. Exceptions to campus standards and guidelines may be made by the IBC and BSO on a case-by-case basis.



The Division of Research Safety within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation