Texas Tech University

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Work with microorganisms, recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids, human and animal materials, insect and animal vectors, and other potentially biohazardous materials is necessary in many university research and teaching applications and requires special practices and procedures, and in some cases, special equipment to protect personnel and the environment.

Texas Tech University is actively committed to preserving the health and safety of its students, staff, and faculty and to protecting the environment and surrounding community.  The Department of Environmental Health & Safety provides guidance regarding the assessment, containment, and security of biological materials that complement the institutional operating policies which support compliance with the guidelines, recommendations, and regulations applicable to such work.

Biosafety News & Updates

NIH Office of Science Policy Releases Update to NIH Guidelines

The NIH-OSP released an update to the NIH Guidlelines on April 4, 2024.  This update specifies the biosafety practices for research involving gene drive modified organisms (GDMOs) in contained research settings.  The new guidelines specify that the minimum containment for such organims is containment level 2 (i.e., BSL-2, ABSL-2, PCL-2, ACL-2).  The most common tool used to create GDMOs is CRISPR-Cas technology.  The NIH-OSP has developed a reference document to help Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs), Principal Investigators, and safety professionals in assessing risk and conducting responsible research involving GDMOs.

You can download an updated PDF version of the NIH Guidelines here:  https://osp.od.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/NIH_Guidelines.pdf 

If you have questions regarding how the changes to the NIH Guidelines impacts your work, please contact the IBC Office at ibc.ehs@ttu.edu.  

Cayuse Resources 

In January 2023, the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) launched the Cayuse Hazard Safety application for IBC protocol management.  The IBC Office has developed a Researcher Toolbox to assist you in completing your IBC protocol in Cayuse. 

Quick steps to getting started:

  1. Submit your Cayuse Personnel Form.  The IBC Office will email you confirmation that your request has been processed.  These are processed within one business day.
  2. Log in to Cayuse.  Links are provided on the EHS homepage and any of the Biosafety Program pages. 
  3. Make sure you are using the Hazard Safety (IBC) module.  The Animal Care and Use Committee uses the same software; the default landing page is the Animal Oversight (IACUC) so you have to select IBC to start an IBC protocol.  Refer to the image below for guidance  
  4. Select Start a New IBC Application to begin your new submission.

cayuse homepage screenshot

Resources & Links

TTU Laboratory Safety Manual

Centers for Disease Control

CDC-Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 6th ed.

NIH-OSP Division of Biosafety, Biosecurity, and Emerging Biotechnology

Pathogen Safety Data Sheets - Health Canada

American Biological Safety Association - ABSA International

OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard

Texas Department of State Health Services - Bloodborne Pathogens

Model Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Plan

Safety Videos

Safely doffing gloves - "Beaking" Method