Associate Biological Safety Officer
Works in support of the Biological Safety Officer (BSO) to develop, coordinate, and implement a comprehensive biosafety program for Northwestern University. Provides guidance and consultation to identify and address the risks of working with human, animal, and plant pathogens; human tissues, fluids, cells, or cell cultures; recombinant DNA materials and human gene transfer; and laboratory animals. Encourages a culture of safety and reporting of actual and potential safety issues which may place staff and others at risk; assesses those risks; and implements policies and procedures to keep risks to a minimum.
The ABSO will help for ensure and enforce compliance to applicable governmental, funding, and accreditation agencies on behalf of Northwestern. The ABSO will also ensure compliance with the NIH Guidelines, and support the IBC submission review and approval process, and conducting the IBC meetings in support of the IBC Chair. Conduct regular lab safety inspections of BSL1 and BSL2 laboratories.
Support and oversee the annual maintenance and inspection of high containment laboratories. Coordinate activities and policies between Research Safety and the IBC with other Northwestern entities such as Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
The Associate Biological Safety Officer will support the OR mission and values by exhibiting the following: understand empathy, model accountability, ensure fairness, embrace community and value creativity. The incumbent will strive to provide excellent service when performing job responsibilities.
- Provides support for the Biological Safety Program at Northwestern University, helping the BSO to ensure compliance and protection of faculty, staff, and students. The incumbent will be expected to gain the necessary expertise to serve as an institutional expert in biosafety and the safe conduct of biological research at Northwestern. When the BSO is not present, the incumbent will be expected to carry out essential tasks required by governmental and granting agencies.
- Provides support for the Institutional Biological Safety Committee (IBC) to ensure compliance with NIH Guidelines and in the broader context of helping to protect individuals, public health, and the environment.
- Assist the Biosafety Officer with developing, prioritizing, coordinating, and overseeing strategic planning for Research Safety. Assist in the short- and long-term planning for resource needs, including personnel, space, equipment, IT systems, and budget. Works closely with other management functions within RS to create a common approach to health & safety.
- Supervises and provides mentorship for peers within the Research Safety office. Develops staff’s problem-solving skills, technical knowledge, and operational effectiveness in supporting the Biological Safety Program.
- Master’s degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Microbiology, Virology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, or related science) plus a minimum of five years’ experience working in a research lab.
- Desire to gain day-to-day experience in biological safety management and oversight.
- Qualification for appointment as Alternate Responsible Official for Select Agent Registration and capable of completing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Security Risk Assessment for individuals seeking access to select biological agents and toxins, per 42 CFR Part 73.8.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
- A grasp of the health, safety, and environmental compliance landscape and emerging issues in higher education. Interest in understanding and improve an integrated approach to health and safety management in higher education.
- Communicates effectively one-to-one, in small groups, and in public speaking contexts; writes precise, well-organized emails, letters, and proposals while using appropriate vocabulary and grammar. Ability to mature and grow with experience.
- Must model a positive attitude, demonstrate collegiality, and work constructively with everyone at the University. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion in service to scientists from around the world.
- Demonstrated ability to identify actual and potential issues and risks; monitors and enforces safety regulations; provides education and training.
- Seeks to build collaboration by encouraging trust, mutual respect, and shared purpose among various participants in an engagement.
- Ph.D. in a relevant discipline (e.g. Microbiology, Virology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, or related science)
- Five years’ experience working in a BSL2 and/or BSL3 research lab.
- Experience with an environmental health and safety program in a mid – to large academic, governmental, industrial, or commercial enterprise.
- Experience working in an administrative capacity with regulatory committees such as Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and/or Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
- Certification as Certified Biological Safety Professional (ABSA | NRCM).
- Demonstrated skill in selecting, training, motivating, and coaching staff to achieve desired results.
- Demonstrated appreciation of an appropriate balance between service and compliance.
- Ability to develop, communicates, and defends policies, procedures, strategic plans, and resource requests.
- Ability to identify and implement technological resources to educate, train, and serve clients.
- When necessary, a commitment to put the mission of the University first under sometimes stressful situations.
Northwestern requires all staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to limited exceptions. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 and Campus Updates website.
The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today.
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