CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative

October 2019 National Biosafety and Biosecurity Month was a Huge Success!

Over 400 individuals took part in the various CSU Biosafety and Biosecurity Month events and activities!

Thank you for making October 2019 National Biosafety and Biosecurity Month the best one yet!

2019 Poster winners

It’s October 2019 National Biosafety and Biosecurity Month!

Here are a few things we have planned:

1. We are holding our first ever Biosafety and Biosecurity Fair on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 from 10:00am to 2:00pm in LSC Grand Ballroom AB. The purpose of this outreach event is to promote awareness and increase the visibility of biosafety and biosecurity in research, and as a profession by providing fun and educational hands-on activities for the Colorado State University research community. The target audience for this event is primarily those who are involved in research utilizing biohazardous materials, but all within the CSU campus are welcome to attend. Some of the activities we are planning include: Find the biosafety issue scavenger hunt; Biosafety Breakout (think escape room in a box); glo germ demonstration; Careers in Biosafety; Biosafety Quiz Show; What’s in Your Freezer?; PPE photo booth and more! The first 50 participants will receive a door prize! We hope that you will join us for this event!!  View the poster announcement here.

Biosafety & Biosecurity Fair poster

2. It’s time to renew your commitment to be RAM Safe by taking the RAM Safe Pledge! All individuals working, conducting, supporting, or administrating research play an essential role in research safety. It takes a community to be safe while conducting research.

  • Responsible: Each person understands their role and responsibilities to research safety, and the roles and responsibilities of others.
  • Accountable: Each person is accountable for their actions.
  • Mindful: Each person takes the time to understand the hazards and mitigate the risks associated with their research.

By following these guiding principles (Responsible, Accountable, Mindful) we can all be safe together. We encourage everyone to take the RAM Safe Pledge! The department that submits the most pledges will be awarded the traveling Golden Safety Goggles trophy to keep for one year. It was a tight race last year, and MIP walked away with the trophy. Who will be the winner this year?

Dr. Mark Zabel with the Golden Safety Goggles Trophey
Dr. Mark Zabel with the Golden Safety Goggles trophy

3. Once again, this year’s “Biosafety Stewardship” Poster Contest was highly competitive! We are excited to announce the winning poster by three Veterinary Students, Brooke MacNeill, Blaire MacNeill, and Rowan Seabolt. The winning poster can be viewed here and copies are being distributed around campus. If you would like additional copies, please contact: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu. Thank you to everyone who either submitted a poster or encouraged someone submit one!

4. October is also CSU “Clean out Your Lab Fridge and Freezer” Month. We urge you to take some time to clean out your laboratory refrigerators and freezers and to ensure your inventories are up to date.

Happy Biosafety and Biosecurity Month!!

CSU 2019 Biosafety Poster Contest

In accordance with October 2019 National Biosafety and Biosecurity Month, the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative, and CSU “Clean out Your Lab Fridge and Freezer” Month, we are holding our 5th Annual Poster Contest! This year’s contest is open to all biosafety related themes (for example, the importance of keeping lab fridges and/or freezers clean/well inventoried; proper PPE use; proper containment and/or disinfection of infectious agents; awareness of IBC approval requirements; promoting a culture of biosafety; or come up with your own).

Poster Requirements:

  • Eye grabbing graphics and catchy slogan
  • Poster size: 8.5×11 or 11×14
  • Image resolution: should be no less than 150 ppi on the final print
  • Submit PDF, along with contact info to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu
  • Submission deadline: September 20, 2019

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

View previous winning posters here

View the 2019 Biosafety Poster Contest Announcement here

Save the Date! CSU Biosafety and Biosecurity Fair!
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

In honor and celebration of October 2019 National Biosafety and Biosecurity Month we will be holding our first ever Biosafety and Biosecurity Fair on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 from 10:00am to 2:00pm in LSC Grand Ballroom AB. The purpose of this outreach event is to promote awareness and increase the visibility of biosafety and biosecurity in research, and as a profession by providing fun and educational hands-on activities for the Colorado State University research community. The target audience for this event is primarily those who are involved in research utilizing biohazardous materials, but all within the CSU campus are welcome to attend. Some of the activities we are planning include: Find the biosafety issue scavenger hunt; Biosafety Breakout (think escape room in a box); glo germ demonstration; Careers in Biosafety; Biosafety Quiz Show; Mini mock spill cleanup; PPE photo booth and more! There will also be food and prizes! We hope that you will join us for this event!!

