Research Registration

The Committee on Assessment of Biohazards and Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (CAB/ESCRO) was formed in January of 1975 to ensure the safe and responsible conduct of biological research at MIT.  It functions as the mechanism for local oversight of biological research and meets the requirements of the following funding and regulatory agencies.


Guideline or Policy

Function Fulfilled by the CAB/ESCRO

NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (2013)

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

National Academy of Sciences Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (2005)

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight (ESCRO)

USG Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (2014)

Institutional Review Entity (IRE)

The CAB/ESCRO oversight process is based on the requirement that all biological research that falls within the committee’s purview is registered, reviewed and approved on an annual basis. 

 All research involving the items listed below must be registered with the CAB/ESCRO and approved prior to the commencement of work.  For comprehensive information about the CAB/ESCRO and registering your biological work with the committee, please visit the CAB/ESCRO webpage at


Research falling into any of the following categories must be registered with the CAB/ESCRO:

  • research involving recombinant DNA (rDNA) or synthetic nucleic acid technologies
  • all uses of microorganisms including viral vectors
  • human and non-human primate materials, cells, and tissues
  • human embryonic stem (hES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells
  • select agents and toxins
  • toxins of biological origin
  • prions
  • nanoparticle-based delivery systems for nucleic acids, proteins, drugs, or biological sensors
  • use of any of the biological materials listed above in animals or humans
  • all academic courses with laboratory components that utilize biological materials

If your research involves any of the items listed below, please visit for complete instructions for how to register your research with the MIT CAB/ESCRO.

The Biosafety Program (BSP) provides administrative support and biosafety expertise to the CAB/ESCRO.  BSP is available to assist Principal Investigators and researchers with the registration of their biological research, performance of research risk assessments, compliance with CAB/ESCRO-required laboratory inspections, and completion of laboratory safety trainings.  The Deputy Director for BSP serves as the Institutional Biosafety Officer and contact person for the CAB/ESCRO. 

Because research often requires registration with multiple committees on campus, BSP collaborates with the MIT Committee on Animal Care (MIT’s IACUC) and Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (MIT’s IRB) to assure research projects receive the appropriate oversight.  Keep in mind that a particular project may require registration and approval from more than one committee.