Biological Safety Program

The biological safety program at Rush protects investigators, other institutional personnel and the community at large from potential biological or biomimetic agent hazards of biomedical research. The program assures compliance with all applicable governmental regulations and guidelines pertaining to biosafety.

The program provides web-based training modules via the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) for investigators and their research personnel. CITI training is designed to ensure compliance with regulations and guidelines, and to improve technical expertise in biosafety issues. Staff are encouraged to contact us about any issues not addressed by this training.

The institutional biosafety committee (IBC) supervises research and related activities that use recombinant and synthetic nucleic acid technology. The biological safety officer is an executive official and voting member of the committee. The officer assists researchers in preparing applications to the committee for approval. The officer also periodically assesses whether IBC-approved programs comply with government guidelines.

The biological safety officer also oversees other potentially biohazardous research activities outside the jurisdiction of the committee, including the following:

  • Use of MPTP: Investigators using this biomimetic chemical are required to file an MPTP investigator’s handbook. All individuals working with this chemical must file the Rush MPTP workers informed consent. You will also need to receive specialized safety evaluation and training from us, the Comparative Research Center and occupational safety.
  • Study of select agents: Select agents are specific microorganisms and toxins identified as unusually hazardous by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). You may posses quantities of select agents in excess of individually specified ceiling amounts only under stringent federal regulations. If you are currently studying or planning to study toxins or microorganisms, check them against the select agents list and contact us if they are listed.
  • Federal permits: Rare or endangered live species (foreign or domestic) or tissue samples derived from them may be lawfully obtained and studied only with a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Similarly, certain microorganisms afflicting animals that are not select agents nevertheless require a USDA permit and lab inspection. Contact us to apply for such permits.

Contact us

Amarjit Virdi, PhD
Phone: (312) 942-5143

Ed R. Blazek, PhD
Biological Safety Officer
Phone: (312) 942-5222