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Biosafety @ EH&S

What We Manage

Under UCLA Policy 811, UCLA Policy 992, and the Institutional Biosafety Plan, the following are some of the services we provide: 

  • Biosafety site assessments, reviews, consultations, small group discussions
  • EH&S Biosafety training
  • Biological research-related incident investigations and response
  • Institutional Biosafety Plan (IBP)
  • Exposure Control Plans
  • Import/transport permit guidance for biological materials, including plants and soils
  • Standard operating procedure safety guidance
  • Agent summary program

Contact Us

Meet Our Team

Biosafety Officer Sarah Sweeney

Associate Biosafety Officer/AHCO Joseph Callahan

Assistant Biosafety Officer Andrew Marttini

Assistant Biosafety Officer Merel Bot

Assistant Biosafety Officer Thuong Nguyen

Schedule an appointment with EH&S Biosafety

Biosafety General Line - (310) 206-3929

Biosafety Inbox -

Useful Resources

TheInstitutional Biosafety Plan(IBP) provides guidance on requirements for the safe use of regulated biological materials in research and teaching at UCLA. The IBP applies to all UCLA faculty, staff, students, contract employees, and other personnel working at locations where UCLA has management of the following biological materials:
- Infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and prions) that can cause disease in healthy humans and/or significant environmental or agricultural impacts
- Human and nonhuman primate materials (all fluids, tissues, excretions, secretions, primary cells or cell lines)
- Select agents and select toxins (see Guidelines Regulating Select Agents & Toxins below)
- Recombinant and synthetic nucleic acid molecules (see Guidelines Regulating Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules below) 
- Genetically modified animals and whole plants
A BUA is required for all research and teaching activities involving biological materials described in the IBP. BUAs must be submitted using SafetyNet and approved by theInstitutional Biosafety Committee(IBC). More information can be found in theInstitutional Biosafety Plan: Chapter 2.

Go to SafetyNet
All work practices and procedures must comply with the BSL containment standards outlined in the table below. More information on Animal Biosafety Levels (ABSLs) and Plant Biosafety Levels can be found in theInstitutional Biosafety Plan: Chapter 5. Additional guidance is provided upon request.

Summary of Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents
BSL Agents Required Safety Equipment  Facilities Requirements
1 Not known to consistently cause disease in healthy human adults PPE: laboratory coats and gloves; eye protection appropriate to hazards

Doors for access control
Sink for hand washing
Designed for cleaning (no cloth, rugs, carpets)
Sturdy, chemical-resistant furniture
Fly screens if windows open


Associated with human disease, but lower risk of exposure
Typical hazards relate to percutaneous injury, ingestion, mucous membrane exposure

  BSL1 equipment plus
  **BSC or other containment devices when aerosols/splashes are anticipated or high concentrations/volumes are used
**Aerosol-tight centrifuge rotors or safety cups
Respiratory protection in rooms with infected animals
Protection of vacuum lines  

BSL1 facility plus
Doors must lock and be self-closing
BSCs must be installed properly in facilities
Eyewash station
Inward flow of air without recirculation (new construction)

2+   BSL2 equipment plus
BSC required for all manipulation
Additional PPE: Clothing with solid front (disposable gown recommended), surgical mask, double gloves
BSL2 facility

Indigenous or exotic agents for aerosol transmission, low infectious dose
Disease may have serious or lethal consequences or higher exposure risks

BSL2+ equipment plus
Respiratory protection often more appropriate
BSL2+ facility plus
Self-closing, double-door access
Monitored and alarmed constant negative airflow, no reversal
100% exhaust, may need HEPA filtration
Sealed seams and penetrations to permit gaseous decontamination
Hands-free sinks
Windows are sealed
Physical separation from access corridors
4 Dangerous and exotic agents that pose high risk of life-threatening disease, aerosol transmission. Emerging infectious diseases — NOT PERMITTED AT UCLA    
  **Additional considerations added to BSL1 for BSL1 enhanced (BSL1+)    
Biosafety Review A comprehensive review of the facilities, equipment and practices covered under each BUA is required when a new facility is set up and every 3 years thereafter or whenever significant changes are made that affect the risk assessment (e.g., containment level change, new major equipment or operations).

During the review, EH&S Biosafety works with the PI or a designated representative to evaluate the efficacy of the biosafety program and to ensure that facility standards are maintained, engineering controls are utilized effectively, and risk mitigation plans documented in SOPs are implemented and meeting the needs of personnel.

Following reviews, EH&S Biosafety will generate reports to summarize the findings. A follow-up visit will be scheduled within 30 days to address any outstanding issues. The IBC may choose to investigate repeat findings as outlined in the Policy on Investigating Allegations of Noncompliance.
Schedule an appointment with EH&S Biosafety

Recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid (r/sNA) molecules are constructed outside of living cells. They are made by joining DNA or RNA segments (natural or synthetic) to DNA or RNA molecules that can replicate within a living cell. 

