Watertown Bio Safety Committee/ Biotechnology

Watertown Bio-Safety

The Watertown Biotechnology and the use of Recombinant DNA Molecule Technology regulation requires that all applicable companies within the Town of Watertown adhere to the most recent version of the NIH Guidelines for research involving recombinant or synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. Companies must also comply with the biosafety levels (BSL) and containment measures outlined in the most recent version of Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL)

Additionally, the regulation forms a Watertown Biosafety Committee (WBSC) that reviews registration and permit applications and makes recommendations to the Watertown Board of Health (BOH). The WBSC meets the first Thursday of every month.

Watertown Bio-Safety Committee Members

The WBSC is composed of five members: 

1) The Board of Health Chair Designee

  • Heather McManus, PhD 

Dr. McManus earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard Medical School and has hands-on experience with a wide range of molecular, biochemical, microbiological, and genetic techniques. She and her family have lived in Watertown for six years and hope to live here for many years to come. Dr. McManus is also an active participant in parent organizations affiliated with the Watertown Public Schools.

2) The Director of Public Health or their designee

  • Larry Ramdin, MPH, REHS, CHO, CP-FS - Watertown Director of Public Health/NEHA Region 9 RVP

3) An individual with knowledge of hazardous materials appointed by the Board of Health in consultation with the Watertown Fire Chief

  • Lt. David Meagher - Watertown Fire Department

LT Meagher has served 21+ years with the Watertown Fire Department and currently holds the position as EMS Coordinator and Training Officer for the department. He received his Pro Board certification as a Hazardous Materials Response Technician in 2005 and joined the Massachusetts Department of Fire Service Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team, District 2 in 2012. He is currently holds the position of District 2 Team Training Coordinator. Lt Meagher is a father of one and active in charitable organizations.

4) Two residents of Watertown with experience in biotechnology and appointed by the Board of Health

  • Deborah L. Mc Ewan, PhD

     Deb McEwan received her PhD in biology from Harvard University and completed her postdoctoral research at Massachusetts              General Hospital. She next co-founded a small start-up screening for novel therapeutics to treat rare genetic diseases and is currently a  scientist at a biotech specializing in precision oncology. Deb has published multiple peer-reviewed scientific articles and been awarded a  variety of research grants and patents. She moved to Watertown in 2015 and can often be found walking around the neighborhood with  her husband, two daughters, and very energetic puppy.

  • Bradford M. Parsons

Brad has lived in Watertown since 2005.  He became involved in town policy by joining the Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee a decade ago but stepped back from serving due to time constraints.  He is very excited to be back in the mix and brings nearly 20 years of environmental, health, and safety experience to the committee with a primary focus on EPA, MA DEP, OSHA, and DOT regulatory compliance in the laboratory.


Biotechnology - rDNA

Approved Applications

  • RBNC Therapeutics, Inc. (65 Grove Street) Permit and Registration

Pending Applications

  • Tectonic Therapeutic Inc (490 Arsenal Way Suite 210) Permit
  • Aldatu Biosciences (313 Pleasant Street) Registration