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Biological Safety


The Biological Safety Program at Rensselaer governs the use of the following potentially harmful microorganisms, agents or processes:

  • Organisms Classified as meeting BSL1 or greater criteria established in the Center for Disease Control’s BMBL 5th edition
  • Research involving recombinant DNA
  • Research involving the use of human cells or cell cultures
  • Select Agents as defined by the CDC


Biological Safety, at present, is principally governed by restrictions formulated by the CDC and NIH for research entities using various hazardous agents and processes. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is using its powers of enforcement under the General Duty Clause to impose certain safety requirements on various aspects of biological safety programs.

The University through the VP - Research and the department of Environmental Health & Safety have developed guidelines and requirements for research involving potentially hazardous agents and processes. Further information for these requirements can be found at the following two sources:

Biosafety Manual

VP-Research Biosafety Web Page

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL)

Further guidance on the conduct of work when handling hazardous biological organisms is contained in the 5th edition of the BMBL. Researchers are strongly encouraged to become familiar with this document and especially the section on performing risk assessments. The risk assessments required by Rensselaer prior to approval of the research will determine the engineering and work practice controls imposed for the research.


For further information on the University’s Biosafety Program and Institutional Biosafety Committee contact:

Annette Chism; Director, Environmental Health and Safety

Last modified: November 8, 2016
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