It is mandatory that all UCLA researchers working with r/sNA molecules follow the National Institute of Health (NIH) Guidelines on Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules

Experiments that Require NIH Director Approval and IBC Approval (III-A) Minimum BSL  NIH Section
Transfer of a drug resistance trait to microorganisms compromising ability to control disease agents in humans, veterinary medicine or agriculture. Varies III-A-1-a
Experiments that Require NIH/OSP and IBC Approval (III-B) Minimum BSL  NIH Section
Cloning of toxin molecules with LD50 of less than 100 nanograms per kilogram body weight Varies III-B-1
Experiments that Require IBC and IRB Approvals before Research Participant Enrollment (III-C) Minimum BSL  NIH Section
Transfer human gene into human research participant(s) using recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules or DNA or RNA Varies III-C-1
Experiments that Require IBC Approval (III-D) Minimum BSL  NIH Section
Adding nucleic acids to agents to Risk Group 2* 2 III-D-1-a
Adding nucleic acids to agents to Risk Group 3* 3 III-D-1-b
Adding nucleic acids to agents to Risk Group 4* 4 III-D-1-c
Adding nucleic acids to restricted agents  4 III-D-1-d
Adding nucleic acids from agents into nonpathogenic prokaryotes or lower eukaryotes BSL1 or higher III-D-2
Nucleic acids in viral vectors Risk Group 2* 2 III-D-3-a
Nucleic acids in viral vectors Risk Group 3* 3 III-D-3-b
Nucleic acids in viral vectors Risk Group 4* 4 III-D-3-c
Nucleic acids in viral vectors, such as restricted poxviruses  Varies III-D-3-d
Creation, breeding, transfer and experimentation with transgenic and knockout animals Varies Varies
Nucleic acid-modified microorganisms tested on whole animals BSL1 or higher III-D-4
Generation of transgenic plants or testing of nucleic acid-modified microorganisms or insects on whole plants at BSL2P+ or higher BSL2P+ or higher III-D-5
Large-scale experiments greater than 10 liters of culture BSL1 or higher III-D-6
Influenza virus experimentation: H2N2 (1957-1968) 3+ III-D-7
Influenza virus experiments: Highly Pathogenic Avian (H5N1) BSL2+ or higher III-D-7-b
Influenza virus experiments: 1918 H1N11 BSL3 III-D-7-c
Experiments that Require IBC Approval (III-E) Minimum BSL NIH Section
Use of viral vectors (<2/3 viral genome) in tissue culture BSL1 or 2 III-E-1
Generation of transgenic plants or testing of nucleic acid-modified microorganisms or insects on whole plants at BSL1P+ or BSL2P BSL1P or 2P III-E-2
Generation of transgenic rodents (BSL1 only) 1 III-E-3
Exempt Experiments (III-F) Minimum BSL NIH Section
Synthetic nucleic acids that cannot replicate nor integrate on a living cell (i.e. oligos) Varies III-F-1
Nucleic acids that are not in organisms, cells or viruses Varies III-F-2
Exact nucleic acid sequence from a single source that exists contemporaneously in nature Varies III-F-3
Prokaryotic host plasmids or viruses used only in that host or closely related strain Varies III-F-4
Eukaryotic host nucleic acids used only in that host or closely related strain Varies III-F-5
Nucleic acids entirely of DNA segments from different species that exchange DNA by known physiological processes Varies III-F-6
Genomic DNA molecules that have acquired a transposable element Varies III-F-7
Nucleic acids that do not present a significant risk to health or the environment (See NIH Guidelines Appendix C, Exemptions under Section III-F-8 for other classes of experiments which are exempt from the NIH Guidelines.) Varies III-F-8
*More information on risk groups can be found atPHE Risk Groupand theABSA Risk Group Database
The the National Institute of Health (NIH) Guidelines on Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules states that with some exceptions, experimental use of Escherichia coli (E. coli) K-12 strain and its derivatives are exempt from the requirements of the NIH Guidelines.  This exempt status allows for faster review and approval of the Biohazard Use Authorization (BUA). 

Below are lists of commonly used strains of E. coli and the NIH Guidelines category applicable to those strains.

Ancestral E. coli

The following E. coli laboratory strains are K-12 and therefore most research utilizing these strains is exempt from the NIH Guidelines (Section III-F, F-8, Appendix C-II). 

Strain Designation Origin or Collection
58 Stanford Strain
679 Stanford Strain
WG1 Wisconsin Strain

E. coli K-12 Derivatives

The following E. coli laboratory strains are K-12 derivatives and therefore most research utilizing these strains is exempt from the NIH Guidelines (Section III-F, F-8, Appendix C-II). 

