Plans to build a high-security bioterrorism research laboratory at Boston University (BU) have split the local life sciences research community, pitting hundreds of scientists against one another.

Last September, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded about $120 million for BU to build the $178 million lab in Roxbury, a poor, densely populated part of the city's South End. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney support the project, which awaits the completion of state and federal environmental assessments and the approval of the Boston City Council.

Penn Loh, executive director of Roxbury's Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), told The Scientist the lab should not be built in Roxbury, because the area is more densely populated than that around any comparable US site already housing biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) labs.

A March report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?