Biological Research Approval


The Biological Use Authorization (BUA) process grants approval for work with biohazards. If your research involves biohazards, it must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) to ensure safe handling of biohazardous material.

      Biological Use Authorization (BUA)

      Biological Use Authorization (BUA) is the process for reviewing and approving research involving biohazards including recombinant or synthetic DNA/RNA. If your research involves biohazards, it must be reviewed by an EH&S biosafety officer and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) to ensure that biohazards are handled safely from start to finish. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandates that our institution establish an IBC for review and approval of all research involving recombinant DNA. IBC review and approval for research with biohazards is required by the UW Administrative Policy 12.3.

      The IBC’s definition of a biohazard includes:

      • Pathogenic agents (bacteria, rickettsia, fungi, viruses, protozoa, parasites, prions and select agents)
      • Recombinant or synthetically derived nucleic acid, including those that are chemically or otherwise modified analogs of nucleotides (e.g., morpholinos), or both. The NIH defines synthetically derived nucleic acid molecules as follows:
        • Molecules that a) are constructed by joining nucleic acid molecules and b) can replicate in a living cell (i.e., recombinant nucleic acids);
        • Nucleic acid molecules that are chemically or by other means synthesized or amplified, including those that are chemically or otherwise modified but can base pair with naturally occurring nucleic acid molecules (i.e., synthetic nucleic acids);
        • Molecules that result from the replication of those described in (a) or (b) above
      • Recombinant DNA molecules, organisms, vectors (e.g., plasmids, viral vectors) and viruses containing recombinant DNA molecules
      • Human and non-human primate blood, tissue, body fluids and cell cultures (primary or continuous)
      • Plants, animals or derived waste which contain or may contain pathogenic hazards (including xenotransplantation tissue)

      BUA application process

      More about Biological Research Approval

      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

      Yes, research with recombinant DNA requires approval by the UW IBC, even for commercially available kits and vectors. You need to submit a BUA application or Change to BUA for work with recombinant DNA.

      Yes, IBC approval is required for all research with biohazards, regardless of the funding source. The NIH mandate for IBC approval applies to all research at an institution that receives any NIH funding.

      Fill out the form as best possible and submit. Once received, a biosafety officer will work with you as you set up your laboratory. The application can be updated when laboratory locations are finalized.

      Yes. All new IACUC protocols require an associated BUA. IACUC amendments also require a Change to BUA if it has additional biohazards used in animals.

      Submit a BUA application or BUA change application. You’ll also need to obtain approval from UW Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO) at .

      Yes, you need a BUA for your research with biological agents, even if performed in a core facility.


      EH&S Research and Occupational Safety

      (206) 221-7770