Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

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. At UTRGV the IBC also reviews research activities utilizing potentially hazardous biological agents.

All research by UTRGV investigators that involves the following biological agents, regardless of funding source, must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Biosafety (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’s) 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 other vertebrate 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.

Furthermore, all existing and new protocols involving Human Subjects, Animal Welfare, Biohazardous Materials and/or rDNA require Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) training completion taken within four years. Previously approved protocols will be required to provide evidence of RCR training completion upon Annual Review of IBC certification. Protocols will not be approved unless completion of training is submitted.

All Principal Investigators (PIs) and research personnel listed on their protocols must complete the mandated RCR training. This can be accomplished by taking the CITI RCR training course, other RCR training or a Research Ethics course. In either case a certificate or transcript must be submitted upon submitting completion.

What is the IBC?

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, Graduate Studies, and New Program Development, works with the Environmental, Health, Safety and Risk Management (EHSRM) 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 involved in research; 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.

Who is on the IBC?

The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) at UTRGV is composed of, at least, a Chair and 4 faculty/staff members from UTRGV schools that conduct research with rDNA and/or infectious agents, one member from the EHSRM office, a representative of the animal care program, a BSL3 facilities director, a compliance office representative and two external community members. Voting IBC members must have expertise in the use of rDNA and hazardous biological agents while IBC community members represent community interests in protecting the environment and the local population.

UTRGV’s IBC Membership:

Dr. Daniele Provenzano Chair Professor, Biology
Dr. Julie Mustard Vice Chair Associate Professor, Biology
Dr. Megan Keniry Voting Member Associate Professor, Biology
Dr. Hyeongjun Kim Voting Member Assistant Professor, Physics & Astronomy
Dr. Dae Kim Voting Member Associate Professor, Molecular Science
Mr. E. Tony Reisinger Voting Member Community representative
Dr. Laura Decanini Voting Member Community representative
Dr. Richard Costello Ex Officio EHSRM Director
Ms. Cordelia Rasa Ex Officio Director of Animal Care Programs and BSL3 facility
Ms. Glorimar Colon Ex Officio Interim Director of Research Compliance
Mr. Javier Garcia, RN Ex Officio Safety Specialist I
Ms. Nadia Garza De Ramirez Non-Voting Member Senior Research Compliance Specialist

When and where does the IBC meet?

UTRGV's IBC meeting schedule for fiscal year 2021:

Date Time Location
Friday, October 16, 2020 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Zoom
Friday, December 4, 2020 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Zoom
Friday, February 19, 2021 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Zoom
Friday, April 9, 2021 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Zoom
Friday, June 25, 2021 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Zoom

UTRGV IBC Meeting FY 2019

Date Time Location Building/Room
June 21, 2019 1:30 - 3:30 pm Weslaco South Texas College
Previous Meetings
April 12, 2019 1:30 - 3:30 pm Edinburg EESHRM 104
February 22, 2019 1:30 - 3:30 pm Brownsville BROBL 22
November 30, 2018 1:30 - 3:30 pm Edinburg EEHSB 104
October 19, 2018 1:30 - 3:30 pm Brownsville BROBL 22
June 8, 2018 1:30 - 3:30 pm Weslaco TSTC
April 13, 2018 1:30 - 3:30 pm Harlingen TSTC
February 23, 2018 1:30 - 3:30 pm Brownsville BROBL 22
October 20, 2017 1:30 - 3:30 pm Brownsville BROBL 22

UTRGV’s IBC meeting schedule for Fiscal Year 2017:

  • May 12, 2017 (12:00 - 1:00 pm) 4901 East Expressway 83, Mercedes, TX

Previous meetings for Fiscal Year 2017:

  • October 21, 2016 (1:30 - 3:00 pm) STDOI Room 110 Brownsville
  • December 9, 2016 (1:30-3:30) EEHSB Conference Room Edinburg

  • February 10, 2017 (1:30-3:30) STDOI Room 110 Brownsville
  • April 14, 2017 (1:30-3:30) EEHSB Conference Room Edinburg

Meetings are open to the public in accordance with Section IV-B-2-a-(6) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines.  If interested in attending an IBC meeting, please send an email to with your name and your relationship with the Rio Grande Valley. 

How do I register my research involving rDNA and Hazardous Biological Agents?

Filled IBC and HBA registration forms should be submitted either through campus mail or by email to Nadia Garza de Ramirez, Senior Research Compliance Specialist at A preliminary review of the application will be conducted and then sent to the committee for review. The IBC typically meets five times a year and as needed. Registration documents should be submitted three weeks prior to the meeting dates and inquiries directed to Nadia Garza De Ramirez.

IBC Forms

  Forms and Submission Information

  IBC Resources Forms:

Researchers Training Resources

Committee Resources

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Dr. Daniele Provenzano
Chair - Institutional Biosafety Committee
Professor, Bacterial Genetics
BBRHPB 1.125

Dr. Richard Costello
Director - Environmental, Health Safety and Risk Management 
956-665-3690 (dept.)
956-665-2903 (office)

Nadia Garza De Ramirez
Senior Research Compliance Specialist
BPOB2 1.103D