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Environmental Health and Safety Office

Student using lab equipment.

The five flagship buildings of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute (Steger Hall, Latham Hall, Integrated Life Sciences Building, Fralin Hall, and Life Sciences 1) have an assigned Compliance Advisory Specialist through the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Office.

Dr. Roberta Polak enjoys working closely with researchers to ensure they can follow their scientific pursuits, safely. Please reach out to her with any health & safety related questions you may have.

Here are just some of the ways Roberta and her office can assist:

  • Reviewing the EHS onboarding recommendations with new Principal Investigators
  • Connecting PIs and lab personnel to key stakeholders across campus (e.g., committees, core facilities, departments)
  • Consultations on national and international shipping requirements for research materials
  • Providing safety recommendations based on risk assessment and liaising with the EHS subject matter experts as needed
  • Answering waste handling and waste disposal questions and concerns
  • Assisting PIs with permit application related questions (APHIS, USDA, CDC, FWL etc.)
  • Help labs prepare for external audits
  • Provide guidance in case of emergency, spill, incidents or accidents.

Events and Activities

Roberta Polak

Roberta Polak, PhD, Compliance Advisory Specialist
EHS Liaison for FLSI buildings (Fralin Hall, Latham Hall, Life Sciences I, Steger Hall and ILSB)

Virginia Tech | Environmental Health & Safety
360 W. Campus Dr., MC 0346
Blacksburg, VA  24060
(540) 231-5259 |

Meet Dr. Roberta Polak

Dr. Roberta Polak joined the Environmental Health and Safety Office at Virginia Tech in January of 2020.

With more than seven years of experience in the EHS field and more than 10 years of hands-on lab research experience, her goal is to support the cutting-edge research at FLSI and to ensure the safety of its research community.

Roberta earned her master's and Ph.D. degrees in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, during which she was a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

She continued her interest in scientific research as a postdoctoral associate at MIT and realized, as the lab safety officer, her passion for laboratory safety. This led to a career in safety, first as a biosafety officer at MIT and Harvard University