Biosafety Office becomes part of Vice President for Research division

The Colorado State University Biosafety Office (BSO) – previously housed in Environmental Health Services, which reports to the Vice President for University Operations – has moved to the Office of the Vice President for Research, effective Jan. 1.

The oversight and most of the training for CSU research involving infectious microorganisms and recombinant and synthetic nucleic acids is conducted by the BSO. The BSO has the responsibility to ensure that such research is conducted according to university and national standards and regulations.

“This move will allow CSU to harmonize and improve efficiencies in the regulatory compliance of our research portfolio. The change will also position Colorado State to undertake new biosafety research initiatives at the national level,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research. “I look forward to working with BSO staff to facilitate innovative infectious diseases research while maintaining the highest ethical standards.”

Continued collaboration with University Operations

Charged with overseeing research biosafety activities, Robert Ellis, director of the BSO, works closely with the university Institutional Biosafety Committee. The BSO will continue to collaborate with Environmental Health Services and University Operations. “The main goals of the Biosafety Office are to work with the Colorado State research community to ensure that our research is conducted safely,” Ellis said.  “Such research has a significant positive impact locally, nationally and globally through the development of better treatments, better vaccines for disease prevention, and other overall health improvements for humans, animals and plants.”

Safety protocols

The BSO establishes protocols for safety and security in campus research laboratories that investigate bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents with the goal to prevent, treat and cure significant global diseases. These diseases often affect people, animals and plants worldwide and include tuberculosis, dengue fever, West Nile virus, equine encephalitis, malaria, plague, rabies, tularemia, rice diseases and many others.

Among other duties, the BSO assists the research community to prevent exposure to materials that are held in Biosafety Level 3 labs and could pose a threat to animal and human health. This laboratory space reflects the highest Biosafety Level at CSU and is mainly at research facilities on the Foothills Campus.