Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and the Select Agent Institutional Biosafety Committee (SA-IBC)

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and the Select Agent Institutional Biosafety Committee (SA-IBC)

The University of Chicago has established two Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs): (1) The Select Agent IBC (SA IBC) is responsible for the review and approval of all research at the University of Chicago involving the use of CDC or USDA Select Agents and for all research involving biohazardous materials, including recombinant agents, conducted at the Howard Taylor Ricketts Laboratory, whether involving Select Agents or not. (2) The Hyde Park Campus IBC is responsible for review and approval of any other research conducted with biohazardous agents, as defined below. Regardless of its source of financial support, all research with biohazards must be approved by the IBC and conform to IBC policies and procedures.

Click here for the IBC/SA IBC Committee Directory

Charge of the Committee: The IBC is charged with the responsibility for review, approval and surveillance of all research at the University of Chicago involving the use of biohazards. Biohazards are defined as:

  • Recombinant/synthetic DNA (r/sDNA) with an ability to replicate within a living cell;
  • Agents infectious to humans, animals or plants;
  • Other genetically altered organisms and agents;
  • Certain biological toxins (determination made based upon the LD50 of the toxin in question).

Additionally, cells/blood/tissues/organs harvested directly from humans require IBC approval only if they are used in the following manner:

  • As a recipient or source for r/s DNA experiments;
  • As a recipient/host for or source of a pathogenic and/or genetically modified microorganism;
  • As a recipient of biological toxins in vitro.

IBC Roster:

Nickolai Dulin, Ph.D.

IBC Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine


Richard Hiipakka, Ph.D.

IBC Vice-Chair, Senior Research Associate, Ben May Institute


Mark Abe, M.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics


Gokhan Dalgin, PhD.

Research Associate, OBA


Yun Fang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine


Clara Gartner

Public Member


Tong-Chuan He, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Surgery


Allen Helm, Ph.D.

Biosafety Officer, Office of Research Safety


Joseph Kanabrocki, Ph.D., C.B.S.P.

Assoc. VP Research Safety, Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Microbiology


Balaji Manicassamy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology


Helena Mauceri, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Dept. of Radiation & Cellular Oncology


Katherine Field McCarter

Public Member


Laurens J. Mets, Ph.D.

Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology


Kenneth Morrison

Public Member


Betty Theriault, D.V.M., DACLAM

Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Surgery, Clinical Veterinarian, ARC


SA IBC Roster:

David L. Pitrak, M.D.

SA-IBC Chair, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Chief,
Infectious Diseases Section, Department of Medicine


Joseph Kanabrocki, Ph.D., NRCM(SM)

SA-IBC Vice-Chair, Associate VP for Research Safety
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology


John Bivona, RBP

Assistant Biosafety Officer, Office of Biosafety


Clara Gartner

Public Member


Allen Helm, Ph.D., RBP

Assistant Biosafety Officer
Office of Biosafety


Andrzej Joachimiak, Ph.D.

Director, Structural Biology Center & Midwest Center for Structural Genomics Biosciences Division
Argonne National Laboratory


George Langan, D.V.M., DACLAM

Director, Animal Resources Center
Professor, Department of Surgery


Balaji Manicassamy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology


Dominique Missiakas, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology


William O'Shea

Public Member


Betty Theriault, D.V.M., DACLAM

Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Clinical Veterinarian, Animal Resources Center


The services and responsibilities of the IBC include the following:

  • Reviewing research conducted at the University of Chicago involving biohazardous agents or recombinant/synthetic nucleic acids for compliance with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines) and the policies of the University of Chicago IBC;
  • Notifying the Principal Investigator of the results of the IBC’s review and approval;
  • Lowering containment levels for certain experiments in which DNA from Risk Group 2, Risk Group 3, or Restricted Agents is Cloned into Nonpathogenic Prokaryotic or Lower Eukaryotic Host-Vector Systems);
  • Setting containment levels for experiments involving whole animals and experiments involving whole plants;
  • Periodically reviewing recombinant/synthetic DNA research conducted at the institution to ensure compliance with the NIH Guidelines;
  • Reporting any significant problems with or violation of the NIH Guidelines and any significant research-related accidents or illnesses to the appropriate institutional official and NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA) within 30 days, unless the IBC determines that a report has already been filed by the PI;

Both IBCs have regularly scheduled monthly meetings. Additional special meetings are called as necessary. These meetings are not open to anyone other than members of the IBC, staff of the IBC Office and Office of Biosafety or individuals who have received permission from the IBC Chair.

The University of Chicago lacks facilities requiring BSL4 or ABSL4 containment. Therefore, research requiring such containment cannot be performed at the University of Chicago. Investigators wishing to perform research requiring BL3 or ABSL3 containment are advised to consult with the University of Chicago Office of Biological Safety prior to grant preparation or IBC protocol submission.