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How to Apply

Apply online for a Cambridge Laboratory Biosafety Permit

To receive a Biosafety permit for research or manufacturing involving recombinant DNA or high-risk biological agents you must contact the Cambridge Public Health Department at 617-665-3838, and arrange a presentation to the Cambridge Biosafety Committee. The following information must be included:

  1. A summary of research or manufacturing activities
  2. Proposed biological containment level(s) with rationale based on planned work
  3. A floor plan indicating all laboratory areas, containment levels, waste storage, exits
  4. A description of medical surveillance plan and infection control program if your lab works with infectious agents
  5. Verification of compliance status for all local and state health and safety regulations requiring permits (e.g., Massachusetts Medical Waste Regulations, radiation control, flammable storage)
  6. A list of vendors that support the safe operation of the laboratory

Presentations generally last 20 to 45 minutes, and should provide a broad explanation of the recombinant technologies, risk of infection, biological vectors, and host organisms being used.   A sample presentation and training materials are available to applicants. Presenters should bring at least five copies of the presentation (preferably 10 copies) for distribution to the committee and attendees.  The materials should conform to the sample presentation, and should include a diagram of facility floor plans with containment levels and waste storage areas indicated. Full architectural plans are not needed.  

In addition to the presentation, each permit holder must comply with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) and all other provisions of the Cambridge Recombinant DNA Technology Ordinance and the Cambridge Biosafety Regulation.

The Cambridge Biosafety Committee reviews and enforces permit holders’ compliance with the NIH Guidelines, the BMBL, local requirements, community representation on Institutional Biosafety Committees, and medical surveillance obligations.




For more information about recombinant DNA permits, please contact:

Sam Lipson, REHS
Senior Director of Environmental Health
Cambridge Public Health Department


Use the health department's online portal to apply for a Cambridge laboratory biosafey permit.


Cambridge Public Health Department
119 Windsor Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-665-3800 (main)
617-665-3888 (fax)
617-643-0744 (TTY)

Hours: Monday-Friday:
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
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Derrick Neal
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