Strain Designation Origin or Collection Strain Designation Origin or Collection
5K Lab strain JC9387 Lab strain
58 Lab strain JM83 Lab strain
58-161 Lab strain JM101 Lab strain
AB284 Lab strain KP7600 Lab strain
AB311 Lab strain LE392 Lab strain
AG1 Lab strain M15 Lab strain
C600 Lab strain MB408 Lab strain
Cavilli Hfr Lab strain MG1655 Lab strain
DH1 Lab strain Novablue Novagen
Dh5-alpha Lab strain P678 Lab strain
DP50 Lab strain PA 309 Lab strain
EMG2 Lab strain REG-12 Lab strain
EPI100-T1R Lab strain S17-1 Lab strain
H1443 Lab strain SCS-110 Strategen
HB1001 Lab strain SM10 Lab strain
Hfr3000 Lab strain STBL2 Invitrogen
Hfr3000 X74 Lab strain STBL3 Invitrogen
HMS 174 Novegen SURE Lab strain
JM109 Lab strain TB1 NEB
TG1 Lab strain WA704 Lab strain
TOP10 Invitrogen W1485 Lab strain
W1485 Lab strain W3110 Lab strain
W208 Lab strain XL1-Blue Strategen
W3110 Lab strain XL10-Gold Strategen
W945 Lab strain XLOLR Strategen
WA704 Lab strain Y10 Lab strain
WG1 Lab strain YM2980 Lab strain

E. coli NOT Derived from K-12

The following E. coli laboratory strains are not derived from K-12 and therefore any research utilizing these strains are not exempt from the NIH Guidelines (Section III-E). 

Strain Designation Origin or Collection Strain Designation Origin or Collection
B Lab strain K5808 Lab strain
B-3 Lab strain Mach 1 Invitrogen
B/R Lab strain Nissile 1917 Lab strain
BL21 Novagen Rosetta Novagen
BL23 NEB REG-118 Lab strain
C Lab strain TOPP Strategen
C41 Sigma Aldrich W Lab strain
C43 Sigma Aldrich 25922 Lab strain
FDA strain Seattle 1946 Lab strain    

Pathogenic E. coli strains 

The following E. coli strains are not exempt  from the NIH Guidelines (Section III-D).

Strain Designation
E. coli, all strains bearing K1 antigen
E. coli enteroaggregative strain (EAEC)
E. coli enterohaemorrhagic strain (EHEC)
E. coli enteroinvesavie strain (EIEC)
E. coli enteropathogenic strain (EPEC)
E. coli enterotoxigenic strain (ETEC)
E. coli Shiga toxin producing E. coli (O157:H7)
Select agent and toxin regulations require that any entity, facility and personnel involved in possession, use, or transfer of select agents and toxins register with theFederal Select Agent Program(FSAP). More information on can be found in theInstitutional Biosafety Plan: Chapter 3.
Tier 1 Select Agents and Toxins Tier 1 can pose as a severe threat to public health and safety, and require additional training, containment, occupational health and security requirements (see 42 CFR 73 and 9 CFR 121).
Permissible Amounts of Select Toxins The UCLA IBC requires registration of permissible amounts of select toxins before acquisition of any amount to ensure proper biosafety and biosecurity measures are in place. This does not require registration with FSAP.

Related documents & forms:
Select Toxin Inventory Log
Select Toxin Worksheet
Select Toxin Due Diligence Form 
Dual Use Research of Concern Dual use research of concern (DURC) refers to life sciences research involving 15 designated agents and toxins and 7 categories of experiments. These agents and experiments pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, plants, animals, the environment, military materials and equipment, or national security. 

At UCLA, the Dual Use Review Entity (DURE) identifies DURC and implements risk mitigation measures per UCLA Policy 995.
How do I report an incident?
If this an emergency, call 9-1-1. To reach the EH&S Hotline, call (310) 825-9797.

How do I request a new biohazard door card?
Complete the theBiohazard Door Card Request form. These door cards are for sub-rooms. If the door is public facing, complete theUniversal Door Card Request form

How often should my Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) be certified and how do I get it certified?
BSCs should be certified annually. A TSS sticker on the BSC will note when it was last certified and the retest date. If your BSC needs to be serviced, please contact the phone number on the sticker.

If you have a fume hood that you would like to get serviced, emailfumehoods@ehs.ucla.eduto schedule a technician visit. 

What should I use to disinfect?
Please see theDecontamination SOP.

I don't know who to contact. What do I do?
OurEH&S Virtual Office Hours portal will allow you to schedule a time to speak with an EH&S representative. In the portal, click on the "i" for more information on each service EH&S provides. 

Is there information on how to manage core facilities?
Please see theCore Facility Management SOP

What if I can new personnel?
New personnel can use theSite Safety Orientation Checklist

What training do I take if I will perform BSL-3 experiments?
The BSL-3 training program is an extended mentorship and competency testing plan, which is conducted over several weeks in one of the UCLA BSL-3 facilities. Currently, the biggest prerequisite is to have an approved project which will take place in a UCLA BSL-3 lab at some point in the coming months. You can have whoever is coordinating your lab's BSL-3 experiment get in touch with the UCLA High Containment Director about scheduling your training. Please visit the High Containment website for more information.