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Laboratory Research

Lab Research Requiring IBC Approval

Investigators involved in research at Weill Cornell Medicine must submit the proposed use to the IBC for review and approval prior to utilizing work with:

  • Recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules,
  • Biological agents classified as Risk Group 2, 3, and 4 in the NIH Guidelines
  • Research involving select agents as listed by the USDA/CDC

How to Register Laboratory Research

As required by WCM Laboratory Safety Policy, Principal Investigators are required to register their laboratories with the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). The Unified Laboratory Safety Registration and Inspection program allows WCM Principal Investigators to complete one document representing biological, chemical and radiological work occurring in the lab. The Institutional Biosafety Committee’s (IBC) focus is on biological and biohazards identified in the registration.

To initiate a new laboratory registration or amend your previously approved registration please contact Environmental Health and Safety at ehs@med.cornell.edu or (646) 962-7233.  The EHS Safety Advisor (SA) will contact you or your designated representative to assist you with registration process. SA will review the scientific elements and related safety aspects of your research with you, and will complete the required registration materials and present them to you for review prior to submitting to the IBC for approval. All IBC Laboratory Registration approval and expiration dates are based on geographic location of the Principal Investigator’s laboratory and will stand approved for a period of up to two years. IBC approval must be received prior to the commencement of the research project.

IBC approval is contingent upon adherence to the EHS Research Biosafety Manual and IBC Incident Reporting Policy, which specifies that incidents involving biohazards, recombinant nucleic acid and select agent research that involves WCM laboratory personnel must be reported to the WCM IBC and Environmental Health and Safety consistent with policy.

Specific recommendations on biosafety practices and information on biosafety level criteria can be found in the WCM Research Biosafety Manual, Appendix G of the NIH Guidelines, and in the CDC's Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL).

If the research involves the introduction of recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules or biological agents into an animal model then an Animal Biosafety Level (ABSL) for containment of the agent must assigned by the IBC. IBC approval is required before Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval will be provided for animal research involving the above mentioned agents. 

Laboratory Training

Investigators including graduate students, medical students, principal investigators, physicians, post-doctoral fellows, and lab technicians are required to complete laboratory safety training on an annual basis (365 days) under OSHA regulations. 

EHS Website/ Lab Training

All investigators working with, recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules both exempt and non-exempt, are required to use appropriate facilities, train laboratory personnel, and be in compliance with NIH and WCM Institutional policies.

The Principal Investigator is ultimately responsible for the registration, training, safe handling of research materials handled by their personnel at the approved Biosafety Level.

Vector Biosafety Training is available by contacting EHS and requesting an in-service session for you or your laboratory.

WCM Research Biosafety Manual 

NIH Guidelines

The Major Actions under the NIH Guidelines

Investigator Responsibilities under the NIH Guidelines

Animal Experiments under the NIH Guidelines

Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC)

Updates on Federal Biosafety and Biosecurity Policy

Toxin Experiments

CDC Homepage

Laboratory Resources

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL 5th Edition)

Bloodborne Pathogen Information (OSHA)

Pathogen Safety Data Sheets and Risk Assessment  

ABSA Risk Group Database

Lentiviral Containment Guidance

Select Agent Program

IBC Laboratory FAQs

Q: Do I need to complete the “Short Form” as a part of my grant application?

A: No. Laboratory Safety Registration “Short Form” previously completed by Gant Applicants as a part of grant submission via Electronic Routing Form is no longer used because Grant and contract submissions are now prepared and routed through WRG-SP, accessible at http://wrg.weill.cornell.edu/

Q: Why do I have to complete a Laboratory Safety Registration (LSR)?

A: A Laboratory Safety Registration is required for all PI’s conducting research and/or laboratory work conducted at WCM-owned and/or WCM-leased laboratory spaces.

Q: Can I start my research prior to completing Laboratory Safety Registration (LSR) and obtaining applicable committee approvals?

A: No. Failure to submit Laboratory Safety Registration or obtain approval, before commencement of the grant research may cause violation of WCM institutional policies and research non-compliance.  

Q: Do I have to submit a Laboratory Safety Registration if I am not applying for grants?

A: Yes. A Laboratory Safety Registration is required for all PI’s conducting research and/or laboratory work conducted at WCM-owned and/or WCM-leased laboratory spaces. Laboratory Safety Registration is based on the biological materials used in your experiments, not on funding.

Q: I receive no funding from NIH. Do I have to register my recombinant DNA protocol?

A: Yes. Since the WCM receives funding from NIH grants, ALL recombinant DNA research conducted at the WCM has to comply with the NIH Guidelines and institutional policies.  All recombinant DNA research must be reviewed by the IBC.

Q: Do I need to submit a Laboratory Safety Registration every time I submit a grant application?

A: No. Once your Laboratory Safety Registration has been reviewed and approved, during your grant proposal submission through WRG-SP you will need to answer a few questions regarding your registration.

Q: I am a WCM Research Associate, Instructor, Post-doc or Student submitting my own grant proposal. Do I need my own Laboratory Safety Registration?

A: No. Grant Applicants e.g., WCM Research Associates, Instructors, Post-docs or Students working under the supervision of a PI or in a PI's laboratory must refer to PI’s approved Laboratory Safety Registration. The PI/ Lab manager must confirm that your grant work and all of your research activities are represented in the labs approved Laboratory Safety Registration and if necessary amend current Laboratory Safety Registration.

To amend current registration please contact your EHS Safety Advisor (SA) or the IBC at (646) 962-7233 or via email at ibc@med.cornell.edu.

Q: Who reviews/approves the Laboratory Safety Registration?

A: Environmental Health and Safety in collaboration with the IBC and RSC (if applicable to your research) reviews the Laboratory Safety Registration. The review consists of assessing radiation safety, biological safety, chemical safety, fire safety and hazardous waste hazards in a laboratory and cumulatively for the entire WCM campus. This may include follow-up with the PI to clarify issues and/or provide assistance when requested.

Q: How long does the EHS/IBC/RSC review process take?

A: A typical review takes up to four weeks to be completed and will require an inspection of the laboratory spaces covered under the Laboratory Safety Registration. 

Q: Who can I call for help in completing the Laboratory Safety Registration?

A: Contact your SA or Environmental Health and Safety for assistance or questions regarding the Laboratory Safety Registration at (646) 962-723 or at ehs@med.comell.edu.

Q: How do I find out the status of my Laboratory Safety Registration?

A: To check the status Laboratory Safety Registration, or to find out when your registration was last approved, at (646) 962-7233 or at ibc@med.cornell.edu.

*Note: IBC Approved Laboratory Safety Registration list is updated monthly and only include Laboratory Safety Registration that have been approved. Contact EHS if you need additional information about the status of your submission. Contact the IBC with questions specific to the biosafety part of the submission.

Q: Who must sign the Laboratory Safety Registration?

A: Only the PI whose name is listed on page one (1) may sign the Laboratory Safety Registration.

Q: I don't have an electronic signature, how can I submit the Laboratory Safety Registration?

A: If you are not able to sign electronically, print and sign the signature page and mail it to your Safety Advisor.

Q: I share a lab with an investigator who has an approved Laboratory Safety Registration, does their registration apply to my work in the shared lab?

A: Yes. If you are listed under the IBC approved registration under LABORATORY PERSONNEL section, your research is covered under the IBC approved registration and your Laboratory Safety Training is up to date.

No. If your research (set of experiments) are not covered under the IBC approved registration or if you are not listed under the IBC approved registration under LABORATORY PERSONNEL section.

In this case the Laboratory Safety Registration must be amended, contact your lab Safety Advisor (SA) at (646) 962-7233 or the IBC at ibc@med.cornell.edu to initiate the amendment.