If you have an idea for a fun biosafety/biosecurity activity or if you would like to volunteer to help out with this event, please contact: ricro_ibc@mail.colostate.edu

We Have Launched the Ram Safe Pledge

All individuals working or conducting research in the lab play an essential role in biosafety. Each person is responsible for their own personal safety by using the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), following specified procedures, and being properly trained. Everybody in the lab needs to be aware of the risks associated with their research (including use of biohazardous materials, agents and procedures). To be good stewards of biosafety, everyone must be mindful of how their actions in the lab impact those around them. By following these guiding principles (Responsible, Aware, Mindful) we can all be safe together. We encourage everyone to take the RAM Safe Pledge! A special recognition will be awarded to the department that submits the most pledges

The IBC Will Be Hosting a Meet & Greet

October 10th from 1:00p-1:30pm. Ever wonder who is on the Institutional Biosafety Committee and what the committee does? Please come and check us out! We welcome and encourage all IBC users (PIs, delegates, laboratory staff) to come join the IBC for some light refreshments and casual conversation. The event will be held at the Lory Student Center in the Grey Rock room 290. Hope to see you all there!!

Highly Competitive “Biosafety Stewardship” Poster Contest

We are excited to announce the winning poster by two MIP MS-B graduate students, Anneliese Detmer and Olivia Uzan.  View the winning poster. Copies are being distributed around campus. If you would like additional copies, please contact: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu. Thank you to everyone who either submitted a poster or encouraged someone submit one!

Anneliese Detmer and Olivia Uzan

October is CSU “Clean Out Your Lab Fridge and Freezer” Month

We urge you to take some time to clean out your laboratory refrigerators and freezers and to ensure your inventories are up to date. Let us know if you have any questions about any of these activities or any other IBC related issues.

Happy Biosafety Month!!

  • Christine M. Johnson, MS, RBP
  • Senior IBC Coordinator
  • Chaoping Chen
  • PhD Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Chair of Institutional Biosafety Committee

Poster Contest

August 20, 2018

In accordance with October 2018 National Biosafety Month, the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative, and CSU “Clean out Your Lab Fridge and Freezer” Month, we are holding our 4th Annual Poster Contest! This year’s contest is open to all biosafety related themes (for example, the importance of keeping lab fridges and/or freezers clean/well inventoried; proper PPE use; proper containment and/or disinfection of infectious agents; awareness of IBC approval requirements; promoting a culture of biosafety; or come up with your own).

Poster Requirements

  • Eye grabbing graphics and catchy slogan
  • Poster size: 8.5×11 or 11×14
  • Image resolution: should be no less than 150 ppi on the final print
  • Submit PDF, along with contact info to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu
  • Submission deadline: September 19, 2018

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.

Previous Winning Posters

October was National Biosafety Month and CSU “Clean out Your Freezer” Month!

