John Bivona, RBP

Director of Biosafety and Biosecurity, Select Agent Responsible Official

John C. Bivona received his Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University, with an emphasis in Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), in 1994.

He began his career working for an EHS consultant and then in 2000 was hired by University of Chicago EHS, where he served for eight years in multiple roles including Industrial Hygienist, EHS Officer, and Biosafety Officer Responsible Official for the Select Agent Program.

In his current role, as Director of Biosafety/Biosecurity and Responsible Official, he serves as the primary point of contact for the UChicago Select Agent Program at the Howard Taylor Ricketts Laboratory (HTRL), which is located on the campus of Argonne National Laboratory.  The mission of the HTRL is to carry out cutting-edge translational research on biodefense-related agents as well as the causative agents of emerging infectious diseases. Research conducted here is aimed at developing new vaccines and therapeutics for a variety of diseases including; anthrax, plague, brucellosis, spotted fevers, MRSA and SARS-Cov-2.  He served on the UChicago advisory committee to construct the HTRL and is currently a voting member of the UChicago Select Agent Institutional Biosafety Committee., which oversees research with recombinant DNA or pathogenic microorganisms.

John oversees all aspects of biosafety, biosecurity and incident response, including all communications related to the program, both internally within the program and externally with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Agriculture at HTRL. He manages records related to laboratory and facility inspections, training of personnel, and enrollment of investigators. He also serves as liaison between the HTRL and Argonne National Lab and the Department of Energy.

John is a Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP) with American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) International. He has an understanding of infectious diseases, their transmission, and the application of methods to safely control infectious materials in research, clinical, production, testing, educational, developmental, and other work environments. He has detailed knowledge of regulatory guidelines and standards impacting work with infectious agents and materials. He has understanding of safe methods for manipulating, studying, producing, and containing infectious microorganisms and biological hazards.

John directed the UChicago Ebola response plan creating SOPs and training doctors, nurses and other clinical care workers to safely work with patients infected with high risk pathogens (i.e. Ebola, Anthrax). He was a Lead trainer in the Duke Infectious Disease Response Training (DIDRT) funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a nationwide consortium which trained clinical care workers, emergency responders and other workers, how to work safely with and around high-risk infectious patients.

John has numerous other certifications, including OSHA 40 – Hour HAZMAT, OSHA Hazardous Material Handling, OSHA 510 – Standards for General Industry, First Receiver Decontamination for Hospitals and FEMA Incident Command Systems for Health Care Organizations, as well as IATA/DOT Shipping Biological Materials. He is also a Certified HAZWOPER/HAZMAT Train the Trainer.

UChicagoSocial: Office of Research Safety