Roles and Responsibilities

Scott & White Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Principal Investigator (PI) Responsibilities

PIs are responsible for full compliance with the NIH Guidelines during the conduct of recombinant DNA research.  As part of this general responsibility, the PI should:

  • Be adequately trained in good microbiological techniques.
  • Provide laboratory research staff with protocols describing potential biohazards and necessary precautions.
  • Instruct and train laboratory staff in: (i) the practices and techniques required to ensure safety, and (ii) the procedures for dealing with accidents.
  • Inform the laboratory staff of the reasons and provisions for any precautionary medical practices advised or requested (e.g., vaccination or serum collection).
  • Supervise laboratory staff to ensure that the required safety practices and techniques are employed.
  • Correct work errors and conditions that may results in the release of recombinant DNA materials.
  • Ensure the integrity of physical containment (e.g., biological safety cabinets) and biological containment (e.g., purity and genotypic and phenotypic characteristics).
  • Comply with permit and shipping requirements for recombinant DNA molecules.
  • Adhere to IBC-approved emergency plans for handling accidental spills and personnel containment.

Before initiating research subject to the NIH Guidelines, the PI must:

  • Determine whether the research is subject to Section III-A, III-B, III-C, III-D, or III-E of the NIH Guidelines.
  • Propose physical and biological containment levels in accordance with the NIH Guidelines when registering research with the IBC.
  • Propose appropriate microbiological practices and laboratory techniques to be used for the research.
  • Submit a research protocol to the IBC for review and approval.
  • Seek OBA’s determination of containment for experiments that require case-by-case review.
  • Petition OBA, with notice to the IBC, for proposed exemptions from the NIH Guidelines.
  • Obtain IBC approval before initiating research subject to the NIH Guidelines.
  • Seek NIH approval, in addition to IBC approval, to conduct experiments specified in Sections III-A and III-B of the NIH Guidelines.

While conducting research subject to the NIH Guidelines, the PI must:

  • Determine the need for IBC review before modifying recombinant DNA research already approved by the IBC.
  • Submit any subsequent changes (e.g., changes in the source of DNA or host-vector system) to the IBC for review and approval or disapproval.
  • Remain in communication with the IBC throughout the duration of the project.
  • Report any significant problems pertaining to the operation and implementation of containment practices and procedures, violations of the NIH Guidelines, or any significant research-related accident and illness to the IBC, OBA, and, as applicable, the Biological Safety Officer, Greenhouse or Animal Facility Director, and other appropriate authorities.

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