Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Brown’s Office of Research Integrity (ORI) provides administrative support to the University’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Brown's IBC evaluates and provides oversight of the use of biohazardous agents to ensure compliance with appropriate regulations and guidelines and to safeguard the health and safety of Brown University personnel, the community, and the environment. In addition, via the Biological Research Authorization form submitted to the IBC, Brown identifies proposed Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).

Some research activities conducted at Brown require dual review by the IBC and other committees, such as the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Given ORI supports all of these committees, our goal is to streamline and coordinate dual-review requirements as much as possible in an effort to facilitate the start (and continuation) of Brown research. 

Questions or requests for additional information specific to IBC regulations should be directed to the Institutional Biosafety Officer (BSO), Shannon Benjamin, at shannon_benjamin@brown.edu or (401) 863-3087.

Human Subject Research Activities that may require IBC Review

IBC oversight also includes human source material, including blood, body fluids, tissues and/or cell lines, infected clinical specimens or biologically contaminated specimens.

The following are examples of research with human subjects that require IBC oversight (please note that this list is not exhaustive):

  • Serial blood sampling/processing of human blood during alcohol consumption/smoking studies.

  • Utilizing recombinant DNA to study how viruses attach and move within human cells.

  • Inducing alterations in morphology and gene expression in various human cell line 3D microtissues utilizing various toxins.

For Human gene transfer experiments, the IBC is required to provide oversight in accordance with NIH guidelines Section IV-B-2(1), Section I-E, Section III-C, & Appendix M.  If you have any plan to begin human gene transfer work, you must contact the IBC prior to submitting a protocol.

Animal Subject Research Activities that may require IBC Review

IBC approval is required for the use of any agents listed as select agents or biological toxins (42 CFR 73) whether or not they are pathogenic or exempt from NIH federal regulations and regardless of funding source.  This also includes any synthetic or recombinant nucleic acid work, including those exempt from NIH guidelines.  Brown’s IBC has oversight of biohazardous material used in animal research.  Please refer to Environmental Health and Safety Biological Safety website for a complete description of the Categories of Biohazardous Agents.  IBC approval must first be received in order for the IACUC to approve any corresponding animal research protocol.

Examples of animal research that require IBC oversight (please note that this list is not exhaustive):

  • Utilizing recombinant DNA to study how viruses attach and move within animal cells.

  • Use of bacteria to maintain and propagate expression plasmids.

  • Use of recombinant Cholera toxin B in cerebral tissue of mice.

  • Injection of Candida strains into fish in order to monitor the progression of disease.

Policies & Procedures

IBC Policy on Biological Research Authorizations

Application/Renewal Biological Research Authorization (BRA) Form

BRA – Annual update, Amendment & Termination Form

Required Biosafety Training

Principal Investigators and any lab personnel working on DURC projects or any projects requiring Biosafety Training are required to complete all assigned training before approvals are granted by the responsible oversight committee(s).

  • Once a protocol is identified as requiring IBC oversight, appropriate training will be assigned by EHS in Traincaster

  • Refer to Section 1.11 of the BRA Form for training information.

    • Laboratory Safety Training:  Required for all individuals working in a laboratory.  Required every five (5) years.

    • Biological Safety/Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Training: Required for all individuals having occupational exposure to human blood, OPIM of human origin (cells/cell lines, unfixed tissues) or human BBP.  Required annually per OSHA.

    • Biological Safety/Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Training: Required for all individuals working with biohazard agents, toxins, and recombinant and synthetic nucleic acid molecule experiments or materials.  Required every five (5) years.

    • NIH Guidelines Training: The NIH requires training on biosafety and recombinant and synthetic nucleic acid molecules.  Required once per NIH.