Institutions that receive support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid (r/sNA) research are required to establish and register an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) with the NIH Office of Science Policy in compliance with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines). The purpose of an IBC is to review research with recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules (r/sNAs).
The NIH Guidelines do not restrict IBC oversight solely to research involving r/sNAs. Therefore, IBCs at many institutions, including Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - New Orleans (LSUHSC-NO), have a broader scope of responsibilities to also include research involving animals, pathogens, potentially infectious materials, select and biological toxins, and other biohazards.
Overall, in concert with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and the Office of Research Services, the LSUHSC-NO IBC acts as the framework for risk management associated with research-related, biosafety issues. The primary objectives of this risk management program are several-fold:
- to protect individuals, research animals, facilities and the community from potential
dangers in the use of, or exposure to, actual and potential biohazardous material;
- to assure that LSUHSC-NO is in compliance with all biosafety requirements of state
and federal regulatory agencies;
- to review research involving the use of biological select agents and toxins under
the oversight of the Federal Select Agents Program which have the potential to pose
a severe threat to public, animal or plant health or to animal or plant products;
- to review Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC), life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security.