The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) at Ochsner Health System provides local review and oversight of biosafety and nearly all forms of biohazards and/or recombinant DNA (rDNA) used in research conducted at or sponsored by Ochsner. As mandated by the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities, all institutions are responsible for ensuring that recombinant DNA research conducted at, or sponsored by, that institution is carried out in compliance with the NIH Guidelines. Compliance with the NIH Guidelines is important because it promotes the safe conduct of research involving recombinant DNA and is mandatory as a condition of receiving NIH funding. Accordingly, a local IBC has the authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove research studies involving recombinant DNA and, if it so chooses, other potentially hazardous agents. This review process serves an important role in the protection of the rights and welfare of research personnel and the community-at-large.
The Ochsner IBC
The Ochsner IBC reviews research studies involving recombinant DNA, infectious agents, cancer cells, carcinogenic compounds and biological toxins, used either in vitro (outside of an organism) or in animals and humans. The committee is comprised of individuals with sufficiently diverse scientific, safety-related, and community-minded expertise to permit evaluation of such protocols. Under the NIH Guidelines, certain types of recombinant DNA and experiments employing recombinant DNA are considered either “exempt” from IBC review. At Ochsner, these studies must be registered with the IBC but are not subjected to a formal approval process. All other experiments, including the deliberate transfer of recombinant DNA, rDNA-modified microorganisms or human pathogens, into any human research participants, require approval by the Ochsner IBC prior to initiation and, where relevant, review by the Ochsner Institutional Review Board.
As per the NIH Guidelines, IBCs must be comprised of no fewer than five members. Members are selected in order to collectively provide experience and expertise in recombinant DNA technology, the capability to assess the safety of recombinant DNA research, and the ability to identify any potential risk to public health or the environment.
At least two individuals must not be affiliated with the institution, apart from their membership on the IBC. These members represent the interest of the surrounding community with respect to health and protection of the environment.
Currently, the Ochsner IBC is also comprised of individuals with knowledge of institutional policies and commitments and expertise in biological and physical containment, radiation safety, and formulation and usage of human therapeutics.
Except to provide information requested by the IBC, no member of the IBC may be involved in the review or approval of a project in which he/she has been, or expects to be, engaged or has a direct financial interest.
If you have relevant expertise and are interested in serving on the Committee, please contact IBC, 504-842-1259, IBC@ochsner.org. Individuals not affiliated with the Ochsner Health System and interested in service to the community are always welcome to join.