UK creates Department of Research Safety to support research community

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 25, 2023) — In response to significant growth in research funding and facilities, the Division of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at the University of Kentucky announces the creation of the Department of Research Safety. Research Safety will provide tailored client-centered services to the UK research community, expanding and enhancing safety and compliance activities for labs utilizing biological, radiological or chemical hazards.

The departments of Radiation Safety, led by Jason Johnson, and Biological Safety, led by Dee Mazzetti, have been combined under the oversight of Brandy Nelson, director of research safety. Additionally, chemical safety services provided to the research community previously aligned with the Occupational Health and Safety Department (OHS) will now be associated with Research Safety. Holley Hannabach will lead chemical safety and general lab safety services in the newly created role of chemical safety officer. In this role, Hannabach will develop, implement and direct a comprehensive chemical safety program, serve as the institutional chemical hygiene officer and ensure implementation of appropriate chemical hygiene policies and practices.

Initial goals of the Department of Research Safety will include improving efficiency of operations and customer service and expanding and enhancing training and resources for the UK research community.

Please contact Brandy Nelson,, for additional information, or visit

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

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