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What is Dual Use Research?

Dual Use Research is defined as projects that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security. More specifically, the US Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern (“Policy for Institutional DURC Oversight”) defines DURC as involving one of the agents/toxins below AND is also used in one of the stated Experiments of Concern.

Nonattenuated forms of:
Bacteria: Viruses:
Bacillus anthracis Avian influenza virus (highly pathogenic)
Burkholderia mallei Ebola virus
Burkholderia pseudomallei Foot-and-mouth disease virus
Clostridium botulinum (toxin-producing strains) Marburg virus
Francisella tularensis Reconstructed 1918 influenza virus
Yersinia pestis Rinderpest virus
Variola major and minor virus
Botulinum neurotoxin (any quantity)

Experiments of Concern:

  • Enhances the harmful consequences of the agent or toxin;
  • Disrupts immunity or the effectiveness of an immunization against the agent or toxin without clinical and/or agricultural justification;
  • Confers to the agent or toxin resistance to clinically and/or agriculturally useful prophylactic or therapeutic interventions against that agent or toxin or facilitates their ability to evade detection methodologies;
  • Increases the stability, transmissibility, or the ability to disseminate the agent or toxin;
  • Alters the host range or tropism of the agent or toxin;
  • Enhances the susceptibility of a host population to the agent or toxin;
  • Generates or reconstitutes an eradicated or extinct agent or toxin listed under agents and toxins of concern.

Identification and Management of DURC

DURC is identified through the IBC registration form. If the IBC agrees that the research qualifies as DURC, it will be submitted to the DURC Committee to further review. This Committee will work with you to create a Risk Mitigation Plan that will be required by NIH, in addition, to any other USG agency that is providing the funding. It is important to note that this Plan will be required whether or not the project is funded by a USG agency.

Please review the Tufts University/Tufts Medical Center Policy on Dual Use Research of Concern for additional information.

Who Can I Contact for More Information?

Valerie Parkison, the IACUC/IBC Regulatory Director can be reached at (617) 636-5612 or by email at

Melanie Marketon, the Biosafety Manager, can be reached by email at