Export controls have the potential to apply to any exchange – physical or intellectual – with a foreign national or foreign country. And, if not for exclusions set out in the Export Control Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (see Exclusions you should know), many University activities would require a license to engage in them.
You can get a sense of the kinds of items, software, and technology that are regulated by perusing the Commerce Control List (Part 774, categories 0-9) for the types of microorganisms or equipment that you use. Items regulated by the State Department can be found on the United States Munitions List. (For the vast majority of research on campus at SPH, we are not in the State Department realm.)