Research & Biosafety Specialist - University of Washington, Environmental Health & Safety Department


CLOSING DATE: open until filled


JOB #: 18520

POSTED: March 15, 2022


Environmental Health & Safety has an outstanding opportunity for a(n) Research and Biosafety Specialist.

The Research and Biosafety Specialist provides Institutional Biosafety Support for a comprehensive, university-wide biosafety program to assure regulatory compliance and protection of faculty, staff, students, and the community. This position is essential for the support of the university’s research. This position must exercise significant judgment, discretion, risk management, and professional expertise in the interpretation and application of federal, state, local, and University policies, protocols, and regulations.

This position requires thorough knowledge of federal and state regulations, as well as funding agency guidelines related to the use of biological agents and recombinant DNA in a research setting. Requires expertise in Biosafety Level 1 and 2 (BSL-1 and BSL-2) containment and practices and potentially Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) containment and practices. Must interface effectively with Office of Animal Welfare, IACUC, Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), Human Subjects Division, principal investigators, other research staff, animal care staff, and topical experts.

This position is responsible for the review and approval of complex research projects which may involve significant hazards and which require compliance with many complex regulations, such as NIH, CDC, and funder sponsor driven environmental health and safety specifications. This position has authority on behalf of the IBC and includes new projects, three year renewals and significant changes in coordination with Human Subjects Division, IACUC and other UW authorities. This position is responsible for developing a compliant and effective biosafety program as well as implementation processes. This position is integral to the University’s research enterprise. Compliance with the NIH Recombinant DNA guidelines is critical to maintaining the federal funding the University receives. Compliance with guidelines governing infectious agents is critical to the protection of the community, public and employee health, as well as the protection of the University’s image. The biosafety officer is integral to this compliance.


On behalf of the UW Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC): evaluate, review, and approve research proposals, laboratory operations, and laboratory facilities for all aspects of biosafety to assure appropriate safety controls, containment, and compliance with CDC, NIH, and federal, state, local, and University requirements. Includes review of scientific materials, complex projects, and field inspections/audits of research involving: biological agents, biotoxins, recombinant DNA, human gene therapy and clinical trials, IACUC animal protocols, etc. Review facility designs for new and existing facilities and laboratories where biological agents and recombinant DNA are used.

Develop and Support the Biosafety Program: Develop and implement policies, procedures, and processes required for the implementation of an effective, compliant, and efficient biosafety program. Provide regulatory/compliance interpretations and technical assistance to research and service units. Develop and provide educational materials, trainings and communications/outreach materials. Work closely with research staff, faculty, students, university units, and institutional committees to promote safe laboratory practices, procedures, proper use of containment equipment and facilities, and the assurance of safety, biosecurity, and regulatory compliance. Conduct compliance audits, identify corrective actions, prepare written status and compliance reports. Provide reports on biosafety status, issues, compliance and program effectiveness to the Institutional Biosafety Committee and management. Respond to, investigate, and follow up with biological safety incidents. Serve on institutional committees as assigned.

Requirements include:

• Bachelor’s degree in biology, microbiology, environmental health, public health or a related field.
• Four years of professional experience in biological safety programs; knowledge of federal, state, and local requirements that govern biosafety, lab safety, infectious waste management.
• Demonstrated teamwork, client service, and decision-making skills, and ability to foster collegial and cooperative relationships with co-workers and clients. Requires exceptional written and oral communication skills in working with administrators, employees, research departments, health and safety staff, and regulatory agencies.
• Exceptional problem solving and risk assessment skills
• Must be able to manage time and priorities effectively
• Possess a valid Washington State Driver’s License
• Able to wear negative and positive respirators and other personal protective equipment
• Maintain medical clearance to work in biohazard locations

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.


• MS or PhD in Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Environmental Health, Public Health or related field;
• Registered or certified biosafety professional credential;
• Experience with BSL-3 laboratories;
• Experience working with databases; experience writing standard operating procedures or other technical documentation.

As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs. For a complete description of our benefits for this position, please visit our website, click here.

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