ABSA Update

ABSA Council

President: Marian Downing

Dear ABSA Colleagues,

I hope that 2015 has been good to you so far! The ABSA Office, Committees, and Teams have been very busy in the last few months.

ABSA served as the managing partner for the USDA ARS (Agriculture Research Service) 3rd International Biosafety & Biocontainment Symposium: Biorisk Management in a One Health World which was held February 2-5 in Baltimore, MD. Attendance was high, with approximately 250 participants , including many ABSA members. I was fortunate to be able to attend and hear numerous excellent presentations concerning the inter-relatedness of zoonosis and human disease, and the necessity for all of us to be concerned about public health issues, no matter where they occur around the world. Of particular interest were talks on MERS, poxviruses, the handling of commercial poultry outbreaks in the US, and planning for carcass disposal in a pandemic in a large food animal, such as cattle.

Some of the accomplishments this quarter include:

Lastly, Past President Paul Meechan and the Nominating Committee will begin the process of assembling the ballot for the ABSA Council election this year. Please feel free to self-nominate or nominate someone else for one of the open positions (Councilor, Nominating Committee, and Treasurer). There will be a nomination form on the ABSA website, or you can place a nomination by sending an email (to KariAnn DeServi at [email protected]) or snail mail to the ABSA Office. Please help us with the nominating process by nominating someone and/or accepting to run for a position if asked.


Marian Downing
ABSA President

Distance Learning Committee

Co-Chairs: MaryJo Lanzillotta and Kathleen Kennedy

The DLC continues to develop, review, and offer new and on-going webinars for ABSA members professional growth. A new free on-demand webinar, for those seeking biosafety credentialing (CBSP), is now available on the ABSA website (http://www.absa.org/biocert.html). Two new webinars have been developed and advertised for 2015: Intro to Risk and Media Communications for Biosafety Professionals (http://www.absa.org/eduriskmediacomm.html) April 9th, 2015 and Train the Trainer: Tools for More Engaging Compliance Training (http://www.absa.org/edutraintrainer.html) April 16th, 2015. The DLC is also reviewing repeating courses to ensure style, format, delivery and content are high quality.

To view the list of professional development opportunities, please visit the ABSA Education webpage (http://www.absa.org/edumenu.html); new courses are added routinely. Please invite your colleagues and other professionals to attend.

Principles & Practices of Biosafety

Co-Chairs: Paul Jennette and Jeff Owens

The Principles and Practices of Biosafety course was recently held in Charleston, South Carolina February 22-27, 2015. The course was filled with several on the waiting list. Registration for the next offering of the Principles & Practices of Biosafety course is open. The course will be June 7-12, 2015 at the Embassy Suites-St. Louis, Missouri. The course will also be offered in San Diego in February 2016. To register for this course please visit (http://www.absa.org/eduppb.html).

Certification Review Course Committee

Co-Chairs: Rita D'Angelo and Willie Wong

The Review Course Instructors and Distance Learning Committee have launched the free on-demand module focusing on the Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP) credential. The module called Introduction & Overview of ABSA's Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP) Credential can be found at (http://www.absa.org/biocert.html). The registration for the Advanced Biosafety Training Modules (Certification Review Course Modules) can be found at (http://www.absa.org/edu.html).

Preconference Course Committee

Co-Chairs: Corrie Ntiforo and Carrie Smith

The committee will be completing their reviews from March 6th through the 20th. The Preconference Course Committee decision call will be held on March 23rd. The proposed Preconference course schedule should be online in late May or early June.

ABSA "Member-Get-A-Member" Referral Program

We are asking our current members to help recruit new ABSA members. For each new member that current members recruit, they will receive a $50.00 ABSA credit. The credit may be used towards ABSA products such as conference registration, merchandise, membership, publications, or courses. Newly recruited members must have not been members for the last two years. To be eligible, referring members must be good standing ABSA members for 2015.

When referring new members, ask them to join ABSA at www.absa.org. After they have joined, ask them to email [email protected] indicating who referred them to ABSA. You will then be credited and able to use the credit.


Co-Editors: Karen Byers and Barbara Johnson

Applied Biosafety (Volume 20, Number 1) is in production. Some of the comments received from editorial board reviewers indicate this issue has must-read articles. "The results are very interesting and deserve immediate publication." "This manuscript will find a receptive audience with all infectious disease researchers and associated staffs that are involved with the collection of specimens and submission to laboratories for downstream processing." "Well written, easy to read and significant topic for BSAT facilities and personnel." This issue will be sent to members and subscribers the week of April 6. If you are interested in submitting an article to the journal, information can be found at ( www.x-cd.com/absa/article.cfm). Applied Biosafety also offers advertising opportunities-please contact Karen Savage at ([email protected]) for details.

