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Biological Safety Officer

  • Requisition no: 508476
  • Work type: Full Time
  • Location: Medical Center
  • School/Department: Environment Health/Safety Off
  • Grade: Grade 104
  • Categories: Compliance, Health/Clinical, Research (Lab and Non-Lab), Other
  • Job Type: Officer of Administration 
  • Regular/Temporary: Regular
  • Hours Per Week: 35

Position Summary

Reporting to the Senior Biological Safety Officer, the Biological Safety Officer will promote and support the comprehensive biological safety program at all five Columbia University campuses.  Candidate must demonstrate in depth knowledge of biological safety regulations and professional guidelines and keep abreast of regulatory changes through networking, seminars, continuing education and the proactive investigation of scientific literature.  Successful candidate must cooperatively integrate activities with other EH&S programs and creatively interacts with multidisciplinary staff to address current and evolving health and safety issues.



    • Monitor day to day Biological Safety operations in collaboration with other EH&S programs including Research Safety, Occupational Safety and Hazardous Materials Management.

    • Collaborate with University stakeholders including Researchers/Investigators, Facilities Management and Public Safety.

    • Maintain a strong presence in the field by conducting laboratory surveys, diligently ensuring that required remedial actions are taken, and facilitating such changes in laboratory settings and activities, as necessary. Conduct field-based outreach and education to promote best practices for non-regulated activities such as biological materials inventory, effective tissue culture practices and hand hygiene.

    • Maintain the biological safety cabinet certification program by performing annual certification checks on full inventory of approximately 500 biological safety cabinets on all campuses and maintaining the associated database.

    • Oversee disposal of Regulated Medical Waste and work with vendors and Facilities Operations to develop compliant and cost effective disposal methods for Regulated Medical Waste. Investigate issues pertaining to Regulated Medical Waste by responding to reports of improper handling or management of Regulated Medical Waste, and promote a program to reduce Regulated Medical Waste volumes through effective waste segregation and recycling of non-Regulated Medical Waste.

    • Coordinate Quality Assurance testing program for Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting facilities.

    • Directly manage safety and compliance activities for the University’s Select Agents program/BSL-3 and ABSL-3 facilities and function as the Alternate Responsible Official for the Select Agents Rule.

    • Develop and maintain written program policies, Standard Operating Procedures , newsletters and training materials for biological safety programs, including Bloodborne Pathogen Program, Human Gene Transfer, biological materials shipping, and Regulated Medical Waste tracking.

    • Perform risk assessments through review of in vivo and in vitro proposals to identify procedures and controls to ensure safe conduct of such activities not only in terms of biological safety but also in relation to other University policies, regulatory obligations and best practices.

    • Develop and provide training on all matters related to biological safety to different and diverse audiences.

    • Provide biological material shipping/importation consultations with faculty, laboratory personnel, clinicians and others on technical and regulatory matters by providing field-based consults on packaging, labeling and documentation, and ensuring compliance by surveying FedEx drop-boxes for improper package preparation or drop-off.

    • Represent EH&S on the Institutional Biosafety Committee and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and participate in areas where EH&S programs overlap with those related to animal research.

    • Respond to emergency situations involving infectious materials and other hazards. Assist in investigations of indoor air quality, mold and other workplace biological safety concerns.

    • Investigate accidents and implement corrective action plans. Maintain an accident/incident database.

    • Consult on the design of new and renovated laboratories.

    • Coordinate compliance activities for the use of Controlled Substances in research.

    • Perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree in life sciences or closely associated scientific field with at least two years of bench experience in a biomedical research or clinical testing lab, or in providing oversight to such activities.  Master’s degree is acceptable.  Must have effective knowledge of NIH recombinant DNA guidelines, the Select Agent Rule, OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and the CDC’s Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories as well as other relevant professional standards such as ANSI, NIH Design Requirements Manual and ISAC sell sorter biosafety standards. Must be able to work independently from direct supervision but report effectively to management. Must be persistent and goal-driven, but courteous and diplomatic, with an ability to employ “emotional intelligence”. Must be able to effectively work with diverse stakeholders and demonstrate creative, solution-oriented approaches. Excellent verbal and written communication skills and ability to exercise sound judgment are required. Computer proficiency, including spreadsheets, and respirator fit testing required. Must be able to pass an FBI Security Risk Assessment screening for participation in the Select Agent Program.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Type preferred qualifications

Other Requirements

  • Type other requirements and/or special indicators if CUIMC

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.


Applications open: Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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