Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

Degree Program

Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Environmental Health, PhD

Committee Chair

Hopp, Torsten

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hoyle, Gary

Committee Member

Mitra, Riten

Committee Member

Tollerud, David

Committee Member

Jacobs, Robert

Author's Keywords

Occupational safety; biosafety; safety indicators; risk assessment; safety culture; laboratory safety


Biosafety plays a key role in ensuring safety of researchers’ as well as the public from unintentional exposures to infectious agents. However, the occurrence of lab acquired infections, exposures, and safety lapses in biological laboratories underscores challenges in biosafety program management. The raise in emerging and reemerging infectious diseases and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic reiterates the need for biosafety and research community to work together. Literature recommends the application of safety climate in measuring safety culture. The goal of this dissertation is to quantify biosafety climate and examine associated factors to understand the gaps between research and biosafety professionals in ensuring safety in biological laboratories. Multiple studies were conducted to collect primary data through surveys, interviews, and program evaluation on perceptions of biosafety climate, practices, and measures in place at public universities in the US. A biosafety climate scale specific to biological laboratories was developed utilizing exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic and biosafety program management on biosafety climate perceptions of research professionals was examined. A national survey was administered to research and biosafety professionals to collect data on biosafety climate perceptions at public universities in the US. Analyses were conducted utilizing appropriate statistical tests such as Chi square, T-test, Wilcoxon methods, logistic regression, linear modeling, and ordinal regression. This dissertation makes significant contribution to biosafety climate literature as the insights gained from it could assist in developing biosafety programs that facilitate collaboration between research and biosafety professionals leading to biosafety advancement.