Institutional Biosafety Committee

The MSU Institutional Biosafety Committee acts as the institutional review body for all research activities involving the use of recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules as required and outlined in the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines). The primary charge of the IBC was to review the research proposals using the NIH Guidelines as a minimum standard. The purpose of the NIH Guidelines and the IBC review process was to provide researchers with guidance for conducting these studies in a manner that minimized exposure risk for research personnel and the environment at large. As a part of this review, the committee must determine if the Principal Investigator has set the appropriate biosafety level (BSL), evaluate the category of review, methods to be used in the research projects, training records for personnel involved, and other aspects of the project.

Over the years, the role of IBCs in the university setting has expanded to include areas such as research use of human and animal cells, infectious agents, select agents, and toxins. The role continues to increase as research evolves to include dual use, stem cells, and more complicated BSL-2 projects.

The MSU Institutional Biosafety Committee membership and mission has been revised to meet the changing needs of the MSU research community. In addition to recombinant DNA reviews, the committee may provide guidance and assistance on matters such as animal and plant research containment facilities, use of infectious agents, accreditation issues, and emergency response.

The IBC meets on a monthly basis to discuss and review current projects. These meetings are open to the public. If you would like to attend a meeting, contact Jamie Willard-Smith, Ph.D. or John Gerlach for more information and a schedule.

Institutional Biosafety Committee Roster

Michael H. Bachmann, M.D., Sc.D.
Associate Professor, Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, MSU

Dr. Bachmann studied medicine in Germany and the U.K., and did his doctoral work on the molecular epidemiology of human and feline immunodeficiency viruses at the Harvard University School of Public Health. His laboratory at MSU is 1) focussing on the molecular genetics of cancer immunity and transplantation tolerance, and 2) developing novel agents to overcome antimicrobial resistance. For the molecular genetic studies his lab employs transposons for gene transfer and knockout in mouse models of cancer and transplantation. All of these biological processes are monitored in real time with highly sensitive bioluminescence imaging, which increases the data obtained per animal and greatly facilitates the analysis.

Hans Cheng
Supervisory Research Geneticist, Avian Disease & Oncology Laboratory

Dr. Cheng is the lead scientist of a research program focused on identifying the genetic and immunological basis for resistance to Marek's disease in chickens.  His lab develops a number of genomic reagents as well as recombinant DNA viruses in order to better understand the virus-host interaction.

Elena Demireva, PhD, IBC Chairperson
Research Specialist
Office of Vice President for Research & Innovation
Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering

Dr. Demireva is the co-director of MSU’s Transgenic and Genome Editing Facility (TGEF), where she is responsible for the Molecular Services Program. TGEF collaborates with researchers to develop transgenic and genome edited organisms by providing support at all stages of the genome editing work process from target strategy to generation of transgenic systems. Dr. Demireva obtained her HBSc in Molecular Biology and Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto. She joined Columbia University’s Center for Neurobiology and Behavior for her PhD work in neuroscience, where she studied the molecular determinants of motor circuit assembly in the developing spinal cord. She went on to apply her molecular and circuit neurobiology skills to translational studies of psychiatric disease mouse models for her post-doctoral work at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University.

Dr. Demireva’s multidisciplinary background and expertise in molecular biology, genetics, development and neuroscience, is the foundation of TGEF’s consulting services, which include assistance with grant and manuscript editing, gene targeting strategies and experimental design, as well as detailed technical expertise in molecular genetics and genome editing.

Scott Counts
Associate Professor, Translation Science & Molecular Medicine

Dr. Counts was recruited to Michigan State University as an Associate Professor of Translational Science and Molecular Medicine (primary) and Family Medicine (secondary) at the Grand Rapids campus. The goal of Dr. Counts’ research is to understand the molecular pathogenic mechanisms of selective neuronal vulnerability in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Frances Pouch Downes
Professor, Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program

Dr. Downes's general research interests are development of diagnostic tools for emerging infectious diseases and newborn screening; and development of the evidence basis for practices used in public health and clinical laboratory practice.

