Biological Safety


The Biosafety Program provides the oversight of all work with biological materials.  This program assesses risk and defines containment for the safe use of biologicals.  The foundation of the program centers on the use of engineering controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment to prevent workplace exposures and injuries.
The assessment includes examination of the agent(s), standard operating procedures and proposed laboratory equipment.  This is conducted by the biological safety officer in collaboration with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).  Prior to starting work, Principal Investigators are responsible for registering all proposed work with recombinant DNA and biological agents.  Training programs in biosafety will help to ensure that appropriate containment of these materials is achieved.   Through a strong partnership in research and safety, the institution can ensure the safety of all faculty, staff, students, patients, and visitors to our campuses
Biohazardous materials and organisms include all infectious agents or biologically derived infectious materials that present either a risk or a potential risk to the health of humans or animals, either directly through infection or indirectly through damage to the environment.

The following is a list of the potentially hazardous biological materials and agents. A Biohazard Project Application must be submitted to the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) prior to initiation of any project involving use of these materials or agents. Click here to learn more about an IBC application. After examining the list, if you are not sure whether your materials are biohazardous or not, please contact 617-638-8830.

  1. Human, Animal, and Plant Pathogens:
    • viruses, including oncogenic and defective viruses (includes viral vectors)
    • Rikettsiae
    • Chlamydiae
    • bacteria, including those with drug resistance plasmids*
    • fungi
    • parasites
    • undefined or other infectious agents, such as prions
    • toxins (bacterial, fungal, plant)
  2. All human blood, blood components and products, tissues and body fluids
  3. Cultured cells (all human and non-human primates) and potentially infectious agents these cells may contain
  4. Infected animals and animal tissues
  5. Non-human primates and any tissues derived there from (can transmit Herpes B virus)
  6. Sheep and any tissues derived there from (can transmit Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q-fever). *Lab K-12 strains of E-coli are not included.