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Biological safety is a top priority at university

By John Reed, Media Relations

Did you know that all research involving potentially infectious agents or recombinant DNA material is reviewed and approved by the UNH Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)?

The UNH IBC consists of faculty and staff who are considered experts in their field as well as two community members not affiliated with the university.

IBC members come from every department on campus dealing with recombinant DNA or infectious agents. “This means that every department is represented and can bring their concerns to the table, and we (IBC) can disseminate information back to the departments,” said Aaron Margolin, the IBC chair.

According to David Gillum, laboratory safety officer in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS), “The IBC also ensures that research protocols meet guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.”

The IBC meets regularly to review applications for the use of recombinant DNA and infectious agents to ensure that personnel are properly trained and that facilities meet federal guidelines. “The IBC oversees the administration of protocols developed at UNH to meet CDC and NIH requirements,” Margolin said.

“The NIH requires all research projects involving recombinant DNA or infectious agents be reviewed and approved by an IBC,” said Gillum. The minutes from these meetings are considered public information and are available for anyone to view.

In addition, the IBC has recently completed an independent survey to demonstrate biological research accountability at national colleges and universities. UNH completed this survey in a timely manner as a good-faith measure to demonstrate community involvement and awareness.

The university was among 400 research universities to participate in the survey.

The IBC and OEHS encourage faculty and staff to visit the IBC webpage for more information. This site is available to the public and contains important information about infectious agents and recombinant DNA research projects. The site contains links to the UNH Biological and Chemical Safety Plan, UNH Shipment of Biological Materials Manual, registration documents for biological research, as well as other important health and safety issues covering biological material research.

For more information about the IBC, visit or contact David Gillum at 2-0197.


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