Biological Security / Select Agents and Toxins

Biological security or biosecurity is the protection of microbial agents and research-related information from theft, loss, diversion or intentional misuse. While biosecurity includes the physical security of items, it also includes security for information stored on computers and other electronic devices.  

In general, all laboratory personnel are responsible for

  • controlling access to areas where hazardous materials are used and stored

  • knowing who is in the laboratory and asking for identification if unsure

  • knowing what materials are brought into and removed from the laboratory

  • reporting any undocumented visitors, missing biological, chemical or radioactive materials, unusual or threatening phone calls, etc. to the laboratory supervisor, EH&S and DPS

Section VI of the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (PDF) addresses biosecurity. 

Select Agents and Toxins

Before research may proceed, any principal investigator (PI) who intends to use, transfer, or store Select Agents and Toxins must first contact the Responsible Official (RO) in the Department of Environmental Health and Safety in order to register personnel and facilities. A security risk assessment of personnel and facilities will be conducted. After the registration and risk assessment have been submitted to the Federal Select Agent program, an inspection may be performed by the APHIS and/or CDC.

Any PI who is in possession of less than the aggregate amount of toxin required to register with the Federal Select Agent program must contact the RO to discuss ISU’s requirements to have an exempt amount of toxin.

Clinical or diagnostic laboratories are exempt from registration with the federal Select Agent program if the identification of such agents or toxins is immediately reported to APHIS or CDC. Within seven days after identification, the agents must be transferred or inactivated. The laboratory director is responsible for notifying the appropriate authorities.