CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative


Posted: October 3, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

In accordance with the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative, October is “Clean out Your Freezer” month at CSU! We are pleased to announce that this year’s Biosafety Stewardship Initiative Poster Contest winner is Colleen Brents, a Graduate Research Assistant from the Ergonomics Lab in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences. Please join me in thanking and congratulating her for her efforts. View the winning poster.

I now urge you to continue to be good stewards of biosafety and to clean out and inventory your laboratory freezers. The first three labs who submit evidence that they have recently cleaned out their freezers will receive a token of appreciation. Submissions and/or questions should be sent to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu. More information on things to consider while cleaning out your freezer can be found here. Thank you for your continued support in this matter.

October is also National Biosafety Month! Stay tuned for more information regarding this and additional CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative activities.

Best regards,

Chaoping Chen, PhD
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chair, Institutional Biosafety Committee


Posted: July 29, 2016

Poster Contest

Design a poster and win stuff!

In accordance with the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative, October is “clean out your laboratory freezer” month! Help us raise awareness for this event by designing an awesome poster that will inspire people to take action. The winning poster will be displayed all around campus and designer will win cool stuff!!! So don’t delay, submit your poster today!

Poster Requirements:

  • Address the importance of keeping laboratory freezers clean and well inventoried
  • Eye grabbing graphics
  • Catchy slogan
  • Submit PDF, along with contact info to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu
  • Submission deadline: August 26, 2016

This contest is open to all CSU students and employees; you may even submit a poster as a group (i.e., office/lab/club). Awards will be given for the top three posters.

View the 2016 Announcement


Posted: October 5, 2015


Dear Colleagues,

October marks the one-year anniversary of the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative and the subsequent efforts to inventory laboratory freezers on campus. We are making the “freezer clean out” an annual October event at CSU. A poster contest was held to engage the CSU research community to design the best “freezer clean out” poster which will serve to advertise the annual freezer clean out event. I am pleased to announce that this year’s winner is Amber Mayfield of the Mathiason Laboratory (Prion Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology)! Please join me in thanking and congratulating her for her efforts. Click here to view the winning poster.

And now I urge you all to continue to be good stewards of biosafety and to clean out and inventory your laboratory freezers. The first five individuals who submit evidence that they have recently cleaned and inventoried their freezers will receive a small token of appreciation. Submissions and/or questions should be sent to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu

When performing an inventory of freezer space, please pay special attention to:

  • Materials from other researchers. Work with others who are sharing the freezer to perform an inventory at the same time to verify that all materials in the freezer have someone responsible for them.
  • Abandoned materials. If you find that materials were abandoned by someone that is no longer at the university, please contact RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval. Performing an inventory is a good time to verify that all biohazardous materials have the proper with the IBC approval (AARF/PARF).
  • Clearly labeled containers. Easily identifiable containers allow laboratory personnel to find what they are looking for in a timely manner. Clearly labeled containers are also very helpful during the re-inventory process.
  • Clean, frequently defrosted freezers. A routine defrosting and cleaning is an opportunity to create some space and organization in the freezer.
  • Is the freezer working properly? Freezers fail. Get into the habit of checking your freezer regularly; it is the best way to ensure that it is working properly.

These are small steps to ensure that we are promoting our culture of safety and keeping CSU students, faculty and staff, as well as the community free from potential harm. Thank you for your continued support in this matter.

Best regards,

Chaoping Chen, PhD
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chair, Institutional Biosafety Committee


Posted: August 28, 2015
Updated: September 14, 2015


2015 Poster Contest – Deadline for Submission Extended to September 21, 2015!

Design a freezer clean out poster and win cool stuff!

October marks the one-year anniversary of the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative and the subsequent efforts to clean out and inventory laboratory freezers on campus. We are making the “freezer clean out” an annual October event at CSU and want YOUR HELP to raise awareness! First place winner will have their poster displayed all around campus! View last year’s poster.

Poster Requirements: Address the importance of keeping freezers clean and well inventoried

  • Eye grabbing graphics
  • Catchy slogan
  • Submit PDF, along with contact information to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu
  • Submission deadline: September 18, 2015

This contest is open to all CSU students and employees; you may even submit a poster as a group (i.e., office, lab, club, etc.). The contest is sponsored by the Research Integrity & Compliance Review Office, the Biosafety Office, and the Office of Vice President for Research.

Please send questions to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu

Deadline for submission is September 18, 2015! So don’t delay, submit your poster today!!!

View Poster Contest Flier.


Posted: March 19, 2015


Dear Colleagues of the CSU research community:

On behalf of Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and Biosafety Officers (BSO), I want to take this opportunity to bring you an update on the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative that was announced by Provost Rick Miranda and VPR Alan Rudolph last October. The primary goal of the initiative is to voluntarily perform self-assessment on biosafety and biosecurity measures and to identify any areas that need additional attention for further improvement with a focus on Biosafety Select Agents and Toxins (BSAT) and Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) agents. I am now pleased to report that this initiative has been very productive with no shut down of normal research activities. The following highlights the main outcomes of this initiative for your information.

