UTEP Safety Manager Elected to Southern Biosafety Association Board
Last Updated on March 13, 2019 at 12:00 AM
Originally published March 13, 2019
By UC Staff
As an R1 research university, UTEP has a multitude of safety protocols and procedures in place to ensure that research is conducted in a safe environment.
Berenice Arriaga, biocontainment safety manager with UTEP’s Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) department, recently was elected to the Southern Biosafety Association (SBA) leadership team because of her exemplary work in safety.
Arriaga graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in science from UTEP and immediately started working as a lab coordinator in the biology department. Soon after, she joined EH&S as a safety manager, where she is in charge of safety and upkeep for University labs such as the Border Biomedical Research Center’s biosafety level 3 laboratory, which is used for training and research on various BSL3 pathogens.
“Ever since Berenice’s involvement in the SBA began, she has sought opportunities both to share the knowledge she gains at our UTEP campus as well as bring back to us the many lessons learned from her colleagues in the association,” said Robert Moss, assistant vice president for environmental health and safety. “She has even hosted members of the group to visit with our researchers and their lab programs. As a member of the board of the SBA, I have no doubt that UTEP’s position among biosafety professionals has matured to a highly regarded program of research and lab safety oversight.”
Arriaga recently attained certification through the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) International and the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists (NRCM) as a Certified Biological Safety Professional. She is also a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee at UTEP.
Arriaga said SBA brings regional biosafety officers together to study, evaluate and control biohazards in their respective workplaces. She also said the association allows officers to network and learn biosafety practices from other institutions in order to better apply them to their workplaces.
“Our job is to make sure that (research is done) safely but that we don’t impede or prevent research from happening,” Arriaga said. “We come to a middle ground and work together.”