Biosafety at Memorial


A biologically hazardous material or agent (“biohazard”) is defined as an organism or the component of an organism that poses a health risk to humans, animals or plants.

At Memorial University, this includes:

• Viruses, fungi, parasites, bacteria.
• Toxic metabolite products of virus, fungi, parasites & bacteria (microbial toxins).
• Cell lines and other tissue culture.
• Fixed and unfixed tissues and tissue specimens from non-human primates and humans.
• Cells, blood and body fluids from non-human primates and humans.
• Nucleic acids derived from pathogens, human oncogenes, and transformed cell lines.
• Zoonotic agents.
• Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), which includes genetically altered plants.
• Plant pathogens and pests (i.e. viruses, bacteria, nematodes, etc.).
• Prions.
• Wild animals, including cells, tissues and body fluids.

IMPORTANT: If you are a researcher who works with any of the biohazards listed above, regardless of their Risk Group (RG), you will require biosafety clearance in the form of a Biosafety Certificate approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

 The Biological Safety Officer (BSO) administers MUN’s Biosafety Program (BSP) on behalf of the IBC. Research granting agencies require that all research or operations involving biohazardous materials is monitored by an IBC. Memorial's IBC oversees all research involving biohazardous materials regardless of the risk group (RG1, 2 and 3).

At MUN, the IBC reviews all requests to use biohazards and issues internal biosafety certificates to successful applicants. Persons wishing to work with biohazardous agents must submit an application to the IBC and receive a biosafety certificate number prior to the commencement of work.

Other services performed include:

  • Regulatory licensing at all allowable Risk Groups (RG1, 2 and 3).
  • Inspection of facilities where biohazardous materials are used and stored,
  • Monitoring of laboratory procedures that use biohazardous materials and;
  • Provision of instructional programs in biological safety.

 For more information on Memorial Univeristy's biosafety program, contact the Biological Safety Officer (BSO) at 709-864-8250 or e-mail

Biosafety Program