Scientific Program Committee

Co-Chairs: Shelley Jones, Darlene Ward and Betsy Matos

The committee kicked off planning for the 58th Annual Conference by reviewing feedback from the 57th Annual Conference. They have incorporated a number of suggestions, some are mentioned here. The Conference Guide and Speakers Guide have been revised for 2015. One notable change was made based on the survey comments regarding font size on PowerPoint presentations. Speakers need to ensure that audience members sitting in the back of the room can view the slides. We have begun compiling prospects for the Wedum, Eagleson, and Invited speakers based on the suggestions from the conference survey as well as those suggested by the Local Arrangements Committee. The committee will begin reaching out to those selected keynotes speakers to determine if they are available and willing to speak at the conference.

The committee has also established a timeline for meeting the necessary requirements in planning for the 58th Annual Conference. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, we have sent out the Call for Papers. We encourage members to submit abstracts in order to share innovative ideas to address contemporary issues facing biosafety professionals. The link to the submission site is http://absaconference.org/call-for-papers/. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2015.

Local Arrangements Committee

Co-Chairs: Ted Myatt and Colleen Driskill

The LAC has formed subcommittees for various tasks as the conference date approaches. The subcommittees we have are dealing with: gifts, the visitor guide, volunteering, catering/hotel, speaker suggestions, and vendors/exhibitors. The committee Chairs have met with the ABSA Office and conference center representatives in Providence to discuss layout and banquet options. The speaker subcommittee provided an extensive list of local speaker suggestions to Scientific Program Committee.

Exhibitors Advisory Committee

Chair: Gary Lindsey

The Exhibitor Prospectus for the 58th Annual Biological Safety Conference in Providence, Rhode Island is available at http://absaconference.org/sponsorexhibitor-info/ . Approximately 30 exhibitors have reserved booth space and there are still spaces available. Email [email protected] for exhibit and sponsor information.

Publications Committee

Co-Chairs: Bruce Whitney and David Gillum

The committee is continuing to work on the series of articles for Laboratory Acquired Infections (LAIs).

Training Tools/Resources Committee

Co-Chairs: Eleanor Low and David Harbourt

The Training Tools and Resources Committee have made revisions to the webpage, added new resources, and modified the submission process. To view submissions or to submit a new training tool or resources visit http://www.absa.org/trainingtools.html

Learning Verification Committee

Co-Chairs: Chris Jenkins and Nikki Drazenovich

The Learning Verification Committee is working on additional quizzes based on articles published in Applied Biosafety. There are three sets of quizzes currently available for credentialing maintenance credits. Additional information and registration can be found at http://www.absa.org/eduonline.html.

Accreditation Board

Chair: Robert Hawley

The Standards Committee has completed preparation of a BSL-2 laboratory checklist. The committee is finalizing the checklist and identifying items for consideration by the Inspectors Committee and the Accreditation Board.

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.

Legislative Committee

Co-Chairs: Alexis Brubaker and Debra Sharpe

The Legislative Committee is reviewing the "Stop Ebola Act" written by a Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives on October 16, 2014.

Technical and Regulatory Review Committee

Chair: Leslie Hofherr

The TRR Committee recently reviewed and commented on the proposed USDA AgBMBL Table of Contents. The AgBMBL will be a companion document to the NIH/CDC BMBL. ABSA Comments have been forwarded to the USDA APHIS.

Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation

[email protected]

Executive Director: Jim Welch

Beth Griffin would be turning 40 on May 1, 2015. While there is little doubt amongst those who knew her that she would be well about making the world a better place, her unfortunate death at age 22 caused by an exposure to a macaque-borne B-virus denied her opportunity to contribute. Beth's family created the non-profit Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation (ERG) to turn her tragedy into an opportunity to better the world by promoting safe research.

With the help of the American Biological Safety Association and professional organizations around the world, ERG is now widely regarded as a significant non-governmental advocate of safe and secure research around the world. ERG has supported the expansion of professional biosafety training, occupational and public health colloquiums, the global development of biosafety associations, leadership development in biorisk management, and the expansion of public awareness in the importance of animal and public health research to economic security.

To celebrate what would be Beth's 40th, ERG has launched a [email protected] campaign to globally celebrate progress in biosafety and biosecurity. First, we are asking institutions around the world to have a 40 minute safety celebration in Beth's memory during the week of 26 April - 02 May 2015. We are encouraging that birthday cake be served and that photos of these events are shared with us through social media.

