Office of Research Assurances


Potentially Biohazardous Material

Potentially biohazardous materials* include (but are not limited to) all of the categories below. Projects involving material(s) included in any of these categories must be submitted for IBC approval prior to initiating the project.

  • Recombinant DNA (rDNA)
  • Genetically modified organisms. Including, but not limited to:
    • Animals, plants, invertebrates, and/or other organisms created by WSU employees or in/on WSU property,
    • Transgenic field trials, any genetically modified organism to be introduced into the environment (by WSU personnel and/or on WSU property)
    • Field testing of plants engineered to produce pharmaceutical and industrial compounds,
  • Any organisms requiring federal permits (APHIS, CDC, FDA, EPA),
  • Pathogens/infectious agents (human, animal, plant and other),
  • Select/Biological Agents and Toxins (CDC and USDA), Please note that possession, use, or transfer of Select/Biological Agents and Toxins entails additional requirements contact the Office of Research Assurances for additional information,
  • Human & non-human primate cells (including all cell lines), tissue, blood and potentially infectious fluids. (see section XVII of the IBC Manual for more information),
  • Work with animals or vectors known or suspected to be reservoirs of BL2 or BL3 infectious agents when such work increases potential exposure risks to personnel or other animals,
  • Oncogenic viruses used in conjunction with animals.

The IBC also serves as an advisory committee for University projects that involve possible biohazards that do not appear to fall into one of these areas. When it is unclear whether a material constitutes a potential biohazard, the IBC should be consulted. Questions should be directed to the ORA Director.

* The phrase potentially biohazardous material is used throughout this manual to indicate all biological materials that the IBC oversees. The list includes materials that are not included in the NIH Guidelines and materials that may not traditionally be considered biohazardous.

In addition to regulation of activities with potentially biohazardous materials, the WSU IBC also oversees work with some organisms not viewed as biohazardous, including genetically modified whole plants which are commercially available and do not require APHIS permits.

Office of Research Assurances, P.O. Box 643143, Neil Room 428, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-3143
Phone: 509-335-7195, Fax: 509-335-6410,