November 11, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, the NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP) designated October as National Biosafety Month. National Biosafety Month (NBM) is a time for institutions to promote a greater awareness of the importance of biosafety, and to examine and strengthen their own biosafety programs. Each year the NIH has promoted a different theme for NBM. This year’s theme was “promoting biosafety through good governance.” Biosafety governance protects researchers, students, staff and the community. CSU has a robust biosafety governance structure providing oversight of campus research activities. This is facilitated at three levels:

  1. CSU, as an institution, has made a commitment to biosafety by developing and adopting institutional biosafety policies and procedures (CSU Biosafety Policy).
  2. The CSU Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) reviews and approves research involving biohazardous materials; the CSU Biosafety Office (BSO) advises on safety practices (including those research endeavors involving microbiologic agents at the Risk Group -1, -2 and -3 levels, and recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acid research) and conducts facilities inspections/audits.
  3. CSU researchers (of all levels, from the senior faculty to the undergraduates) share in fostering a culture of responsibility by knowing the requirements and guidelines, obtaining proper training, and reporting laboratory incidents.

The framework of biosafety oversight at CSU is reliant on these 3 tiers. While this framework is founded on federal regulations, guidelines, and policies, this tiered process demonstrates that a collaborative effort of everyone within the research community is required to make our University biosafety program successful.

Chaoping Chen, IBC Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, views our biosafety program as “a collective team effort from the principle investigators and research personnel at CSU, who are the front-runners of day to day research activities, along with the CSU oversight infrastructure, i.e., the IBC and BSO under the Vice President for Research (VPR), which has made CSU a safe place to make innovative and inspiring discoveries.”

As part of the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative which began in 2014, October was also “Clean out Your Freezer” month at CSU. What started as a call to action from NIH and USDA in response to a few incidents at the Federal level has turned into a yearly campaign at CSU to encourage researchers to keep laboratory freezers clean and inventories up to date.

“I am proud that CSU embraced the biosafety stewardship initiative as an opportunity to continue to foster a culture of thoughtful, responsive, local governance that would engage all 3 tiers, from the institution to the individual researcher, in an annual review of its processes and policies,” said Karen Dobos, Director of Research Integrity and Compliance Review Office (RICRO) and Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Pathology.

A poster contest has been held annually to engage the research community and help advertise “Clean out Your Freezer” Month at CSU. The contest is sponsored by RICROBSO and VPR, and calls upon participants to create a design that will bring attention to the importance of keeping laboratory freezers clean and inventoried, and to inspire people to take action. This year’s winning poster was submitted by Mary Nehring (photo attached), a Research Associate from Dr. VandeWoude’s Lab in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology. Mary’s poster, along with tips for cleaning and maintaining laboratory freezers can be found at the CSU Biosafety Stewardship Initiative webpage.

Bob Ellis, CSU Biosafety Director and Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Pathology, assures us all that “The Biosafety Office is ready and willing at any time to assist the CSU research community with their inquiries regarding ongoing laboratory biosafety. Biosafety stewardship is emphasized during October, but is a continuous effort to ensure we conduct our research safely, for the sake of our laboratory personnel, our CSU community and the community around us. You can contact the Biosafety Office at any time by calling 491-0270.”

Although another successful National Biosafety Month has come to an end, our efforts to improve our biosafety program continue throughout the year. Have an interest in biosafety? Want to help promote biosafety awareness? To find out ways to get involved contact: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu or visit our contact page.

Poster Contest Winner!!

October 5, 2017

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 Mary Nehring, a Research Associate from the VandeWoude Lab in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology. Please join me in thanking and congratulating her for her efforts. Click here to view her awesome poster!

I now urge you to continue to be good stewards of biosafety and to clean out your laboratory freezers and update the inventory. More information on things to consider while cleaning out your freezer can be found below. Questions or concerns should be sent to: RICRO_IBC@mail.colostate.edu.

Additionally, October is National Biosafety Month! For the fourth consecutive year, the NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP) has designated October as National Biosafety Month. This year, the theme is “promoting biosafety through good governance.” Biosafety governance protects researchers, students, staff and the community. Stay tuned for more information regarding National Biosafety Month and our plans to review and promote biosafety governance at CSU.

Best regards,

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

2017 poster contest winner

Poster Contest

September 13, 2017

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: extended to September 29, 2017

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.

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.

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

Poster Contest

July 29, 2016

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.

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

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!!!

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

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