ABSA Update

2013 ABSA Conference - Kansas City

ABSA Kansas City 2013

The 56th Annual Biological Safety Conference will be in Kansas City, Missouri, October 17-23, 2013. Meetings and Exhibits will be at the Sheraton Crown Center.

More information and hotel registration is available at www.absaconference.org.

Exhibit and Sponsor opportunities for 2013 are also available. We are looking forward to an outstanding 56th Annual Biological Safety Conference!

ABSA Council

President: Barbara Fox Nellis

Council, teams, and committees have been busy with all aspects of ABSA business and in preparation for the upcoming ABSA Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The scientific program for the conference is in the final stages and is designed to be cutting-edge with a mixture of science and biosafety. The pre conference courses include many new offerings and round-out the overall opportunities and experiences for attendees.

ABSA's evolving structure which aligns with the Strategic Plan is complete with teams and committees re-organized to better focus on the goals for the Strategic Plan. Teams and committees were restructured to allow the assignment of specific Strategic Plan objectives with the responsibility for determining the timelines for objective completion placed in the hands of the team or committee. Emphasis was stressed with all the teams and committees to get more new members involved. Thought has been given to assigning new members to an existing ABSA member to facilitate integration into the larger membership.

The ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program for high-containment (BSL-3) laboratories not under the U.S. Select Agent and Toxins Regulations is now available. ABSA accreditation provides entities recognition of excellence and compliance with high standards, while helping facilities needing guidance to create processes and policies for a safer environment for the organization, employees, research animals, and community. Criteria for this new team effort is based-on European Committee for Standardization (CEN) Workshop Agreement 15793, Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard for Management of Biological Safety, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th Edition (BMBL), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules.

Progress has been made on leadership development including succession planning, assignment of a vice team lead for each team, a co-chair for each committee, development of easily understood expectations and establishment of maximum term limits for team leads and chairs. A task force is in place to address the issue of term limits relative to the various roles that volunteers hold. This task force was charged with making recommendations to proceed with the application of term limits prior to the conference in October.

Policies & Procedure's are being reviewed to clarify and expand as needed with the development of complete roles and responsibilities for volunteers. We expect this action to facilitate new member introduction to teams and committees with documented guidance.

There are a number of special challenges for ABSA in the current environment that include: define ABSA's relevance and value for the future with agreement on strategies to get there; proactively respond to and anticipate changes in our industry/profession; attract and retain members, obtain volunteer engagement and develop leaders; modify, add, or eliminate programs and services to create greater relevance and value; improve communications of the value and relevance of the organization/members; increase, diversify, and redistribute resources/revenue; and, finally, improve ABSA's recognition, image, and brand reputation.

The ABSA Council takes the member engagement responses very seriously with implementation of many good suggestions. Examples of member engagement suggestions related to the annual conference include staying on schedule, free Internet, a concurrent international session, make presentations available to members, provide a venue for ABSA affiliate's to meet, find locations with lower costs, create a letter of recognition for volunteers, promote ABSA Ambassadors Program, continue regulatory agency interface, find more ways to promote member involvement, and send letters to member institutions to support importance of ABSA membership and conference attendance.

The ANSI Standard Z9.14-201X final draft was approved by the working committee and sent on to the full committee for public review. This is a ventilation testing and verification standard only for BSL-3 and ABSL-3 that will not address Select Agents. Public copies are available for a nominal cost.

ABSA is only as productive as its members who form the volunteer workforce responsible for all of ABSA's activities and successes. Members can further help by volunteering for committees or teams, sending comments and recommendations to ABSA or any Council member, by checking out the website, submitting articles to Applied Biosafety and attending the ABSA Conference.

Letter of Appreciation and Support for Your Employer!

The ABSA Council has drafted a letter expressing gratitude to ABSA members' employers and emphasizes the value of your participation in ABSA activities including the ABSA conference. If you would like to view this letter or would like us to send it to your employer, please e-mail the ABSA Office at [email protected]. We also appreciate any feedback about the letter!

Distance Learning Committee

Co-Chairs: MaryJo Lanzillotta and Kathleen Kennedy

Call for Instructors!

The DLC is continuing to expand their instructor/SME list for future distance learning opportunities. If you are interested in teaching a course, please contact the ABSA office at [email protected] with your contact information and areas of interests/expertise.

Call for Webinars!

If you would like to propose a webinar or distance learning course, please go to [link deleted]. The DLC is developing new webinars and distance learning opportunities to meet member needs.

Upcoming Webinars in 2014:

Q&A Infectious Substance Shipping

Webinar Series: Understanding the Biosafety Personality, Team, and Culture in Laboratories

Basic Disinfection

Effective Biosafety Training

Decontamination Webinar

ABSA Principles & Practices of Biosafety

Co-Chairs: Paul Jennette and Jeff Owens

The next Principles & Practices of Biosafety (PPB) will be February 23-28, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in San Antonio, Texas. Additional information and registration can be found at http://www.absa.org/eduppb.html.

Principles & Practices of Biosafety is a comprehensive, interactive 5-day course which introduces the essential elements of biosafety. Interactive exercises are used throughout to provide hands-on experience, encourage networking, and problem solving among participants and instructors.

The PPB instructors would like to thank all of those volunteers who participated in the peer-review of the course materials. Your thoughts, suggestions, and expertise are greatly appreciated in our goal to constantly improve the course.

Leadership Institute

Leaders: Sean Kaufman and Jim Welch

The 7th Annual ABSA/Emory/ERGF Leadership Institute for Biosafety Professionals, will be held April 21-24, 2014 in San Diego, California at the Andaz Hotel. Details will be posted at http://absa.org/eduleadership.html as they become available.

