The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is a committee comprised of faculty, staff, and community members who oversee biological research and teaching activities at UWM involving recombinant and synthetic nucleic acid molecules in accordance with the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant and Synthetic Nucleic Acids, which will be referred to as the “NIH Guidelines” throughout this document. In addition to overseeing research involving recombinant DNA or synthetic nucleic acids, the IBC reviews the use of the following:

  • Recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid materials, including transgenic animals and human gene therapy
  • Biohazardous agents, such as bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, prions, protozoa, and parasites
  • Biological toxins, i.e. toxins originating from bacteria, plants, animals, and/ or fungi
  • All vertebrate and invertebrate animals that are either: transgenic (rDNA/ synthetic NA), exotic/ invasive, grown in association with pathogens or other recombinant materials, produce toxins, and/ or act as vectors of disease.
  • Plants that are recombinant, exotic/ invasive, and/ or grown in association with pathogenic or recombinant microorganisms and/ or pathogenic or recombinant animals (such as insects).
  • Large scale propagation consisting of a volume greater than 10L or more in one vessel
  • Nanotechnology involving biological agents
  • All human cells, tissues, organs, and bodily fluids- including use of primary and established cell lines
  • Non-human primate cells, tissues organs, biological samples that may be infectious or recombinant
  • Other animal cells and tissues when they may be infectious or recombinant.

It is required under the NIH Guidelines that the IBC maintains a membership of a minimum of five individuals, with expertise covering knowledge of recombinant DNA and synthetic nucleic acid molecules, a plant expert, an animal expert, and at least two members that are from the community, not affiliated with UWM. Large-scale or BSL-3 research requires the additional membership of a Biological Safety Officer (BSO). At UWM, the biological safety officer always sits on the IBC and currently serves as the IBC coordinator. A current record of membership is reported annually to the NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP) by the biological safety officer.

In addition to evaluation of biological research, the IBC and Biological Safety Program provide guidance and support to the research community of UWM by evaluating best practices and developing guidance documents for research facilities to follow in their own research. The IBC reserves the right to determine the BSL for researchers work and to recommend the suspension of research if it is deemed unsafe or dangerous to the research personnel in the lab, the UWM community, or the environment, or if the research jeopardizes the UWM research community’s NIH funding status if deemed in violation of the NIH Guidelines.

The IBC convenes as necessary (typically once a month) to review submitted protocols and to discuss biosafety business. In accordance with the State of Wisconsin Open Meetings Law, all meetings will be announced on the UWM Report to the public and all materials will be made upon request to the UWM records custodian. For more information about the IBC, a meeting schedule, and request for meeting minutes, please contact the UWM Biosafety Program at: uwm-biosafety@uwm.edu.

Biosafety Protocol Submission on iManager

Beginning July 1, 2019, the UWM IBC will no longer accept Word Documents as a submission for a biosafety protocol at UWM and will switch entirely to iManager iManager (formerly called IRBManager at UWM). iManager is a fully web-based system allowing users with an internet browser to securely: login and submit IBC submissions; send and receive automatic notices; view the status of active, closed, or recent submissions; and maintain the entire IBC file in one central place. It is the same system currently used for protocol submissions to the UWM IRB.

Students or someone other than the main Principal Investigator will be allowed to complete and submit forms.  However, the PI will be required to log in, review the submission, and digitally sign-off on the protocol before it will be reviewed.


UWM IBC FAQs: These are frequently asked questions about the UWM IBC, biosafety protocols, etc. This is a great starting point if you have questions about anything.