Office of Biotechnology Activities Oversight

Promoting Safety and Ethics in Biological Research

The Office of Biotechnology Activities Oversight (OBAO) aims to promote science, safety, and ethics in biological research at the University of Minnesota. OBAO provides administrative support to the University community and the committees responsible for oversight:

  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)
  • Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) Panel
  • Human Gene Transfer (HGT)
  • Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) - Institutional Review Entity (IRE)
  • Fetal Tissue Research (FTR) Committee

OBAO is located on the Twin Cities campus, but supports oversight of applicable research and teaching activities on all campuses (Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester) as well as at the University's Hormel Institute in Austin, MN.

Collaborating Units

OBAO assists, collaborates, and communicates with other groups at the University of Minnesota, including those in the Research and Innovation Office (RIO). In addition, biosafety at the University of Minnesota is a partnership of the IBC with Health, Safety, and Risk Management (HSRM).

RIO Units

  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC): Coordinates review of research involving animals.
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB): Coordinates review of research involving human subjects.
  • Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA): Assists faculty in submitting proposals and obtaining grants while also ensuring they meet internal and external requirements (IRB, IBC, Regents Policy, Conflict of Interest, etc.). Sponsored funding will not be released unless all required approvals have been obtained.

University Services

  • Health, Safety, and Risk Management (HSRM): HSRM assesses the University’s physical environment to ensure safe and healthy working and living conditions. HSRM is a multi-department group at the University that includes the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Department of Environmental Health and Safety (DEHS), and more. HSRM establishes many requirements for laboratory safety and performs inspections.

If you have questions pertaining to any units that collaborate with the OBAO, contact us.