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Environment, Health and Safety

Biological Safety

Biological Research at the University of Buffalo must be carried out with due concern for the safety and welfare of the University Community, the public we serve, the environment and the research subjects, human and animal. To assist you in your efforts to fulfill this critical responsibility, the Office of Environment, Health and Safety provides information, guidance, and training in Biosafety fundamentals, regulatory affairs (federal, state and local) and works closely with the various University committees that oversee research at the University at Buffalo.

All recombinant DNA, toxin and infectious agent work activities, even if exempt from full Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) review under NIH guidelines, must be registered (granting agencies often request information on research review status from our office). 
In order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, an employer must implement an exposure control plan for the worksite with details on employee protection measures. Also, individuals must have the appropriate training to work with such materials.
Biological and/or infectious materials are considered a hazardous materials (otherwise known as dangerous goods) and therefore their transportation falls under multiple jurisdictions including the US DOT and the UN Model Regulations.   These rules stipulate that personnel who are shipping and receiving hazardous materials must be trained every 24 months.
Regulated medical waste (RMW) is governed by rules promulgated by NYS Department of Health and enforced by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The information below is not intended to be complete nor address all of the regulatory requirements and safety issues associated with the handling of biohazardous material. For more detailed guidance, contact the EH&S Biological Safety Officer, David Pawlowski at 829-5816.
Containment Categories for Commonly Used Agents/Cells:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have published the regulations that govern the possession, use, and transfer of Select Agents and Toxins (42 CFR part 73, 7 FR part 331, and 9 CFR part 121).
A University Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) has been created in accordance with requirements set forth in the National Institutes of Health "Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules". All research investigations involving Recombinant DNA, infectious agents or oncogenic materials or agents must be registered with the UBC. All work involving recombinant DNA that is subject to the current NIH Guidelines must be reviewed and approved by the IBC before such work can begin.
Please fill out the form below to indicate if you use biological agents or biological materials in your lab group/location at the Center of Excellence. If you have any questions, please contact David Vasbinder (EH&S contact) at 829-3301 or Smitha James (CoE contact) at 881-8940.
Follow safe lab practices and don't bring germs home with you!
Lentiviral vectors are typically HIV derived, replication incompetent viral particles used for the stable genomic integration and expression of transgenes or shRNA in both dividing and non-dividing cells.  Lentiviral vectors are often used in tissue and cell culture studies and in animal (mouse) studies.  Research using lentiviral vectors is inherently dangerous due to the vector’s origination and the stable integration of exogenous DNA into the chromosome of the host.  Therefore a number of risks to human safety have been identified.