Biosafety Program

The Biosafety Program provides guidance for those who work with biological agents to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. Oversight includes:

  • Identification of biological materials being used
  • Evaluation of the usage procedures 
  • Design of programs to eliminate exposure or contamination
  • Review of program effectiveness 
  • Registration for use of biological agents and biohazardous materials
  • Management of safety-engineered sharps devices
  • Guidelines for biological waste disposal

For more info on the Biosafety Program refer to Section V - Biosafety of the University Safety Manual.


The U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA) have regulations for the possession, use, and transfer of select biological agents and toxins that could pose a threat to human, animal, and plant health and safety. 

The regulations establish a registration process for facilities possessing select agents and toxins, safety- and physical-security compliance requirements, exemption criteria, and restrictions upon persons eligible to be granted access to a select agent or toxin in accordance with the USA PATRIOT Act.  

A complete list of select agents and genetic elements regulated under the Federal Select Agent Program is available.

EH&S coordinates the Select Agent Program for the University of Pittsburgh.    

Investigators that possess, use, or transfer any Select Agent at Pitt must be registered with EH&S and possibly the Federal Select Agent Program.  Registration is mandatory. 

Violations of the Select Agent Regulations can result in Federal civil and criminal penalties, including imprisonment and/or fines.

Investigators working with Select Agent Toxins may be exempt from Federal registration based on the quantities in their possession. These investigators must still be registered with EH&S and comply with the following Guidelines for Working with Select Agent Toxins (PDF). Refer to the Guideline on the Select Agent Program for details on registration, acquiring, or destroying select agents. 

For additional information about the Select Agent Program contact the University Biosafety Officer at 412-624-8919 or visit the Federal Select Agent Program Website.  


 University Biohazards Committee

Biohazards Committee Members and Responsibility

Institutional Animal Care And Use Committee (IACUC)

Visit the IACUC Website

University of Pittsburgh Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) 

Visit the IBC Website