Biocontainment Laboratory: Boston University National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory

The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) is part of a national network of secure facilities studying infectious diseases that are—or have the potential to become—major public health concerns

More information about this resource is available at Boston University NIEDL

Main Areas of Focus

  • To perform cutting-edge research on emerging infectious diseases and to develop diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines to promote the public’s health through combating infectious diseases.
  • To provide training in these areas of research and to support a national response in the event of a biodefense emergency.
  • To establish a research facility with the highest attention to community and laboratory safety and security.

Who Can Use This Resource

  • Investigators in academia, not-for-profit organizations, industry, and government studying biodefense and emerging infectious diseases may request the use of biocontainment laboratories.

How To Get Started

  • Please contact the NEIDL directly for further information.

Support Services

Laboratory and Analytical Support

  • Immunology services: BSL3/4-BD LSRII flow cytometer, BioRad Bio-plex protein array 200 system, including Bio-plex II wash station, Miltenyi magnetic bead separators, CTL BiospotTM S5 Macro Analyzer and software, Molecular Devices absorbance plate reader for endpoint and kinetic assays.
  • Pathology services: Full anatomic pathology services for rodents and non human primates including light microscopy and immunohistochemistry, Clinical Pathology services including Drew Scientific Hemavet 950 FS multi-species automated hematology system, Abaxis Vetscan VS2 Clinical Chemistry Analyzers, Piccolo Xpress Chemistry Analyzer, Two Diagnostica Stago Coagulation Analyzers.
  • Microbiology services: BSL-4: All in vivo studies as well as in vitro studies have access to classic microbiological and molecular biology assays to further understand infection and disease. Virus isolation, quantitative titration of viral load in swab, blood, tissue and cell culture models, serum neutralization using limiting dilution/plaque assays are all performed in a Specimen Processing Core.

cGLP or cGMP Capabilities

  • The NEIDL research/animal laboratories have been constructed to be GLP compatible and plans are in place to carry out “well documented” and GLP studies as needed.

Specialized Areas

Additional specialized research support services, including all necessary equipment, are provided by the following Cores: Aerobiology- Utilizes modern aerobiological techniques for the delivery of aerosolized category A – C pathogens to model human respiratory infections in appropriate experimental mammalian species ranging from inbred mice to non-human primates.

  • Animal Vivaria and Services – Acts as the central support for all research projects utilizing animal models and is also responsible for assuring that all use of animals is humane and complies with all relevant policies and legal requirements.
  • Vector Transmitted Infectious Diseases – Facilitates investigations of the vector-pathogen-reservoir- intermediate host interactions that are critical to vector transmitted infectious diseases including the BSL-4 viruses that are vector transmitted and supports model systems for the study of BSL-4 virus interactions with arthropods (planned).
  • Collaborative Research – The gateway through which non-NEIDL investigators can access and utilize NEIDL BSL-4 facilities and capacities to further their research programs. Investigators from outside BU can also take advantage of the rich resources of the NEIDL and BU environments by becoming NEIDL Investigators.


Animal Capabilities

  • NHP (BSL3, BSL4)
  • Mouse (BSL3, BSL4)
  • Hamster (BSL3, BSL4)
  • Rat (BSL3, BSL4)
  • Guinea Pig (BSL3, BSL4)
  • Ferret (BSL3, BSL4)
  • Rabbit (BSL3, BSL4)

ABSL3 and ABSL4 facilities have dedicated procedure space adjacent to each holding room, as well as aerobiology and insectary in ABSL3 and ABSL4, and dedicated imaging suites, including a fixed MRI unit in the ABSL4. The NEIDL is adjacent to the Animal Sciences Center with extensive animal facilities.

Animal Models

A=aerosol, IN=intranasal, S=subcutaneous, O=oral, IP=intraperitoneal, T=transthorasic, IC=intracerebral, ID=intradermal, IM= intramuscular, IT= intratracheal, IV=intravenous, M=mosquito, IN=intranasal, INH=intrahepatic, INR=intratracheal

  • Francisella tularensis: mouse (A, ip)
  • Yersinia pestis: mouse (A, ip)
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis: mouse (A, ip)
  • Ebola virus: NHP (IM, IN), mouse (ip, in), guinea pig (ip, in)
  • Marburg virus: guinea pig (in, ip), NHP

Appropriate animal models to be developed with delivery systems for

  • Lassa fever virus
  • Hantavirus (e.g. Sin Nombre, Andres)
  • Japanese encephalitis virus
  • Eastern Equine Encephaliti virus
  • Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis virus
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Henipaviruses (Hendra, Nipah)
  • Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus
  • West Nile virus
  • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus
  • MERS



  • Marburg virus
  • Ebola virus
  • Nipah virus
  • Hendra virus
  • South American Haemorrhagic Fever viruses (e.g. Guanarito, Junin, Machupo, Sabia)
  • Tick-borne encephalitis complex viruses (e.g. Central European Tick-borne encephalitis, Far Eastern Tick-borne encephalitis, Kyasanur Forest disease, Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Russian Spring and Summer encephalitis)
  • Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus
  • Lassa fever virus

BSL4 or 3

  • Andes hantavirus
  • Highly pathogenic influenza viruses


  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis, including MDR and XDR
  • Francisella tularensis
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Yersinia pestis
  • SARS-CoV
  • Rift Valley Fever Virus
  • Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis viruses
  • Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus
  • West Nile Virus
  • Japanese encephalitis virus

Imaging Capabilities

  • Cell and tissue-at BSL3/4: Leica DIM3000 fluorescent microscope Leica TCS SP5 II AOBS 405 UV spectral confocal microscope, Ludin environmental chamber and active CO2 for super-Z series imaging, AOBS and Laser ROYB / HeNe red, HeNe orange, DPSS & Argon, Filterblocks (FITC, EGFP, TRITC, DsRed and CY5), Microscope air table Leica VT1200 vibratome, Semiautomatic vibrating blade microtome for sectioning fixed or unfixed tissues.
  • Whole Animal Imaging at BSL4: Bruker 4.7 T MRI with 40 cm bore IVIS Spectrum from Caliper/Xenogen; Neurologica CereTom 16 slice portable CT scanner, 32cm free access multimodal stereotaxic frames; Custom Image Analysis Software for co-registration across imaging modalities.

Shared Resources

  • Various core facilities on the medical campus  are available to NEIDL investigators.
  • Core facilities on the BU campus expand our capabilities as well.
  • In addition, a variety of services are available through the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

Other specialized services available to the BU community are accessible through

  • Photonics Center
  • Department of Chemistry (Center for Molecular Discovery)
  • School of Engineering (systems biology and engineering, synthetic biology)

For computational work, BU excels in

  • Bioinformatics
  • Computer science (Rafik Hariri Center Instititute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering)

BU is a founding member of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center  which enables “big data” storage and management.

Contact Information