Colorado State University Regional Biocontainment Laboratory

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Contact Information

Director: Debra Horensky, MD

Animal Capabilities, including species and containment level(s)

  • Mice - ABSL2, ABSL3
  • Hamsters - ABSL2, ABSL3
  • Rabbits - ABSL2, ABSL3

Animal Models, including species, disease, and delivery method

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

  • Mice: F. tularensis (aerosol, intranasal, intradermal), Y. pestis (intranasal, sc), EEE virus, VEE virus (sc, aerosol), WEE virus (sc, aerosol), West Nile virus (sc, ip), C. immitis (intranasal), highly pathogenic avian influenza (intranasal)
  • Goats: Burkholderia pseudomallei (intranasal,sc), B.mallei (intranasal)
  • Sheep: Brucella abortus (ip), Brucella melitensis (ip), B. anthracis (in, sc)
  • Swine: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (intranasal)
  • Hamsters: Japanese encephalitis virus (sc), West Nile virus (sc, ip)
  • Rabbits: M. tuberculosis (inhalation), Non-tuberculocidal Mycobacterium complex (inhalation)
  • Ferrets: seasonal (H1/N3); highly pathogenic (H5/N1) and swine origin (H1N1) influenza viruses (intranasal)
  • Bats: (various viruses)
  • Mosquitoes: WNV, WEEV, Yellow Fever virus, Aedes aegypti, A. albopictus, Aedes (Ochlerotatus) triseriatus, Culex pipiens, C. tarsalis, C. tritaenorhyncus and Anopheles gambiae
  • Cats: Rabies virus
  • Camels: MERS
  • Birds: (various)
  • Reptiles: JEV
  • Amoeba: M. bovis and F. tularensis


Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, VEE virus, EEE virus, WEE virus, Rift Valley fever virus, Heartland virus; Dengue viruses (type 1, 2, 3 & 4), Semliki Forest virus, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya virus, Sindbis virus, O’Nyong-Nyong virus, West Nile Virus, Saint Louis Encephalitis virus, Powassan virus, LaCrosse virus, MERS virus; Coxiella burnetii, Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis, Brucella suis, Japanese encephalitis virus, yellow fever virus, West Nile virus, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, seasonal human influenza A viruses, rabies virus, Mycobactcerium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Non- tuberculocidal Mycobacterium complex;

Imaging Capabilities

Xenogen IVIS 100 Series machine with a 25 mm square cryogenically cooled CCD camera, contained within BSL-3 space.

Laboratory and Analytical Support

  • Immunology services: Flow Cytometry, Cytokine Bead array
  • Pathology services: Available via Veterinary Diagnostic Lab on campus
  • Microbiology services: Available via Veterinary Diagnostic Lab on campus  

Ability To Accommodate cGLP or cGMP Studies?

Both cGLP and cGMP are available.

Specialized Areas or Major Equipment Available

The Proteomics/Metabolomics Facility Laboratory has a Nanodrop spectrophotometer, a GenePix 4000B microarray scanner, and Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100, an Agilent Q-TOF mass spectrometer, an Agilent 1200 series liquid chromatograph system, a BioTek Synergy 2 multi-detection microplate reader, a ChemiDoc XRS multicolor fluorescent imaging system, an Eppendorf EP Motion 5075 VAC Liquid handling robotics system, Qpix Robot, and a BioRad ChipWriter Pro microarray printer.

The CSU Next Generation Sequencing Core (NGSC) provides leading-edge, cost-effective, NextGen Sequencing services to Colorado State University (CSU) researchers, academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations and private industry. The NGSC provides comprehensive services and support for current generation sequencing platforms on a fee-for-service basis. The Core’s services include project experimental design, sample preparation, library preparation, sequencing, basic bioinformatics data analysis, data management, and educational and training sessions for faculty, students, staff and external researchers. The Core’s primary focus is on custom projects designed to utilize NextGen Sequencing instruments, protocols and methods for novel, leading-edge NGS projects. Website:

The Biopharmaceutical Academic Resource Center (BioMARC) at CSU is a not-for profit service entity at Colorado State University (CSU) that specializes in the production of biologic products that require high containment facilities, including Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3), CDC tier 1 select agents, as well as spore forming microorganisms. BioMARC was created to fill a need for high containment biologics manufacturing in the US and has been working as a contract manufacturing organization since 2006, with contract experience for commercial manufacturing dating from 2009 that includes successful FDA and CDC inspections. BioMARC has experience in developing and optimizing product manufacturing processes (upstream and downstream) and related in-process and release test methods for biological therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostic products. To-date, BioMARC has brought a diagnostic parenteral product through clinical trial and commercial production, manufactured a virus vaccine for a phase I clinical study, established several master and working cell banks, developed and qualified cell based and analytical assays for product testing and release, and established a controlled process for manufacturing a therapeutic product for preclinical studies in non-human primates bridging to a phase I study in humans.

Shared Resources That Amplify and Expand Research Capabilities

The RMRBL is part of a 120,000 square foot Infectious Disease Research Center. Within the IDRC are multiple ABSL-3 animal handling rooms that comprises the Animal Models core with the capability of dealing with a multiplicity of animals, agents and delivery modalities, and a Next Generation Sequencing Core with an Illumina NextSeq, Illumina MiSeq, Ion Proton and Ion Torrent instruments. An 8,200 square foot cGMP manufacturing building is on site and validated, and there is an imaging facility designed for BSL 3 housing of MRI and SPEC-CT machines contiguous with the RMRBL BSL 3 space. ​​​​​​

Content last reviewed on November 14, 2016