The Leadership Institute was developed to provide those serving biosafety an opportunity to brainstorm, regroup, be mentored, exchange ideas, and be prepared for the challenges ahead. It is important for all professionals to take the time to review outside perspectives, gather their thoughts, and listen to experienced experts in order to go back to their institutions and continue to manage a very challenging situation.

Certification Review Course Committee

Co-Chairs: Rita D'Angelo and Willie Wong

Advanced Biosafety Training Series Modules

The Advanced Biosafety Training modules are online offerings targeting intermediate to advanced biosafety professionals. Each module will address essential elements at a level appropriate for someone preparing to take the NRCM Biological Safety Specialist exam or interested in advanced training. Modules are available on the ABSA website at www.absa.org/educbsp.html and include:

Preconference Course Committee

Co-Chairs: David Harbourt and Corrie Ntiforo


The committee has selected over 30 courses to be offered at the ABSA Conference in October. For a list of courses, go to [link deleted].

Legislative Committee

Co-Chairs: Alexis Brubaker and Debra Sharpe

The committee has established monthly conference calls, are discussing solutions to monitor possible legislation that would affect ABSA and its members, and is in the process of reviewing systems that would detect and track legislation. The committee is also discussing avenues to alert and call members to action.

Technical and Regulatory Review Committee

Chair: Leslie Hofherr

On February 21, 2013, the National Institutes of Health announced changes to the NIH Guidelines regarding the use of H5N1 highly pathogenic influenza virus under these guidelines. The announced actions would allow work under these guidelines under enhanced BSL-3. The Technical and Regulatory Review Committee reviewed the announced revisions, prepared comments, and forwarded them to ABSA Council for consideration.

On February 22, 2013, the U.S. Government announced a policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Research of Concern. The Technical and Regulatory Review Committee reviewed the announced policy, prepared comments, and forwarded them to ABSA Council for consideration.

Scientific Program Committee

Co-Chairs: Dawn Wooley, Shelley Jones, and Karen Gillis

The committee has completed is work for the 56th Annual Biological Safety Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The program including keynotes and expert panels can be viewed at: http://www.absaconference.org

Local Arrangements Committee

Chair: Tim Sturgis

The 56th Annual Biological Safety Conference will be held in October in Kansas City, Missouri at the Sheraton Crown Center. All arrangements are set for a great conference in Kansas City. The Tuesday night banquet will be held at the World War I Museum (www.theworldwar.org).

Exhibitors Advisory Committee

Chair: Steve Sowa

This year at the 56th Annual Biological Safety Conference there is a total of 101 booths. There is still space available. If you are interested in a booth at the ABSA Conference, please contact the ABSA office.

Publications Committee

Co-Chairs: Joany Jackman and Bruce Whitney

Applied Biosafety

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to Applied Biosafety: Journal of ABSA International, please visit http://apb.sagepub.com/. PDF files of every issue of Applied Biosafety continue to be created and posted to the ABSA website as they are published. These PDFs are useful for research, reference, etc., and can be found in the Members' Only section of the ABSA website. Visit the ABSA website at http://apb.sagepub.com/ for more information.

Anthology of Biosafety

Visit the ABSA Anthology page at: http://www.absa.org/pubanth.html for a list of ABSA Anthologies and to order one or all 13 books at a discount.

Laboratory Accreditation Team

Team Leader: Chris Thompson

The Accreditation Team is composed of the Accreditation Board and 3 committees (Standards, Accreditation, and Inspectors Committees) reporting to the Board. All committees have at least 4 members to date. The Board is composed of the Chair or a Co-Chair from each committee, plus several members selected by the Board Chair and (former) Accreditation Task Force members.

To date, the Board and committees have all completed their Policy & Procedures. These have been reviewed and revised by the ABSA By-Laws Committee, and based on input from Council, have undergone further revision. The team has completed a confidentiality agreement, an application form and process, a press release, and a flyer for public release. The press release and flyer have been sent to a list of government agencies, professional organizations, and U.S. Congress members (primarily those who have been involved in efforts calling for more oversight of high-containment labs). These organizations and individuals will be sent a cover letter accompanying our press release and flyer. A fee structure has been developed, after considering different parameters, and with much thought and debate among team members. We believe that we have arrived at a fair fee structure, but it will be subject to change as we proceed and receive feedback.

With the completion of the above documents and tasks, the team is ready to begin the accreditation process. If you are interested in becoming accredited or would like more information, please visit http://www.absa.org/aiahclap.html or email [email protected].

Training Tools/Resources Committee

Co-Chairs: Patricia Cox & Eleanor Low

If you would like to submit a resource to the committee to share with other members through the ABSA web site, please follow this link: http://www.absa.org/trainingtools.html.

Credentialing Maintenance Board

Co-Chairs: Krista Murray and Thomas Leonard

The Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) is tasked with reviewing the applications for recredentialing CBSPs and RBPs every year. The CBSPs are on a 5-year recertification cycle. The RBPs are still being phased into the recredentialing process; the RBP candidates this year were completing a 4-year cycle. All future candidates will be completing 5-year cycles. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Griffin Grant Committee

Co-Chairs: Betsy Gilman Duane and Bob Hawley

Thanks to the generosity of the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, the ABSA Griffin Grant Committee is finalizing the selection of the 2013 awardees. The committee seeks proposals from ABSA members for projects that will be useful to biosafety professionals or to further the awareness of biosafety in research.

ABSA Membership Site

Through the ABSA Store not only can you access the ABSA Members' Directory, you can update your contact information under the "My Information" link; view events you have registered for under "My Events"; access your educational credits under the "My Professional Development" link (still being updated); print a copy of past invoices under "My Transactions." You can also purchase ABSA publications, NEW ABSA shirts, and other ABSA products. ABSA is working hard to make managing your membership more intuitive and user-friendly.

Calendar Members Only