Research laboratories working with biohazardous material, microorganisms and/or recombinant or synthetic DNA technologies are special, often unique, work environments. The materials being used may pose special risks to persons working in or near the laboratory or to the environment should the material escape the containment procedures established for the laboratory. The UNC Charlotte Biosafety Program has been established to ensure the safe handling of biohazardous agents, ensure the appropriate assessment of potential risks, and reduce the opportunity of personnel exposure or accidental environmental release. Refer to University Policy #714 “Biosafety” detailing the purpose, parameters, and authority/oversight of the Program.

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is responsible for oversight of all research and teaching activities involved with potentially hazardous biological materials and recombinant or synthetic DNA. The IBC makes recommendations to minimize or eliminate risks associated with proposed research or teaching activities involving the use of biological hazards at, or sponsored by, the University.

What constitutes a biological hazard?

Biological hazards are those materials of biological origin that could potentially cause harm to humans, animals, or plants. Examples include infectious agents, toxins, pathogenic microorganisms, human or primate sourced materials (such as primary and established cell lines) and/or recombinant or synthetic DNA.

Principles of Biosafety

Primary among the interests of the University’s Biosafety Program is to contain potentially harmful biological hazards. This can be achieved through delineating safe laboratory practices and procedures as defined in the Biosafety Manual, maintaining facilities and/or equipment to manage potential biological hazards, and education and training of all individuals who expect to handle or work with biological hazards. The ultimate purpose of a biosafety program is to reduce or eliminate exposure of laboratory workers, other persons, and the outside environment to potentially hazardous agents. Through a risk assessment of work to be done with specific biological hazards, a risk-reduction plan including any of a combination of safe laboratory practices, employment of facilities and equipment controls and/or education/training can be implemented.

Registering Biohazard Work

All research conducted or sponsored by UNC Charlotte with biohazardous materials and/or recombinant or synthetic DNA must be registered with the Office of Research Protections and Integrity and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

As of September 27, 2021, all new and continuing Biosafety protocols (and renewals/amendments of current protocols) must be initiated and submitted electronically through the Niner Research system. Word-based protocol forms are no longer accepted. If you have an active protocol that was approved on Word-based forms and you need to amend or renew your protocol, please contact the IBC Coordinator (x7-1825 or for help. A one-week lead time is required. Please note that consultation with the Biosafety Officer is recommended prior to the submission of an application.

Dr. Cathy Moore, Biosafety Officer at 704-687-1825, or

Dr. Angelica Martins, Executive Director of Research Protections and Integrity at 704-687-1876, or