Public Welcomed to Institutional Biosafety Committee Open Meeting September 22, 2012

North Grafton, MA, September 10, 2012

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University welcomes the public to an open meeting of its Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) on Saturday, September 22, 2012 from 11 a.m. to noon in the second-floor quiet lounge of the Agnes Varis Campus Center at 5 Jumbo's Path in Grafton during the school's Open House celebration.

Scheduled topics of discussion, with opportunities to ask questions, include the IBC's role in oversight of research activities at the Cummings School, a run-through of a typical meeting and the role of community members in the committee.

The school's Associate Dean for Research, Sawkat Anwer, DMVH, PhD, will also provide an overview of current research activities at the school, while Sam R. Telford, professor of biomedical sciences, will share his perspective as an infectious diseases researcher at the school and especially in relation to West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

Stephen Larson, Tufts University's director of environmental health and safety, will share how protocols approved by the IBC are monitored and enforced after approval.

In accordance with the NIH Recombinant DNA Guidelines, Tufts' University formed an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) that is responsible for the review and approval of recombinant DNA (rDNA) and infectious agent use. Committee members have extensive experience in the areas of infectious disease, molecular biology, physical containment, research animals and biosafety, as well as regulatory and policy issues.

"Tufts abides by stringent guidelines for our research to ensure the safety of the community, the well-being of animals and humans alike, and the highest quality output possible," said Dr. Anwer. "Increasing the public's understanding of this research is a major goal of the school's, and this open meeting of the IBC is one of the many ways we try to do so."

In 2005, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine formed an IBC based in Grafton to focus specifically on rDNA and infectious agent research on the Cummings School campus. In 2006, the Cummings School IBC registered with NIH and, in March 2007, this IBC assumed responsibility for the rDNA and infectious agent research done at the Grafton campus.

Membership on the Grafton IBC includes individuals nominated by the Cummings School and two members of the Grafton community nominated by the Board of Selectmen. A third Grafton community member may also serve as an alternate IBC member. Beginning in 2008, the Grafton Board of Health Agent was also designated an ex officio member of the Grafton IBC. All members are approved by the Vice Provost's office at Tufts University.

This year's open meeting is the fourth since 2009. Cummings School officials moved the meeting to the fall to coincide with the school.s annual Open House, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on September 22.

For more information on the Institutional Biosafety Committee, please visit www.tufts.edu/vet/ne-rbl/community/institutional_biosafety_committee.html.


About the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, MA, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is known for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; five hospitals that treat over 30,000 cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public and environmental health.