DePaul University Research Services > Research Protections > Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) > Risk Group/Biosafety
Assessing risk is ultimately a subjective process. The investigator must make an initial risk assessment based on the risk group of the agent(s) being utilized in the activity. There are 4 risk groups as identified by The NIH Guidelines, according to their relative pathogenicity for healthy adult humans. DePaul University currently can only support research with Risk Group 1 or 2 agents.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and NIH have established four levels that provide a combination of laboratory practices and techniques, containment or safety equipment, laboratory design, and laboratory facilities that are appropriate to the type of activity being performed and based on the potential hazard of the agent being used. The levels are designated in ascending order, by the degree of protection provided to personnel, the environment, and the community. Biosafety levels were created to represent the conditions under which the agent ordinarily can be safely handled. The four biosafety levels are described below. Generally, biological safety cabinets are not required for Risk Group 1 research. At this time, research and teaching activities at DePaul University can only involve agents requiring BSL1 & BSL2 containment procedures.