The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for the University of Tennessee was initially established in accordance with guidelines set forth by the National Institutes of Health Office of Biological Activities (OBA) regarding research involving recombinant nucleic acid molecules. Additionally, the IBC provides the policies and guidelines to researchers under which studies may be conducted in order to maintain compliance with local, state, and federal requirements (e.g., NIH, CDC, OSHA, USDA, etc.). The current scope of the IBC covers research involving:
- Recombinant DNA molecules or synthetic nucleic acids as defined in Section I of the NIH Guidelines, including transgenic plants and animals.
- Biological agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, parasites, and prions) and/or vectors that carry biological agents (arthropods, snails, etc.) which: 1) cause or are reasonably expected to cause disease in immunocompetent humans; or 2) cause or are reasonably expected to cause significant disease in local livestock (including poultry), agricultural crops, or indigenous wildlife; or 3) otherwise require containment and safeguards at biosafety level (BSL)-2 or higher.
- Acute biological toxins having an LD50 < 100 ng/kg in mammals and/or those listed as Select Toxins (Department of Health & Human Services).
- Human or nonhuman primate blood, blood products, tissues, secretions, excretions, or cell lines unless documented to be free of bloodborne pathogens or are otherwise low risk as per written risk assessment.
- Venomous animals posing a risk to humans through bite or sting and housed and/or manipulated in laboratories or other indoor facilities (e.g., greenhouses).
- Poisonous plants posing a risk to humans via dermatological contact, inhalation, or other route of exposure and housed and/or manipulated in laboratories or other indoor facilities (e.g., greenhouses).
- Novel nanoparticles conjugated to biologically active or cell-modifying molecules.
- Diagnostic specimens or environmental samples likely to contain any of the above and posing a significant risk to humans or local livestock (including poultry), agricultural crops, or indigenous wildlife as per documented risk assessment, including materials requiring a federal or state permit (e.g., foreign soils, noxious weeds, etc.).
Investigators whose work involves any of these categories are required to file an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Registration with the committee prior to the initiation of any new project. Approval of registrations allow the work outlined within to be conducted for up to three years, barring major changes to the scope of the experiments, and providing the investigator completes the required IBC Registration Update Form.