ABSA Update

ABSA Council

President: Paul Meechan

Hello ABSA Colleagues!

It's been a busy start to the 2014 Council year. Council has been engaged with the International Standards Organization (ISO) as they work to determine the fate of the Laboratory Biorisk Management document (CWA 15793). ABSA Council has applied to be a liaison organization, which would allow us to have experts from ABSA assist in the generation of an ISO work product to provide a permanent home for the CWA.

ABSA Council remains focused on keeping the association financially stable and to do that, Ed Stygar and Council have made difficult decisions. We have eliminated one office position, an action that was not taken lightly, but one that had to be made. We have cut items from the budget to match projected expenditures to revenues.

Council remains committed to implementing the Strategic Plan, having set-up a preconference session with Paul Meyer (Tecker International) to assist teams and committees devise objectives for 2014 that support the goals of the Strategic Plan. Council is asking all teams and committees to complete the objectives template provided so that all of ABSA is working to support the strategic objectives of your association.

Thank you for your comments from the ABSA conference, which have been compiled and read by Council. We are looking at how we can implement the suggestions. We acknowledge the meeting did not go without controversy, but Council continues to need to let the Scientific Program Committee do their job without interference. The SPC Chair will be invited to regularly brief Council, but the agenda will remain in their hands.

ABSA Council members wish you all the best and hope you have a safe and happy 2014!

Distance Learning Committee

Co-Chairs: MaryJo Lanzillotta and Kathleen Kennedy

The Distance Learning Committee will be offering the three ABSA-owned webinars: Basic Disinfection, Effective Biosafety Training, and Q&A Infectious Substance Shipping in 2014. The committee is also working towards several new offerings for 2014.

Principles & Practices of Biosafety

Co-Chairs: Paul Jennette and Jeff Owens

The instructors of the Principles & Practices of Biosafety (PPB) course are continuing to update the modules based on the 2013 peer-review. The next offering of the PPB will be held in San Antonio, Texas, February 23-28, 2014. Course information and registration can be found at http://www.absa.org/eduppb.html.

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 are posted at  http://absa.org/eduleadership.html.

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:

If you are planning on taking the NRCM exam in April 2014, please note the application deadline is February 1, 2014. Information can be found at http://www.absa.org/biocert.html.

Preconference Course Committee

Co-Chairs: Corrie Ntiforo and Carrie Smith

The Preconference Course Committee identified 31 courses held during the 56th Annual Biological Safety Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The committee is constantly looking to expand the selection of ABSA-owned courses.  If you have suggestions for a topic(s) you would like to see become an ABSA-owned course, please let the ABSA office know ([email protected]). The call for course proposals for the 57th Annual Biological Safety Conference in San Diego, California is open at. The deadline for submissions is March 3, 2014.


Co-Editors: Karen Byers and Barbara Johnson

Applied Biosafety is actively seeking submissions for articles to the journal. The Editors are exploring new ways to get requests for articles out to the general public. Potential authors are encouraged to visit our user-friendly website at www.x-cd.com/absa/article.cfm.

Scientific Program Committee

Co-Chairs: Shelley Jones and Darlene Ward

The Scientific Program Committee is off to a great start reviewing the evaluations and making recommendations for next year's speakers. The Call for Papers for the 57th Annual Biological Safety Conference in San Diego, California is now open at [link deleted].

Local Arrangements Committee

Chair: Sylvie Blondelle

The Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) has been very active selecting a banquet venue, interviewing catering companies, and investigating entertainment for the banquet. The banquet will be held at the Birch Aquarium, which includes fabulous exhibits and views of the Pacific Ocean. The LAC is working with the Scientific Program Committee and Exhibitors Advisory Committee to provide suggestions for the 57th Annual Biological Safety Conference in San Diego, California.

Exhibitors Advisory Committee

Chair: Steve Sowa

The Exhibits Committee collected comments from the 2013 conference exhibitors. Overall, all the vendors were pleased with the support and traffic and were thankful for the food placement. Exhibit space for the 57th Annual Biological Safety Conference can now be reserved at http://www.absaconference.org. If you are interested or know of a company that would like to exhibit at the ABSA Conference please contact Karen Savage at [email protected].

Publications Committee

Chair: Bruce Whitney

Bruce Whitney is the new Chair of the Publications Committee. The committee would like to thank Joany Jackman for her time and service to the committee. The next Anthology of Biosafety XIV: Sustainability is in the final stages of production and will be available in early 2014.

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.

Training Tools/Resources Committee

Co-Chairs: Eleanor Low and David Harbourt

The Training Tools/Resources Committee is working to enhance the Training Tools/Resources page of the ABSA website to make navigation more user-friendly. The committee has created a flyer for distribution to help solicit submissions to the webpage. If you are attending or presenting at a biosafety meeting, please tell your colleagues and help us increase the available resources for the biosafety community. New submissions or suggestions should be submitted at http://www.absa.org/trainingtools.html or [email protected].

Laboratory Accreditation Board

Chair: Robert Hawley

The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) is proud to announce that the voluntary ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program  is now active! The program accredits high-containment (BSL-3 and ABSL-3) laboratories  that are not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Select Agent and Toxins Regulations. ABSA accreditation will provide those entities with recognition of excellence and compliance with high standards, while helping facilities that need guidance in generating processes and policies to create a safer environment for their organization, employees, research animals, and the community.

The benefits of accreditation include recognition within the biosafety community that an institution conducts work with biohazardous agents in a safe and secure manner, and assurance to the public that the institution is conducting safe science, thus protecting its employees, research animals, the public, and the environment.

An institution seeking accreditation may apply to the ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program at [email protected]. After you apply, the ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program will initiate the steps required for the comprehensive on-site assessment. The entire process is confidential.

Additional information on the ABSA Accreditation Program can be found at http://www.absaaccreditation.org.

NEW for 2014!

Biosafety Buyer's Guide


Due to membership demand ABSA will launch the Biosafety Buyer's Guide in March. The guide will list companies and consultants that provided biosafety related products and services. For more information, contact Ed Stygar at [email protected].

ABSA Job Board

Due to increasing expenses, there will now be a fee to post on the ABSA Job Board. However, we will also increase the visibility of the job board through different marketing avenues. The fees will be competitive and we will offer a member discount.

Upcoming ABSA Events 

ABSA Principles & Practices of Biosafety, San Antonio, Texas, February 24-28, 2014
Q&A Infectious Substance Shipping Webinar, February 28, 2014
Leadership Institute: Taking the Lead- Building and Sustaining Partnerships in Safety, Andaz Hotel, San Diego, California, April 21-24, 2014
57th Annual Biological Safety Conference, Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, California, October 3-8, 2014
Webinar Series: Understanding the Biosafety Personality, Team and Culture in Laboratories, March-June 2014
Emerging Trends in Gas, Steam, and UV Sterilization, July 2014
Basic Disinfection, Summer 2014
Effective Biosafety Training, July-August 2014

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!

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 (being updated); and 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