Institutional Biosafety Committee

Welcome to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)



The University of Chicago has two Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) which are charged with the responsibility for review, approval and monitoring of all research protocols at the University of Chicago involving the use of biohazardous materials. The University of Chicago (main campus) IBC is responsible for all research conducted with non-select agent biohazardous agents, as defined below. The Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory (HTRL) IBC is specifically responsible for the review and approval of all research involving the use of Select Agents and for all research involving biohazardous materials conducted at the HTRL.  Unless otherwise noted, the term “IBC” refers to the two University of Chicago Institutional Biosafety Committees.

What are biohazardous materials?

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) requires, via the NIH Guidelines (PDF), that any university receiving NIH funding for certain recombinant/synthetic DNA experiments maintain a IBC for the purpose of reviewing and approving biohazardous and recombinant research protocols. Biozhazards are defined as recombinant/synthetic DNA (r/sDNA), agents infectious to humans, animals or plants, other genetically altered organisms and agents, and certain biological toxins (determination made based upon the LD50 of the toxin in question). Additionally, cells/blood/tissues/organs harvested directly from humans only require IBC approval if they are used in the following manner:

  • As a recipient or source for r/sDNA experiments
  • As a recipient/host for or source of a pathogenic and/or genetically modified organism
  • As a recipient of biological toxins in vitro


Regardless of the source of financial support, all research with biohazards must be approved by the IBC and conform to IBC policies and procedures. The University of Chicago (both main campus and HTRL) lacks facilities requiring BSL4 or ABSL4 containment. Therefore, research requiring such containment cannot be performed at the University of Chicago. The HTRL does maintain BSL3 and ABSL3 containment laboratories. Investigators wishing to perform research requiring BSL3 or ABSL3 containment should consult with the University of Chicago’s Office of Research Safety prior to grant preparation or IBC protocol submission.


All IBC protocol submissions are only accepted through AURA-IBC. You will need to navigate to the AURA homepage and then click on the IBC module. For information regarding training on the use of AURA-IBC, please refer to the materials on the IBC-Training Resources page.



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