Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Note: As of January 2017, Rensselaer investigators may submit IBC protocols via the Mentor IBC system, using their RCS email and password to log in. One logged in, please visit the IBC "Documentation" page for submission instructions and materials.

The IBC provides an environment in which scientific research at Rensselaer can advance in a safe, informed and ethical manner. Rensselaer is responsible, under federal law (section III of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules), for the approval and supervision of the appropriate performance of all research and teaching activities that involve recombinant DNA research.

The IBC reviews and monitors all research involving the following materials, regardless of the source of funding:

  • Recombinant DNA or recombinant RNA molecules
  • Plasmids and transposons
  • Viruses and viral vectors
  • Human and non-human primate cells, tissues and fluids
  • Prions
  • Bacteria
  • Yeast
  • Fungi
  • Toxins
  • All pathogens and select agents

NOTICE: A new NIH policy has taken effect with regard to the HeLa cell line and its derivatives, specifically relating to genome information. An NIH announcement regarding the policy can be found here: While this new policy does not at all restrict use of HeLa cells, it does restrict use of any genomic sequence data from these cells. For complete details, please visit the NCBI HeLa Cell Genome Sequencing Studies website.


  • Oversight of research experiments that involve recombinant DNA and RNA molecules.
  • Pre-approval of all recombinant genetic experimental protocols prior to approval by the RPI Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (ISCRO)  or Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  • Supervision and approval of all research involving biological, chemical or other toxins and carcinogens.
  • Supervision and approval of all research involving select biological agents, organisms and pathogens.
  • Participation, with RPI Public Safety and other relevant agencies, in the preparation of procedures to be implemented following accidents or terrorist incidents involving biological, chemical or radiation agents.
  • Summary for RPI administration of selected ethical issues and associated scientific facts relevant to current or future RPI research  (for example., the research use of embryonic stem cells).
  • Liaison with relevant institutional, community, state and federal agencies and authorities to prepare for possible pandemics and biological terrorist incidents that might impact RPI

Basic IBC Review and Approval Procedure

  • Proposed research protocols must be submitted by the Principal Investigator for review.
  • The biosafety level of the research is classified according to federal guidelines; this classification determines the criteria for safe performance of the proposed work.
  • The proposed procedures are reviewed to ensure that the work will be performed with appropriate personnel training, required facility safeguards and adequate biosafety procedures.

Questions and Forms Submission: Direct all inquiries to

RPI Researchers Should Know

  • Rensselaer has a functioning IBC that is responsible for ensuring the performance of safe and appropriate research procedures.
  • The IBC reports to the Associate Vice President for Research, who is the Rensselaer Institutional Official (IO) of record.
  • IBC oversight of all research performed by Rensselaer faculty, staff and students is mandated by the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA) and, in certain cases, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Rensselaer provides occupational health guidance and care for all researchers and staff.

Responsibilities of Principal Investigators

The Principal Investigator is responsible for full compliance with the policies, practices and procedures set forth under federal guidelines and by the University. This responsibility extends to all aspects of biological safety involving the environment and all individuals who enter or work in the Principal Investigator's laboratory or collaborate in carrying out the research. Although the Principal Investigator may choose to delegate aspects of the biological safety program to other laboratory personnel or faculty in his/her laboratory, the Principal Investigator retains ultimate responsibility and is accountable for all activities occurring in his/her laboratory.

Instituional Biosafety Committee

Blanca Barquera, Ph.D., Chair
Robert Hull, Ph.D., Institutional Official (IO)