Oakland University Biosafety
Graham Health Center
408 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309

Roles and Responsibilities


Each institution conducting (or sponsoring) research is responsible for ensuring that it is conducted in full conformity with the provisions of the NIH Guidelines.  The institution shall:

  • Establish and implement policies that provide for the safe conduct of research
  • Establish an Institutional Biosafety Committee
  • Appoint a Biological Safety Officer (who is also a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee)
  • Assist and ensure compliance with the NIH Guidelines by Principal Investigators conducting research
  • Ensure appropriate training for the Institutional Biosafety Committee Chair and members, Biological Safety Officer and other containment experts, Principal Investigators, and laboratory staff regarding laboratory safety and implementation of the NIH Guidelines.
  • Report any significant problems, violations of the NIH Guidelines, or any significant research-related accidents and illnesses.
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

On behalf of the institution, the IBC is responsible for:

  • Reviewing research conducted at (or sponsored by) the institution for compliance, and approving only those research projects that are found to conform to the NIH Guidelines.
  • Reviews shall include: (i) independent assessment of the containment levels required for the proposed research, and (ii) assessment of the facilities, procedures, practices, and training and expertise of personnel involved.
  • Notifying the Principal Investigator of the results of the IBC's review and approval.
  • Periodically reviewing recombinant DNA research conducted at the institution to ensure compliance with the NIH Guidelines.
  • Adopting emergency plans covering accidental spills and personnel contamination resulting from recombinant DNA research.
  • Reporting any 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.
  • The Institutional Biosafety Committee may not authorize initiation of experiments that are not explicitly covered by the NIH Guidelines, until NIH establishes the containment requirement.

Biological Safety Officer (BSO)

The Biological Safety Officer's duties include, but are not be limited to:

  • Periodic inspections to ensure that laboratory standards are rigorously followed
  • Reporting to the IBC and the institution any significant problems, violations of the NIH Guidelines, and any significant research-related accidents or illnesses of which the BSO becomes aware
  • Developing emergency plans for handling accidental spills and personnel contamination and investigating laboratory accidents involving recombinant DNA research
  • Providing advice on laboratory security
  • Providing technical advice to Principal Investigators and the IBC on research safety procedures.
  • The Biological Safety Officer shall be a member of the IBC
  • Principal Investigator (PI)

 The Principal Investigator (must be a full-time OU or OU-WBSOM faculty) is responsible for full compliance in the conduct of research, including:

  • Initiate or modify no recombinant DNA research that requires IBC approval prior to initiation or modification.  Approval is provided only in writing.
  • Be adequately trained in good microbiological techniques
  • Make available to all laboratory staff the protocols that describe the potential biohazards and the precautions to be taken
  • Instruct and train laboratory staff in: 1) practices and techniques required to ensure safety, and 2) the procedures for dealing with accidents
  • Supervise the safety performance of the laboratory staff to ensure that the required safety practices and techniques are employed
  • Adhere to IBC approved emergency plans for handling accidental spills and personnel contamination
  • Comply with shipping requirements for hazardous materials and recombinant DNA molecules
  • Report any significant problems, violations, or any significant research-related accidents and illnesses to the BSO, Animal Facility Director, and IBC