Sarah Godbehere Roosa, Lab Representative Member
Research Technologist II, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Research Technician in the Amalfitano lab where they study the host-vector innate and adaptive immune responses to adenovirus. They use adenovirus as a gene transfer vector in the development of vaccines for malaria and HIV as well as understanding the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis.

Rebecca Grumet
Professor, Horticulture

Dr. Grumet studies plant-virus interactions in cucurbits (cucumbers and melons). She is trying to develop plants that are resistant to certain diseases as well as understand the genetic mechanisms that control flower and fruit production.

András Komáromy
Associate Professor, Small Animal Clinical Sciences

Dr. András Komáromy is a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist and associate professor at the Michigan State University (MSU). As a clinician-scientist he has a special interest in the study of molecular and cellular disease mechanisms involved in blinding retinal and optic nerve diseases. He is involved in the pre-clinical work for a number of viral-mediated ocular gene therapies. Dr. Komáromy received his veterinary degree (1993) and doctorate (1996) at the University of Zurich. Following his internship in medicine and surgery at MSU (1995/96), he performed his graduate work (PhD 2002) and residency (2000-03) at the University of Florida. He was a post-doctoral fellow (2003-04) and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the faculty at MSU in 2012.

L. Karl Olson
Professor, Physiology

Dr. Olson's work is in the area of molecular endocrinology. Specifically his work centers around the chemical-induced alterations of the regulation of pancreatic islet B cell physiology and signal transduction. Educational Background: University of Minnesota, Ph.D., Pharmacology, 1991. Dr. Olson holds memberships in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Diabetes Association, the Endocrine Society, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.

Simon Petersen-Jones
Professor, Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Myers-Dunlap Endowed Chair in Canine Health

Research Interests include: Hereditary Eye Disease, Retinal Dystrophies, Therapies for Retinal Dystrophies

Guo-qing Song
Associate Professor and Associate Director of PBROC
Department of Horticulture

Dr. Song oversees the activities of the Plant Biotechnology Resource and Outreach Center (PBROC) of Michigan State University. He conducts genetic engineering and plant transformation research for specialty crop in Michigan. His research interest is to improve horticultural crops for high yield using new biotechnology tools. The PBROC has developed and improved transformation protocols using either Agrobacterium- or biolistic-mediated transformation for more than 20 plant species. The PBROC provides MSU scientists and students with consultation, services, supplies, equipment, and training for introducing genes into plants using state-of-the-art method.

Patrick Venta, IBC Co-Chairperson
Associate Professor, Small Animal Clinical Sciences

Dr. Venta is trained in human molecular genetics (Ph.D., Human Genetics, University of Michigan, 1983). He has experience in the isolation of mammalian genomic and cDNA recombinant DNA clones since 1980. He also has experience in bacterial and mammalian recombinant DNA expression systems for normal and mutant mammalian genes.

Jamie Sue Willard
Biological Safety Officer
Select Agent Responsible Official

Dr. Willard, in conjunction with other EHS Bioteam members, specializes in biosafety and biosecurity for the MSU campus at large. In terms of recombinant DNA research, she and her team review all registrations to determine adequacy of containment and other biosafety/biosecurity related concerns including training, inspections and exposure response.

Community Representatives

Carrie Anglewicz
Carrie Anglewicz is the Biosafety Officer, State Training Coordinator and Alternate Responsible Official for the Tier 1 select agent program at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Laboratories. Her focus is on enhancing laboratory safety in public health and clinical laboratories in Michigan with an emphasis on preparing for novel epidemics/pandemics. Carrie has also consulted with several university laboratories to prevent laboratory acquired infections.

Judith Kloss Smith
Laboratory Scientist Specialist, Michigan Department of Community Health

Ms. Smith is the Laboratory Health and Safety Officer for the Michigan Department of Community Health Bureau of Laboratories. Her responsibilities include leading the laboratories Health and Safety program in addition to serving as the Responsible Official for the Tier 1 Select Agent and Toxin Program. In this capacity she has oversight for the laboratories biosafety, biosecurity, chemical and radiological safety.

Ex-Officio Members

Kevin Eisenbeis
Director, Environmental Health and Safety

J.R. Haywood
Assistant Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Theresa Kelley
Assistant General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel

David Weismantel
University Physician, Olin Health Center