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2014 Winners

We are proud to recognize the winners who have demonstrated safety leadership and have made a difference in safety at the NIH:

The winners demonstrated safety leadership, with practical examples in two or more of the following areas:

* Leadership attributes that set the nominee apart from his or her peers

* Initiating and/or leading a successful safety initiative

* Engaging peers and transforming the safety culture of the organization

* Promoting safety as an important part of your program

* Working to correct unsafe or unhealthful workplace conditions or hazards


We are proud to have recognized our winners on April 8, 2014 at 1:30 PM during the Quarterly IC Safety and Health Committee Meeting.  

Dr. Kevin Holmes, MS, PhD., NIAID

Dr. Kevin Holmes, of the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, developed new guidance for working safely when performing flow cytometry procedures.  Dr. Holmes’ original paper, “Characterization of aerosols produced by cell sorters and evaluation of containment” (Holmes, 2011) and the “Standard practice for cell sorting in a BSL-3 facility” (Perfetto, et al, 2011) gained worldwide recognition as the safety standards to be used during the cell sorting process.  Dr. Holmes subsequently co-chaired a task force at the NIH to develop the NIH Biosafety Policy for Cell Sorters, which was approved in 2012.   This policy established standards for the installation and operation of cell sorting facilities in NIH Intramural laboratories.  Dr. Holmes served as the Chair of the Biosafety Committee for the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry.  He was the primary author on “International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry Cell Sorter Biosafety Standards” (Holmes et al, March 2014) which updated the biosafety standards for cell sorter laboratories and the Standard Operating Procedures for cell sorters.  That publication included procedures for conducting risk assessments for cell sorters, and guidance for selection of appropriate personal protective equipment, and aerosol containment validation procedures.   Dr. Holmes is a valued member of the NIH Institutional Biosafety Committee, offering his years of expertise in reviewing research proposed by the NIH investigators for biosafety considerations.  Dr. Holmes also serves as the Chair of the NIH Occupational Health and Safety Committee. 

  1. Holmes, KL.  Characterization of aerosols produced by cell sorters and evaluation of containment, Cytometry Part A. 2011 Dec; 79 (12):1000-8.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

  2. Perfetto, SP. et al, Standard practice for cell sorting in a BSL-3 facility.  Flow Cytometry Protocols: Methods in Molecular Biol. 2011; 699:449-69.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

  3. Holmes, KL. et al, International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry Cell Sorter Biosafety Standards.  Cytometry Part A.  2014 May; 85(5):434-53:Epub Mar 13, 2014.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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Dr. Elizabeth Connor, CCR

As a safety leader, Dr. Conner, of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has been proactive in writing standards of procedures for the biosafety manuals in her institute.  Dr. Conner was the first researcher in NCI to have her biosafety manual completed and reviewed by the Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS), Office of Research Services.  By sharing her methods and knowledge with other researchers, Dr. Conner helped other labs in the institute stay in compliance with local, state and federal safety requirements by posting a lab specific biosafety manual in their labs.  Through sharing her information and ideas on safety, Dr. Conner broadened the safety culture within NCI and helped the NCI Safety Committee and DOHS promote the message “Safe Science is Good Science” to other NIH groups.


Recently there was a low oxygen level alarm in the freezer farm area of Building 37.  Dr. Conner was one of a group of individuals who helped keep others safe by restricting access to the area. After the incident, Dr. Conner and others developed signs with emergency contact to instruct people regarding response to this hazard should there be another problem with low oxygen levels in the building.  Dr. Conner has continually committed her time and energy promoting a positive safety culture in the NCI.  Through promoting a positive safety culture in the NCI, Dr. Conner is contributing to the safety of the research mission culture at NIH.


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