Course Home

Course Overview and Introduction

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Lecture 3

Lecture 4

Lecture 5

Lecture 6

Lecture 7

Lecture 8

Lecture 9

Lecture 10

Lecture 11

Lecture 12

Lecture 13

Lecture 14

Final Exam

Go to References and Resources for Biological Safety

Lecture 14

Point/Counterpoint (Judge & Jury) Team Debates

Course Texts, Lectures, Notes, and Student Research

By the end of the class, students will be able to:

  • Describe components of risk assessment and risk management as applicable to Biosafety
  • Describe various groups of professionals, expertise, and resources required to conduct a risk assessment
  • Outline the risk assessment pathway from development, review, and assignment of appropriate risk management factors
  • Define the four Risk Groups



Sample Point/Counterpoint Case Series

Point/Counterpoint Exercise
Suggested exercises are included in the class handout associated with this lecture. However, instructors are encouraged to use any cases, situations, or protocols from their own Institutional Biosafety Committees that involved a disagreement in either the Risk Group or Biosafety Level designation. A good source of potential topics are published reports of laboratory acquired infections, the agent summary statements from the CDC/NIH BMBL, and announcements from the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities and minutes from the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, where unique protocols from NIH funded institutions are discussed.

Examples Exercises used previously in the class are:

  • BSL2 or BSL3 for experiments with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in mice?
  • BSL2 or BSL3 for cell culture or animal (mice) experiments with Rabies virus?
  • BSL3 or BSL2 for cell culture and animal (mice) experiments with LCMV?
  • BSL4 or BSL3 for experiments with a multi-drug resistant strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is resistant to 12 of the current available drugs.
  • Funding for BSL3 safety program or BSL2 Bloodborne Pathogen training program in the aftermath of two laboratory acquired infections (assumption is that the institution must prioritize which program to fund immediately).

Other topics that could be utilized are:

  • BSL3 or BSL2 for cell culture and animal (mice) experiments with HIV?
  • BSL3 or BSL2 for cell culture experiments with Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease agent?
  • BSL3 or BSL2 for cell culture experiments with Hepatitis C Virus?
  • BSL4 or BSL3 for experiments involving 1918 Pandemic Influenza Virus?
  • ABSL2 or ABSL3 for experiments with Ectromelia virus (mousepox) in mice?

The entire class time may be reserved for the point/counterpoint presentation or combined with one of the existing lectures. The exercises, presentation assignments and student team roles should be determined at least 2 weeks before this lecture.
Students are divided into three teams and presented with three proposed biohazard experiments. Each group must serve in each of the following roles for the exercises:

  • Risk Group 3 Position (team presenting an argument that the proposed work must be conducted at Biosafety Level 3 Containment);
  • Risk Group 2 Position (team presenting an argument that the proposed work can be safely conducted at Biosafety Level 2 Containment);
  • Jury (team that serves as the IBC for each exercise and weighs the merits of each presentation and privately deliberates prior to presenting their decision).

The Assignment Matrix should look like this after the assignments have been made:




Exercise 3

Team 1


RG3 argument

RG2 argument

Team 2

RG3 argument

RG2 argument


Team 3

RG2 argument



When the student teams arrive in class, start with Exercise #1, flip a coin to determine which of the presentation teams (Team 2 or Team 3) will win the choice to present 1st or 2nd. This choice then rotates among the remaining teams for the next two Exercises. Thus, each Team must prepare two formal presentations of their assigned position in an argument and serve as Jury once. Although the Jury is not required to make a presentation on a topic, Jury members should read the Exercise they are judging before coming to class to have a perspective on what may be needed for the proposal.


Class lecture is devoted to student presentations and follow-up discussion after the completion of each exercise.


As determined by each student group for their respective exercises

arrow to course homepage
arrow to next lecture