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Home Biosafety

Introduction to Biosafety

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ABSA International

Introduction to Biosafety
Biosafety Curriculum for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Are your students prepared to work safely in the laboratory?
Research laboratories are unique environments that present specific risks and challenges. Many undergraduates, and even graduate students, lack rigorous instruction in biological safety. They don’t understand the risk present in the laboratory or how to protect themselves from those risks.

ABSA International, in partnership with the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP), is pleased to announce the offering of a curriculum package for the education of undergraduate science students in the discipline of biological safety; this course is also appropriate for graduate, medical, nursing, public health, and medical technology students. The course is designed as a 12-week semester course, either 1 or 5 credits. The course content is designed to be flexible to allow instructors to select what is appropriate for their specific program needs and schedules.

Covered topics include:

  • History of biosafety microbiology and molecular biology
  • Risk assessment
  • Biosafety levels
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Laboratory facilities and safety equipment
  • Disinfection, decontamination, and sterilization
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Laboratory security and emergency response
  • Administrative controls
  • Current topics in biosafety

The course package includes learning objectives, assessment criteria, a workbook with case studies, exercises, and helpful illustrations and diagrams; it is available free of charge to anyone interested.

There is also a one-week long summer course guide for high school students who plan to pursue careers in science.

Thanks to Dr. Robert Ellis at Colorado State University who kindly provided his course outline to use as a roadmap for this work. Thanks also to Dr. Brandon Hatcher and Dr. Chad Austin who led the NBBTP efforts to develop these courses.

Comments or questions should be sent to:
ABSA International
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Biosafety Regulations Under the Cartagena Protocol: The Jamaican Case

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Biosafety Regulations Under the Cartagena Protocol: The Jamaican Case*

Arnoldo Ventura
Office of the Prime Minister
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Financial support: OAS Project number AE 145-01 "Biosafety Regulations in Latin America and The Caribbean within the framework of the International Biosafety Protocol".


Jamaica is an island with delicately balanced biodiversity and high endemicity. It also relies heavily on trade. Biosafety therefore is high on the island’s agenda, and the nation has been active in the Cartagena Protocol negotiations. Jamaica’s biotechnological competence allows the island to import as well as export transgenics. Nevertheless, to safely identify, test, handle, transport, store and use such organisms and their products, the island recognizes the importance of improving there capabilities. Additionally, to satisfy the obligations of the protocol a comprehensive legislation was also deemed necessary. Furthermore, to reduce costs and improve scientific coverage and efficiently, Jamaica feels that a Caribbean institutional approach to the implementation of the Protocol is essential.


 A wave of biotechnologies, over the last three decades, have given rise to fundamental changes in the global perception of life, economic possibilities, environmental impacts and social concerns. An unavoidable bio-revolution is said to be in progress.

A small country, like Jamaica, which depends heavily on trade of goods and services and which has a strong biodiversity base, sees both opportunities and challenges in these developments. The island, because of its high and fragile endemicity, therefore has a strong interest in questions of biosafety and consequently has been active in the Cartagena Protocol negotiations.

This paper seeks to outline the islands present biosafety situation and what has to be done to increase its capacity to manage and control the possibilities which arise with biotechnological products, and the rapid and frequent movement of species into new habitats.


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