Next, Beth was a very active young woman so we want researchers and safety personnel around the world to join us in a virtual walk during that same week. The funds raised by this walk and through your donations will help ERG continue support of the development and growth of biosafety and biosecurity around the world. The link for the walk is found at ERGF's [email protected] Virtual R.A.C.E. for the Race 5K.

The Foundation is appreciative of the continued support it receives from friends around the world. Donations in Beth's honor can be made directly through the foundation's website www.griffinresearch.org or by mail to ERG, 1225 N Eastman Rd PMB 275, Kingsport, TN 37664 USA. Bank transfer information is available upon request. ERG is a 501.c.3 non-profit foundation. Donations qualify as tax deductible.

ABSA Owned Course Working Group

Chair: Pat Condreay

After two years of presenting the Advanced Risk Assessment preconference course, the Working Group will be offering the Basic Risk Assessment course in Providence, Rhode Island.

Biosafety Buyer's Guide

ABSA launched the Biosafety Buyer's Guide in 2014. In its first year the guide had much success with many ads and visits. The guide lists companies and consultants that provide biosafety related products and services. For more information, contact Karen Savage 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 ABSA will offer a member discount.

Credentialing Maintenance Board

Co-Chairs: Krista Murray and Thomas Leonard

The Credentialing Maintenance Board is currently exploring mechanisms to identify emergent biosafety-related webinars that are both inexpensive and suitable for certification maintenance (CM) credit, with the aim of swiftly alerting the credentialed biosafety community of these opportunities. This exploratory effort is driven by recognition that many in the credentialed biosafety community encounter travel or budgetary restrictions that serve to limit options for continuing education.

Credentialing Evaluation Board

Co-Chairs: Betty Kupskay and Donald Wang

The Credentialing Evaluation Board held monthly conference calls to discuss and review new applications for the Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP) and Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP). During 4th Quarter, 17 applications were reviewed; of which 10 were approved, 6 denied, and one remains pending.

Anthology XIV: Sustainability

Anthology XIV helps us to better understand how we can create facilities that are more efficient with strategies such as reducing the energy requirements for effective autoclaves, biological safety cabinets, and animal facilities. With sustainability comes commitment for investing in the future, and this Anthology XV will continue to provide current and forward-thinking information to aid the biosafety community achieve its goals.

Anthology XIV will be available in print at:

Awards Committee

Chair: Judy LaDuc

The Awards Committee has a new Co-chair: Janet Petersen. We are excited to have Janet join the committee. Janet will be mentored by Judy for 2015 so that she can assume the Chair position in 2016. The Awards Committee is gearing up to encourage nominations for the Honor Awards. The committee is also working on our strategic plan for the coming year.

Bylaws Committee

Chair: Francine Rogers

The Bylaws Committee is grateful for the leadership provided by Karen Byers as our past chair. We wish her well with her new commitments. We have added two new members, Tim Sturgis and David Cavallaro, to our group and will continue to carefully review all of the P&Ps received.

Finance Committee

Chair: Carol McGhan

The Finance Committee provided ABSA teams and committees their 2015 budgets. The Finance Committee's P&P was revised and submitted to the Bylaw's Committee for approval. The committee's strategic plan was submitted to the ABSA Office.

Membership Committee

Co-Chairs: JeT'Aime Newton

The membership committee has approved three emeritus members, and is working on a survey for new members. The survey is intended to help new members explore different aspects of ABSA.

Philanthropic Committee

Chair: David Phillips

The Philanthropic Committee continues to work towards the completion of the basic biosafety on-demand module for low resource countries. The Committee hopes to launch the module at the ABSA Conference in Providence, RI.

Unified Oversight Task Force

Chairs: Barbara Owen and Susan Weekly

The Unified Oversight Task Force drafted a white paper that summarized key points from the 2014 ABSA Legislative Position Survey. The principles outlined in this white paper were utilized to develop ABSAs presentation to the Federal Experts Security Advisory Panel (FESAP) and a position statement to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Murphy, and Energy and Commerce Committee Members. The committee reviewed and submitted comments on ABSA's FESAP presentation and drafted an ABSA Position Paper in response to the CDC Anthrax Lab Incident Hearing and the GAO Report, High Containment Laboratories: Recent Incidents of Biosafety Lapses. The position paper was addressed to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Murphy, and the Energy and Commerce Committee Members and urged congress to consider the following: establishing and sustaining a national registry of biosafety level 3 facilities and establishing requirements for facilities handling pathogenic agents to implement a biorisk management program.

The task force continues to monitor proposed changes to biorisk regulations, guidance documents and oversight bodies in order to perform an impact analysis and communicate results to ABSA membership. The team will also review of lessons learned from the Interagency safety stand down.

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