Biological and biomedical research offers great opportunities for a better understanding of biological mechanisms and pathways that lead to targeted and more effective therapies for diseases and harmful conditions. Often, this research involves the use of recombinant DNA, infectious agents, and other potentially hazardous biologicals and chemicals that pose risks to our safety. Working at an appropriate biosafety containment level and with the appropriate safety precautions is essential for mitigating those risks. The University of Bridgeport (UB) is committed to adhering to the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules and all pertinent requirements for research involving:

  1. Recombinant DNA
  2. Synthetic nucleotides
  3. Infectious agents (pathogens)
  4. Biological toxins
  5. Nanotechnology
  6. Human and non-human derived materials
  7. Risk group agents
  8. Dual use research

Therefore, UB IBC’s primary responsibility is to work with the UB research community to ensure that research involving the criteria described above is carried out accordingly.

NIH Guidelines

UB researchers who propose to conduct research with materials or agents listed above are required to submit an application to the IBC for review and approval prior to initiating the proposed research.

Submit the UB IBC Application Form to or call 203-576-4399 with questions.

About the Committee:

As mandated by the NIH Guidelines, UB’s IBC is responsible for assessing the biosafety containment level for research involving recombinant DNA, synthetic nucleic acid molecules and other potentially hazardous biologics. The UB IBC currently oversees proposed research involving:

  • Recombinant DNA and synthetic nucleic acid (SNA) molecules
  • Infectious agents (Pathogens)
  • Biological toxins
  • Nanothechnology
  • Human and non-human derived materials
  • Federally-regulated Select Agents, experiments with Dual Use Research of Concern potential, and research requiring BSL3 containment

Scope of IBC Authority:

The IBC has jurisdiction over research occurring at UB that includes materials and agents listed above. The IBC reports to the Senior Vice President of Graduate Studies and Research, who has authority over this compliance area at UB, including appointment authority to the committee.

Tarek Sobh, Ph.D., Institutional Official
Senior Vice President of Graduate Studies and Research
Dean, School of Engineering


Current IBC Members (list effective September 1, 2017):

Ruba S. Deeb, Ph.D., Chair
Director of Biomedical Research Development
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Technology Management
Expertise: Stem cell research, Pathology and inflammation, Biohazardous materials


Fred Ferraro, M.Sc., Vice-Chair
Manager, Collaborative Biomedical Research Center
Manager, Department of Biology
Expertise: BSL2 organisms registration, BSL2 physical containment and safety, OSHA HAZWOPER certification


Stergios Bibis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Biology
Expertise: Microbiology, Molecular biology


David Burton, Ph.D.
Director, Physical Sciences Laboratory and Chemistry
Expertise: Biohazardous chemical materials, Storage, containment, and waste management. Implementing safety regulations in science labs.


Kathleen Engelmann, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Chair, Biology
Expertise: Plant biology, Ecology, Evolutionary biology


Prabir Patra, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Biomedical Engineering
Expertise: Nanotechnology, Biologically-inspired nanomaterials


Lesley Frame, Ph.D. External Member
Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering Department
(University of Connecticut)
Expertise: Materials science, Environmental risk and public health


Christine Hempowicz, Ed.D., CRA
Director, Office of Sponsored Research and Programs
Coordinator: IRB
Expertise: Research compliance, Responsible research conduct


Elif Kongar, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Technology Management
Expertise: Waste containment and recovery, Environmentally-conscious manufacturing


Adrienne Betz, Ph.D., External Member
Associate Professor
(Quinnipiac University)
Expertise: Neuroscience research methods, Drugs, brain, and behavior


Marilyn Pearson, M.A., External Member
Science Teacher
Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet School
Expertise: Molecular biology, Cell Biology, Ecology


Researcher Roles & Responsibilities:

Principal investigators or project directors at UB are responsible for:

  • Understanding the requirements governing research involving potentially hazardous biologics, including recombinant DNA and SNA (synthetic nucleic acids), infectious agents, and biological toxins.
  • Submitting an IBC application to secure required approval for all research involving recombinant DNA or SNA before beginning the project.
  • Amending the approved IBC application prior to implementing changes to the research.
  • Ensuring that all laboratory personnel have received the required training for the work they will perform.
  • Adhering to and promoting applicable bio safety procedures that include ensuring the use of proper microbiological practices and laboratory techniques at the approved bio safety level
  • Fulfilling any additional PI/PD responsibilities as detailed in Section IV-B-7 of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (link is external).

UB IBC meetings are open to the public. UB reserves the right to hold executive sessions during IBC meetings that are not open to the public.

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