  • Campus wide self-assessment surveys. A Biosafety/Biosecurity Stewardship survey was sent out to 24 Department Heads and 127 PIs with on-going IBC reviewed agents and projects. All department heads from departments with PIs/Programs known to work with human pathogens responded (100%); a total of 17 out of the 24 department heads responded to the survey (~71%). We had even greater success from PI respondents. Out of 127 queried PIs, 108 responded (~85%). In a targeted follow up survey of PIs working with human pathogens (risk group II or higher), 113 of 121 (~93%) of these selected PIs (or lab delegates) responded to the survey. Of note, we received a 100% response rate from the PIs who work with BSAT/BSL-3 agents.
  • Freezer audits. Some PIs have requested a freezer audit to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Other PIs have requested a freezer audit because there are areas used to store BSAT/BSL-3 agents but the investigators have moved to a different laboratory or left CSU. The inspection team, consisting of the IBC chair, BSO (or ABSO), and the IBC coordinator, along with the PI (or delegate) as liaison, performed freezer audits at several sites. Any BSAT and/or BSL-3 human pathogens were inventoried and relocated to the appropriate lab space (only one instance of this was found).
  • Re-evaluation of all current BSL-3/BSAT AARFs by a subcommittee. There are ~150 BSAT and/or BSL-3 agent approval request forms (AARFs) filed to the IBC database. Each AARF was independently reviewed by two members of a subcommittee consisting of the IBC chair, BSO and ABSO, IBC members and the IBC coordinator (7 people total). The subcommittee has also revised the content and format of current AARF to better comply with the increased levels of federal regulations and oversight on biosafety and biosecurity research at CSU. The revised new AARF is now approved by the IBC and is in the process of implementation.

In summary, this initiative reinforced our longstanding commitment to conducting responsible research while complying with federal regulations that are constantly being updated as the knowledge of biosafety and biosecurity advances. We are grateful to your understanding and support that have made this initiate a productive success. A big “thank you” to you all.

Chaoping Chen, PhD
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Chair, Institutional Biosafety Committee


Posted: September 25, 2014


Colleagues,

Over the past few months, there has been increasing attention on the safety and security practices in the use of high consequence biological pathogens or Select Agents. This has been largely driven by reports in the press and review of a number of incidences that could have compromised the health and safety of researchers and the public, including one incident at CSU.

In response, various federal agencies and academic societies such as Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Council of Governmental Relations (COGR), are requesting a renewed effort to ensure that inventories are correct, training is adequate, and that meaningful policies/procedures for Select Agent work are in place and being followed. On Aug. 28, 2014, a joint memorandum from the federal National Security Council (NSC) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) urged federal agencies to take immediate and long-term steps to address the underlying causes for the incidents. They also urged all federal and extramural facilities that receive federal funding to conduct a “Safety Stand-Down” (halt Select Agent research for at least 24 hours until the inventories, polices and training can be assessed).

Both NIH and USDA have issued guidance to institutions that have received funding from them. While CSU is not required to take any steps, these agencies have requested we voluntarily perform a Select Agency safety assessment. This could include:

  • Sweeping areas used to store human, animal or plant infectious agents or toxins, especially areas containing historic collections to ensure that no unregistered Biological Select Agents or Toxins (BSAT) are present;
  • Reviewing procedures for biosafety, biosecurity, and inventory management;
  • Brainstorming activities with laboratory leadership and employees to enhance the facility biosafety culture;
  • Conducting facility biosafety training sessions; and
  • Completing safety assessments or mock emergency response activities.

We will use this opportunity to step up and reinforce our position as a leader in biosafety practices. I have asked our Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) chaired by Dr. Chaoping Chen and our Responsible Official, Dr. Robert Ellis, in conjunction with the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance Review to conduct a review of our biosafety policies and practices. They will be contacting researchers over the next several weeks, asking for their assistance by self-reporting Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSATs) through an on-line survey as part of this safety assessment which we are calling the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative. You will be receiving notifications with details about the Initiative, and we ask that you to respond to these requests in a timely manner. It is too important of an issue to delay or ignore.

In a similar vein, The Department of Homeland Security has asked us to step up our oversight of chemical use and storage. As a joint effort between my office and that of Amy Parsons, VP for University Operations, we have recently established a University Chemical Safety and Compliance Committee that has been charged with creating a culture of safety at CSU, while providing faculty and student oversight on chemical safety and compliance issues. Researchers using chemicals can expect that Dr. Ellen Fisher, Chair of this committee, will be contacting you soon regarding these important issues.

We are proud of the ground-breaking research that CSU faculty, staff and students perform on Select Agents, to make this a safer and healthier planet. We are confident that our biosafety program is one of the best in the country, and that CSU researchers uphold the highest safety standards. This initiative is simply another way to reinforce our longstanding commitment to conducting responsible research. I thank you ahead of time for your cooperation and please contact me with any comments or concerns.

Best,
Alan

Alan S. Rudolph, PhD, MBA
Vice President for Research
Colorado State University
203 Administration
Fort Collins, CO 80523-2001
Ph: 970-491-7194
www.vpr.colostate.edu

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