Biological Safety Program
The Biological Safety Program is responsible for providing support to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston students and personnel concerning the recognition, evaluation, and control of chemical, biological, and physical hazards. Our goal is to provide the safest work environment for all UTHealth employees and the surrounding health science center community, as well as minimizing risk to the environment and property.
The Biological Safety Program is located at CYF in room: CYF G102. They may be reached by phone at: (713) 500-8170 or fax at: (713) 500-8111
ThermoFisher BSC Customer Notification
ThermoFisher has recently been experiencing some isolated issues with glass breakage on the front window of their 6 foot, ThermoScientific -1300 series A2 Biological Safety Cabinets. Potential issues are most likely to occur during transit, or early in the operation of the BSC. Potential issues include the front window being sluggish to move, or becoming jammed, resulting in the glass breaking when force is used to move the front window. There is no recall of these units and ThermoScientific has made changes to their manufacturing process to address this issue.
As stated in the operating manual for these units, “Caution: if the front window jams or is sluggish to move, DO NOT use force!” Discontinue the use of the BSC and do not attempt to repair the unit on your own.
The following models are affected:
Affected Model Numbers: 1307, 1337, 1347, 1357, 1377, 1378, 1387, 1388, 1389, 1397
Affected Production Dates: July 11, 2016 – April 24, 2017
The model number and production date can be found on the serial number tag (see photo).
If you have one of the affected models of BSC that was produced between July 2016 and April 2017, that exhibits these issues, please contact Unity Lab Services (800-438-4851) immediately to have the glass inspected and replaced, if needed.
Cold Room Use and Care
Do you have questions about what should, or should not be done in a cold room? Perhaps you have heard conflicting information on what is acceptable to store in a cold room. Environmental Health & Safety has developed a short, informational poster about what hazards can be associated with cold rooms and how to lower the risk of an adverse event happening with one. You can download the poster here.
Reminder about PPE use:
This is a reminder to all research personnel that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should not be worn outside of the laboratory setting. Recently there have been instances of people observing researchers wearing in public spaces, specifically using gloved hands to open doors or push elevator buttons. After all, do you really know where that glove has been?
Please do not wear gloves or other PPE outside of the laboratory, especially on elevators, in hallways, or in break rooms.
If it is necessary to transport items between labs on the same floor, one hand may be gloved, while the other hand remains without a glove to open the doors between labs. Gloves should never be worn in the elevator or break rooms. Ideally items should be transported using carts and secondary containment, especially when transporting items between floors.
Institutional Biosafety Committee (Biological Agents, Recombinant or Synthetic DNA Molecules)
IBC Protocol Submission
- Online Protocol Submission Interface
- User's Manual for Online Protocol Submission interface (PDF)
- Guidance Chart for IBC Protocols (PDF)
- NIH Guidelines for PI’s
- Principal Investigator Responsibilities for the Use and Classification of rDNA Research
- NIH/OBA rDNA Guidelines
IBC Committee Information
Institutional Biosafety Committee meets on the first Thursday of every month. Meetings are open to the public, but location and times may vary. Please contact Environmental Health & Safety (713-500-8100) for further information.
Biological Safety Manual, and Guidance Documents
- UTHealth Institutional Biological Safety Manual (pdf)
- UTHealth Biological Safety Cabinets Guidance Document
- UTHealth Indoor Air Quality - Mold
- Laboratory Safety Audits
- Biological Agent Inventory Agent Form
- Biological Agent Inventory Short Form
Biological Safety Training
- Initial Laboratory and Bloodborne Pathogens Training* required by UT System
- Annual Laboratory and Bloodborne Pathogens Training *required annually
- Infectious Substance Shipping Training -*required every two years
- Institutional Biosafety Committees Annual Training 2017
Select Agents and Toxins Reference Pages
- CDC Select Agents Program Page (CDC site)
- Select Agent List
- Regulations: Final Rule and Information for Transferring or Receiving (pdf)
- Dual Use Research
- CDC Bioterrorism Web Page
Useful Biological Safety Links
- American Biological Safety Association (ABSA)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Health Canada's Biological MSDS
- World Health Organization
Biological Safety Staff
Brett Haltiwanger, Ph.D., CBSP, Safety Manager
Shalaka Kotkar, Ph.D., MPH, Safety Specialist
|Chad Austin, Ph.D., Safety Specialist
Instructor, School of Public Health
B.S. Seattle Pacific University (Biochemistry)
Ph.D. University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus (Microbiology)
Christopher Singh, Ph.D., Safety Specialist