Texas Tech University

Institutional Biosafety Committee


The committee reports to the Vice President of Research and provides direction for the following:

  • Responsible for policies and procedures relating to potentially pathogenic microorganisms and implementation of biological safety programs for Texas Tech University.
  • Ensuring Texas Tech University's compliance with NIH guidelines and assess the safety of recombinant DNA research experiments and any potential risk to public health or the environment.
  • Review all research and teaching activities involving:
    • Recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acid (rNA/sNA) activities; 
    • Materials or agents potentially infectious to humans, plants, and/or animals – including the storage or concentration of any potentially biohazardous materials; 
    • Except for general surveillance, arthropods that serve as vectors of disease to humans, plants, or other animals, and arthropods that are considered an environmental hazard;
    • Use of soil seed, plants, plant pathogens (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites) or other material received under a USDA APHIS compliance agreement or permit;
    • Use of potentially infectious human and/or non-human primate materials; 
    • Use of cell lines that pose a danger to humans, animals, and/or plants, and/or those immortalized by means that render them dangerous to humans, animals, and/or plants;
    • The use of biologically derived toxins; 
    • Work involving prions or prion-like proteins;
    • Any Select Agent or Toxin as listed in 7 CFR 331, 9 CFR 121, and/or 42 CFR 73.
    • Necropsy of animals not under the care of the University Veterinarian,  necropsy that involves hands-on student involvement, animals with unknown health status, and/or involves animals reasonably suspected or known to be infectious;
    • Other work as deemed necessary for review by the Biological Safety Officer; and/or
    • work with other potentially biohazardous materials conducted at, or sponsored by the University for compliance with the guidelines in the CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) and approve those research projects that meet or exceed the requirements in the BMBL.
  • To produce and update the University Biosafety Manual and oversee its implementation in the research and teaching initiatives of Texas Tech University.
  • To review and recommend to Environmental Health & Safety the need for general and specific training programs for research, studio, and teaching activities dealing with biohazards or materials of a potentially biohazardous nature and recombinant DNA, and to review the appropriateness and effectiveness of such training programs.

The Department of Environmental Health & Safety helps coordinate the committee and develop and implement the biological safety programs of the IBC.

Committee Composition


Designated by the Vice President of Research on recommendation from the Assistant Vice President of Environmental Health & Safety.


As required by the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (Sec IV-B-2), the IBC shall be comprised of no fewer than 5 members so that they collectively have the experience and expertise in recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecule technology, the capability to assess the safety of this and other research per their charge, and to identify any potential risk to public health or the environment. 

At least 2 members must not be affiliated with the institution and who represent the interest of the surrounding community with respect to health and protection of the environment.

Texas Tech University OP 74.05 further describes the content of the IBC to include the following:

  • A member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee;
  • At least two citizens of the Lubbock community;
  • At least three faculty members from TTU with expertise in biohazards;
  • One member from laboratory technical staff;
  • The Assistant Vice President for Research (Environmental Health and Safety) and/or a designated representative; and 
  • The University Biological Safety Officer.

Ex Officio (without vote) members include the Assistant Vice President for Environmental Health & Safety and the Associate Vice President for Research for Responsible Research.

The term of membership for full members are staggered three-year cycles.

2023-24 Membership Roster


Dr. Steve Presley – Entomologist, Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases - Emerging Biological Threats, Environmental Toxicology - ARO

Associate Chair

Dr. Cynthia Reinoso Webb M(ASCP) - Clinical Microbiologist and Biosafety Specialist, Environmental Toxicology

Committee Members

Dr. Corey Brelsfoard, PhD  – Entomologist, Biology

Mrs. Katie Buxkemper, MS – Staff and DSO, Animal & Food Sciences

Mrs. Amy Gearhart, BSN, RN – Community Member, City of Lubbock Heath Department

Mr. Gary Henniger, MS – Community Member, BASF

Dr. Gunvant Patil, PhD – Molecular Crop Improvement, Plant & Soil Science

Dr. Caleb Phillips, PhD – Geneticist, Wildlife research, Biology

Mr. Shane Scoggin, MS – Staff, Nutritional Sciences

Dr. Smriti Shringi, BVSc (DVM), MVSc, PhD – Microbiologist and Animal Specialist, School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Akhilesh Kumar Shakya, PhD - Bioengineer,  Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering Dean's Office

Dr. Ebenezer Tumban,PhD – Molecular Virology and Vaccinology, School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Hong Zhang, PhD - Molecular Plant Biologist, Biology

University Attending Veterinarian

Dr. Tiffanie Brooks, DVM – Attending Veterinarian & Director of Animal Care Services

Univeristy Biological Safety Officer

Mrs. Rebecca Maloney MS, CBSP(ABSA)  – Biological Safety Officer & Biosafety Manager, Environmental Health & Safety

Mr. Garrett Huddleston, MS – Sr. Safety Officer & Asst. Biosafety Officer, Environmental Health & Safety

Ex Officio Members

Mrs. Allison Matviko, BA - Assistant Director Export & Security Compliance, Facility Security Officer, Office of Research Services

Mr. Matt Roe, MS – Administrative Representative, Assistant Vice President of Environmental Health & Safety - ARO

Dr. Alice Young, PhD – Associate Vice President of Research, Office of the Vice President of Research - RO

Meeting Frequency

The IBC meets monthly as needed; special meetings may be called to address urgent matters.  Remaining meeting dates for FY2022-2023 are below.  All items for committee consideration must be provided no less that 5 business days before the upcoming meeting.  

May 31st

June 28thˆ*

July 26thˆ*

August 30th


* date subject to change

ˆonly if necessary