Recombinant DNA (rDNA) and Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA)

The UTRGV’s Department of EHSRM is responsible for ensuring safe and healthy work environment for the campus community, promoting safe work practices that do not harm the environment, ensuring compliance with any and all rules and regulations pertaining to occupational health and safety and the environment, and for protecting the University’s resources through sound administration of the University’s insurance coverage.

Link to Department of EHSRM []

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is a federally mandated university committee responsible for reviewing research activities utilizing recombinant DNA (rDNA) and biohazardous materials to ensure that UTRGV principal investigators and lab personnel are adequately trained and utilize best practices when employing biological agents in research. The IBC reports to the National Institutes of Health Office of Biotechnology Activities (NIH-OBA), serves in an advisory and consultative capacity to UTRGV’s President and Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, works with the Environmental, Health, Safety and Risk Management Office in matters pertaining to biological hazards. UTRGV’s IBC reviews, approves/disapproves or forwards applications for rDNA work to the NIH, advises on the safe handling, transport, shipment, storage, and disposal of potentially hazardous biological agents; may review plans for areas designated to be constructed or remodeled for biohazardous work, monitors adherence to best practices for research with biohazardous agents and facilities designed for use with such agents.

Link to Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) []

All research by UTRGV investigators that involves the following biological agents, regardless of funding source, must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Biological Safety (IBC) prior to initiation of work:

  • Recombinant DNA is defined in the NIH Guidelines as; (1) nucleic acid molecules that are constructed outside living cells by joining natural or synthetic DNA segments to DNA molecules that can replicate in a living cell, and (2) DNA molecules that result from the replication of these molecules.
  • Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA) these include infectious organisms classified as BSL-2 or above agents by the NIH (CDC) such as pathogenic bacteria, protozoans, fungi, viruses, etc., including attenuated lab & vaccine strains. Human and primate biological products (cells, fluids, etc.), applicable primary and immortal cell lines, organotypic and tissue cultures involved in research that require universal precautions are also included.

All Principal Investigators (PIs) and the research personnel listed on their protocols must now complete Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) training. This can be completed by taking a CITI RCRtraining course, taking an RCR training (submit certificate) or submitting completion of a Research Ethics course (submit transcript).

All new protocols for Human Subjects, Animal Welfare, Biohazardous Materials and rDNA will require a completion report of RCR training that has been taken within the last four years. If there is a protocol that was already approved, then the RCR training will be required when an Annual Review is sent in to continue research.

RCR training is good for four (4) years. If you have any questions, please email at the following addresses:
Human Subjects -
Animal Welfare -
Biohazardous Materials or rDNA -

There are no exceptions to this new requirement. Protocols will not be approved unless completion of training is submitted.

Thank you,

The Office of Research Compliance


Dr. Daniele Provenzano
Chair - Institutional Biological Safety  Committee
Professor, Bacterial Genetics
BRHP 1.125

Dr. Richard Costello
Director - Environmental, Health Safety and Risk Management 
Dept.  956-665-3690
Office 956-665-2903

Lynne Depeault
Senior Research Compliance Specialist
Sponsored Programs
BRHP 2210A