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Community Reps Needed for Biotech Safety Committees

Biosafety Training to be held March 12-13

February 10, 2012

 

View agenda for Cambridge Biosafety Forum

View registration form for Cambridge Biosafety Forum

The Cambridge Public Health Department is seeking volunteers to serve as community representatives on institutional biotech safety committees.  Most committees meet once a year.

A free training for interested residents will be held March 12-13 at The Cambridge Hospital.

"At a time when there is increasing awareness about biolabs in cities, it is especially important for residents to participate in the oversight process and represent community biosafety interests,” said Sam Lipson, the department’s director of environmental health.  Lipson noted that Cambridge is home to more than 80 biotech labs.

Cambridge is the first community in the world to establish direct citizen oversight of biological research and continues to set the standard for strict public oversight of this sector.

Since 1977, firms and academic institutions engaged in certain biological research and manufacturing in Cambridge have been required by law to have an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) that provides local review and oversight of research involving recombinant DNA   In 2009, this authority was extended to include certain types of non-recombinant infectious disease research as well.  These safety committees must include two community members, one of whom must be a Cambridge resident.

Prospective community representatives are encouraged to attend the Cambridge Biosafety Forum on Monday, March 12 and Tuesday, March 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Macht Auditorium on the Cambridge Hospital campus. The training will cover basic molecular biology, and include an overview of Institutional Biosafety Committees and a “practice” biosafety committee meeting to familiarize attendees with the process.

There is no charge for community members; the cost for companies who will be supporting their community representatives to attend is $150 for both community members, with an additional $50 fee for each staff person they register.

Individuals who serve as community representatives cannot have financial ties to biotech companies that hold biosafety permits issued by the city of Cambridge.

To register for the training or for more information on becoming an IBC community rep, contact Sam Lipson at slipson@challiance.org and visit the website at www.cambridgebiosafety.org.

MEDIA CONTACT

Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Communications Specialist
617-665-3833
sfeinberg@challiance.org


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