The Cambridge Biosafety Committee, hosted by the health department, issues permits for biological research and manufacturing that entails the use of recombinant or synthetic biological agents. The Committee also issues permits for traditional biological research that is conducted with Select Agents, any Risk Group 3 or 4 agent, or any agent requiring BSL-3 containment.

Permit Process 

To receive a Laboratory Biosafety permit for research or manufacturing involving recombinant or synthetic materials or high-risk non-recombinant biological agents you must contact Sam Lipson, the Chair of Cambridge Biosafety Committee, at slipson@cambridgepublichealth.org or 617-665-3838, and arrange a presentation to the Cambridge Biosafety Committee.


Every new applicant must present to the Cambridge Biosafety Committee. See presentation requirements.


The Cambridge Biosafety Committee reviews and enforces permit holders’ compliance with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines, the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), local requirements, community representation on Institutional Biosafety Committees, and medical surveillance obligations.

Permits are issued year-round, and are renewed every January. The renewal process begins December 1 and the deadline is the last day of February.

Additional Resources:

Updated: June 8, 2023