Biological Agents

Research conducted at WCM involving etiological agents or recombinant DNA is reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Each principal investigator in charge of a laboratory must submit a Laboratory Safety Registration for research involving biological agents. This registration provides a standardized submission process for principal investigators to meet the federal, state and local laboratory safety requirements.

Biological agents include organisms that can cause disease in humans, or cause significant environmental or agricultural impact, such as:

  • bacteria
  • viruses
  • parasites
  • prions
  • fungi
  • human or primate tissues, fluids, cells, or cell cultures/lines
  • recombinant DNA (rDNA)
    • vectors
    • transgenic animals/plants
    • human gene transfer/studies using rDNA

Appendix B of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules includes those biological agents known to infect humans as well as selected animal agents that may pose theoretical risks if inoculated into humans.

The CDC/NIH publication BMBL includes agent summary statements that describe the hazards, recommended precautions, and levels of containment appropriate for handling specific human and zoonotic pathogens, in the laboratory and in facilities that house laboratory vertebrate animals.

Related Links

Contact Us

Go to the staff directory for individual contacts within EHS. You may also use the Weill Cornell Medicine online directory to search for faculty and staff.

Create an EHS Incident


Weill Cornell Medicine Environmental Health and Safety 402 East 67th Street
Room LA-0020
New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-7233 Fax: (646) 962-0288