Research Safety, Animal and Human Welfare

Laboratory Safety

The Laboratory and Chemical Safety Committee oversees implementation of Western's Chemical Hygiene Plan, reviews injuries and incidents, recommends safety policies and procedures and formulates and review the University’s training program for safe work practices in the laboratories.


Western's Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) reviews, approves and oversees research involving the use of recombinant or synthetic DNA/RNA and other biohazards.  All work involving biohazards, including recombinant or synthetic DNA/RNA, is reviewed by the IBC in accordance with National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines. The committee approves procedures for procurement, use, storage, transportation and disposal of biohazardous material.  Prior to beginning work, each Principal Investigator intending to use these materials or perform related activities is required to file a registration form for each project  with the committee for review before initiating the work.

Animal Welfare

Western's Institutional Animal Welfare and Use Committee (IACUC) ensures Western researchers and students follow the highest level of responsible care and use for live vertebrate animals owned, cared for, or handled by Western Washington University's employees or students.  All research involving vertebrate animals requires advance review and approval by the IACUC, whether the research is conducted in on-campus labs, satellite facilities, or in the field.

Human Subjects Research

Western's Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews human participant research for compliance with university policy, state and federal regulations.  All studies involving human subjects or participants require prior review and approval.  A human subject is a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains data either through intervention or interaction with the individual or through Identifiable private information.