Senior Biosafety Officer, Select Agent Alternate Responsible Official
Allen Helm received his PhD in microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he investigated chromosome rearrangements in Salmonella and was a teaching assistant for both lecture and laboratory classes related to microbial genetics. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University, studying Neisseria gonorrhoeae physiology and pathogenesis. In 2009, he joined the Biosafety Program at the University of Chicago as a Great Lakes Regional Center of Excellence biosafety fellow under the guidance of Joe Kanabrocki.
In 2010 he became a biosafety officer at UChicago. He interacts regularly with faculty and staff to assist them with biosafety concerns, and performs biosafety laboratory inspections at the request of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). He represents the Biological Safety Program as an initial reviewer of IBC protocols and is a voting member of the IBC and the Select Agent IBC, which oversee research with recombinant DNA or pathogenic microorganisms at, respectively, the Hyde Park campus and the Howard Taylor Ricketts Laboratory on the Argonne National Laboratory campus. He also conducts IBC-mandated training for investigators working with recombinant or synthetic DNA, pathogenic microorganisms, and other possible biohazards.
He is an active member of the American Society for Microbiology, the American Biological Safety Association, and the Midwest Area Biosafety Network.