Published: 04-12-2015 09:59 | Updated: 04-12-2015 10:38

Markus takes care of issues regarding biosafety

Markus Moll, Center for Infectious Medicine, is the department’s new contact person for questions regarding biosafety. Besides that, he has a lot going on right now.

What is the assignment?

- According to the job description my mission to be the contact between the department and the central biosafety committee at KI. This includes attending central meetings and to spread information to the department and to coordinate and update permits and notifications of GMM. Since a few months I´m also member of KI´s biosafety committee, so that link is already established.

- I see biosafety primarily as a question about work environment and minimization of risks. There is also an environmental perspective to think of. It is also important to work legally secure and comply with laws and regulations – and to follow KI`s internal rules. Of course, this must be done pragmatically and should not obstruct our research. Biosafety is not an end in itself, it should be part of our research routines.

What is meant by GMM?

- Genetically modified microorganisms (GMMs) are defined as microbiological entities capable of replication or transferring genetic material, including cell cultures and viruses, in which the genetic material has been altered in a manner that would not occur naturally. GMMs and pathogens always need to be handled properly to avoid damage of people and the environment. When a new GMM activity is established a risk assessment needs to be done, and depending to the risk level, a notification or permit application has to be send to the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket).

How will you do the work?

- I will put myself into details in notifications and permits about biosafety at the department to see if there are needs for updates. I will also attend central meetings and spread new information to the research groups at our department. Furthermore, I´m member of a planning group for Framtidens lab, which parts of the department will move to in a few years. Here, we need to be proactive with all biosafety work, including notifications and permits for pathogens and GMM, to prevent down-time in conjunction with the move.

What is your research at CIM about?

- I´m a virologist by training and my research focuses on various viruses and viral infections. During the last years my research group has studied how primate lentiviruses (HIV and SIV) affect the innate cellular immune system. Right know I´m also building a new research line where I want to study how hemorrhagic fever viruses affect the immune system. This work will require access to high containment laboratories and will be done in collaboration with The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten).