VCU's regulatory committees are charged with ensuring all research conforms to the highest standards of integrity, ethics and professional responsibility. Researchers must comply with government regulations and the latest university policies and guidelines for the protection of human and animal research subjects, scientific conduct and laboratory safety. Education about these requirements is provided for researchers and students on a regular basis.
The IACUC comprises members representing university faculty (scientists experienced in research with animals), veterinarians with training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, nonscientists whose primary concerns are in nonscientific areas, and community/non-affiliated members. The IACUC is typically scheduled to meet twice a month. The second Wednesday of each month is normally scheduled for protocol reviews. The third Wednesday of each month usually conducts the program review or facility inspection.
The VCU IACUC is responsible for oversight of the animal care and use program and its components as described in the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Policy) and the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide). Its oversight functions include an ongoing assessment of animal care and use.
IACUC responsibilities include:
- Review, at least semiannually, VCU's animal care and use program for the humane care and use of animals
- Inspect, at least semiannually, VCU's animal facilities (including satellite facilities)
- Prepare reports to the Institutional Official (IO, currently VCU’s IO is Dr. P. Srirama Rao, Vice President for Research and Innovation) of the IACUC evaluations, including program reviews and facility inspections
- Review animal welfare concerns
- Make recommendations to the IO on any aspect of the animal program, facilities, or personnel training
- Review and approve, those components of PHS conducted or supported activities related to the care and use of animals
- Review and approve, proposed significant changes to the use of animals in ongoing activities
- Be authorized to suspend an activity involving animals
Complete information on IACUC policies and procedures can be found on the Animal research webpage.
Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) are the cornerstone of institutional oversight of recombinant DNA research. – NIH Office of Science Policy
VCU’s IBC regularly meets to review proposed research or work to be conducted at or on behalf of the university that involves recombinant/synthetic DNA (rDNA). In addition to rDNA research, the IBC reviews and approves MUAs for research that is in compliance with NIH Guidelines, and that can safely be performed at VCU involving select agents; certain human, plant, and animal pathogens and biological toxins; clinical trials involving any administration of rDNA and/or pathogens to human subjects; or other research projects conducted at or on behalf of the university which are deemed, by the Biosafety Office, to require IBC oversight. IBC's charter information.
- CITI Training Modules
CITI login instructions
- From the main menu select “Add a course or Update Learner Groups”
- Click the appropriate radio button for Question 12
- When you exit the screen your new course(s) will be available
- NIH Recombinant Advisory Committee (RAC) Revisions Factsheet
- NIH Guidelines
- Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL)
- Centrifuging of biohazardous materials
- Cleanup of large biohazardous spills
- Cleanup of biohazardous spill in biological safety cabinet (BSC)
- Exposure/Incident reporting and reporting procedures
- Handling infectious/human samples-FACS aria
- Live imaging of potentially biohazardous live samples
- Percutaneous hazards
- Vacuum system operation involving biohazardous materials
- VCU Biosafety Manual
- VCU Select Agent information
- VCU lab safety training modules
- Log in to Blackboard
- Select the “Organizations” tab at the top
- Type “Chemical Safety” into the “Organization Search” box
Assistant biosafety officer
The Institutional Review Entity (IRE) reviews any research or work conducted at, or on behalf of the University that involves one of the 15 agents/toxins designated as Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) agents/toxins by United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. The IRE operates as a subcommittee of the IBC.
The Institutional Review Board is a key component of VCU’s Human Research Protection Program.
VCU’s IRB consists of faculty, students, and staff representing faculty from both campuses. Membership expertise includes scientists (biomedical and social behavioral), nonscientists, and unaffiliated members.
Federal human research regulations (45 CFR 46.107, 21 CFR 56.107) require IRBs to include at least one member whose primary concerns are in scientific areas. Scientific expertise is vital to ensure that studies minimize risks to research participants through sound research design and, whenever appropriate, procedures already performed for diagnostic or treatment purposes (45 CFR 46.111, 21 CFR 56.111).
Nonscientist and unaffiliated members
Federal human research regulations (45 CFR 46.107, 21 CFR 56.107) require IRBs to include at least one member whose primary concerns are in nonscientific areas. Community participation on the IRB is vital as these members review research from a nonscientific lens, sharing community and cultural perspectives in reviewing research. Unaffiliated members serving on the University’s IRB are not affiliated with the Virginia Commonwealth University or VCU Health System.
Service on the IRB is vital to supporting the research mission of the University and the protection of participants in that research. The IRB draws members both from the University and its affiliates, as well as the external community.
Protocol submission and instructions
Complete information on protocol preparation and submission and meeting information can be found on the Human Subjects website.
The LSC meets periodically to provide oversight, review metrics and make recommendations to improve laboratory safety and maintain a positive safety culture at VCU. The committee focuses on overall accident and injury reduction, chemical safety and physical hazards. It fills the space between VCU’s Radiation Safety Committee and Biosafety Committee. The LSC also evaluates safety in other areas that are grant funded and academic in nature, including art safety, field research safety, teaching labs, and machine/shop safety. Additional concerns identified by Environmental Health and Safety may be brought to the committee for review. The LSC has representation from all Schools and Colleges on campus and is chaired by a senior faculty member at VCU.
Important documents and forms
- ACS Green Chemistry Institute
- American Chemical Society (ACS): Chemical and Laboratory Safety
- ACS Hazard Assessment in Research Laboratories (online tool on how to conduct a risk assessment in a laboratory)
- OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Laboratories
- OSHA Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories
- Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA)
- Safety Training Consortium
- University of California (UC) Center for Laboratory Safety
- UCLA PPE Selection Guide Assessment Tool
- Lab Safety Workspace: Lab Safety for Scientists (free online training)
As required by Commonwealth of Virginia regulations, the RSC meets quarterly. One of its primary responsibilities is to evaluate new users and new uses of radioactive material. This includes evaluating the training and experience of applicants who request authorization to use radioactive material at the facility, using criteria developed by the RSC. The committee is also responsible for reviewing personnel dosimetry data, discussing the results of required radiation surveys, and any significant incidents, including spills, contamination, medical events, etc. The RSC is required to review the radiation safety program every 12 months for maintaining doses As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) and providing any necessary recommendations to ensure doses are ALARA. The overall compliance status for authorized users and all uses of radioactive material is also thoroughly reviewed. The RSC, working with the executive management, shares responsibility with the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) for conducting periodic audits of the radiation safety program and providing oversight and regulatory compliance of all uses of radioactive material at VCU and VCU Health. Additionally, the Committee reviews any consultant's audit findings and acts upon those findings. The RSC has representation from both the research and clinical areas of radioactive materials use and is chaired by a senior faculty member at VCU or VCU Health.
Important documents and forms
When you fly a drone in the United States, it is your responsibility to understand and abide by the rules.
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones,” may be used for a variety of purposes, including Public Uses, Civil Uses (such as research and instruction), and recreation. Using a UAS requires familiarity with various regulations, an understanding of the public’s privacy and safety concerns, and knowledge of how to operate a UAS.
This page contains basic resources for drone pilots and enthusiasts at VCU. Drones must be operated safely; in compliance with the applicable federal, state, and local regulations; and in compliance with VCU’s University Related Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Policy.
VCU specific resources