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Field-Related Biosafety Resources

This section of the website is devoted to biological safety topics and resources related to studies involving field research. This information is not intended to place barriers in the way of conducting studies. Rather, it is intended to assist lab and research personnel with designing procedures in a manner that will reduce the risk of occupationally-acquired infections, cross-contamination, and environmental release.

Field research consists of work related projects (research and teaching) that are performed outside the geographical boundaries of the university.

Please check this page frequently as more information will be added to serve the ongoing needs of the university community. If you have any questions, please contact the Biosafety Office.

Infectious Agent Registration-Field Collection Procedures

The following form must be completed for field procedures that involve the following:

  • Trapping and handling of wild animals for surveillance of agents infectious to humans and/or animals designated at BSL-2 or higher.
  • Trapping and handling of wild animals that may transmit significant or life threatening zoonotic diseases (e.g. rabies, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome) as determined by risk assessment of the target species and proposed procedures.
  • Laboratory processing of diagnostic samples collected from these studies.

The completed form must be submitted to the UTK/UTIA/GSM Biosafety Officer for evaluation and consultation regarding biological containment. The final registration with all signatures will be submitted to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) for review and approval.

Approvals will be granted for 3 years with annual updates provided through inspections and consultations with the UTK/UTIA/GSM Biosafety Officer. For assistance regarding the completion of this form, please contact the Biosafety Office at utbiosafety@utk.edu or 974-1938.

Field Research Safety

Risk Assessment

The Principle Investigator and members of the research team should consider any biosafety risks (and occupational risks) with the entire project. The research team should consider “what and how” the research will be conducted. Biosafety risks to be considered should include:

  • Equipment and materials used
  • Transportation of biohazards (See below for shipping and transport information)
  • Waste disposal
  • Containment of biohazards in the field (i.e. measure to prevent a biohazard release)
  • Other hazards that can affect your research (i.e. visitors, security, proper training)

Some or all of these risks may apply to your field work and must be considered. If you need any assistance with identifying risks or creating proper controls please contact the Biosafety Office.

Permits and Transportation Regulations

Biological materials permits and transportation requirements have a broader application to the University environment than you might think.

There are a number of ways that biological materials can be introduced or removed from research facilities. When conducting studies, it is common to exchange research materials with other collaborators. It’s also common for research personnel to visit collaborating institutions to learn new techniques. Faculty and research personnel can join or leave the University, and take materials with them.

Permit requirements are intended to ensure that biological materials that may bear an infectious disease or environmental impact risk are not inadvertently released, and to minimize the potential for clandestine use of such materials.

Transportation regulations apply to biological materials that are moved in commerce that meet the definition of a diagnostic specimen or infectious substance. Specific packaging, paperwork and training are required in some instances.

Please contact the Biosafety Officer for assistance before you send any biological materials by way of a commercial courier (i.e., FedEx, UPS)!

Additional note: Do not attempt to transport undeclared biological materials (or items that resemble these) in your carry-on or checked luggage while flying!

UT Research Compliance

Resources

Animal Use

All research activities that involve the use of live animals must be registered, reviewed and approved by UT’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) before the work is initiated.

The UT Office of Laboratory Animal Care (OLAC) can also provide assistance for planning future projects involving animals.

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