Biocontainment Laboratory-George Mason University Institute for Biohealth Innovation

George Mason University's Biomedical Research Laboratory (BRL) is one of the NIAID supported Regional Biocontainment Laboratories. It operates as a central core facility in the Institute for Biohealth Innovation to advance research and develop novel diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines against viral and bacterial infectious agents by a diverse population of investigators.

More information about this resource is available at George Mason University Biomedical Research Laboratory

Main Areas of Focus

  • Generate advanced knowledge of pathogen biology and host interaction mechanisms;
  • Evaluate diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to counter the threat of bio-terrorism and newly emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases;
  • Serve a resource available and prepared to assist national, state, and local public health efforts in the event of a bioterrorism or infectious disease emergency; and
  • Train the future workforce to safely and appropriately handle infectious agents and conduct innovative research in BSL-3 environments

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 BRL directly for further information.

Support Services

  • ABSL-2 and ABSL-3 Animal Study Services: Animal procedure and assay development assistance to support submission for IACUC approval; Routine husbandry for infectious disease research; and Breeding colonies for research specific animal models.
  • Aerobiology Core: Nose only and whole-body exposures of animals to BSL-2 and BSL-3 aerosolized bacterial and viral pathogens. The available equipment can also be used to test aerosolized delivery of therapeutics and vaccines and detect aerosolized pathogens.
  • Animal Imaging: Non-invasive longitudinal monitoring of disease progression and organ function.
  • Bacterial and Virological Assay Services: Multiple assays are available to study BSL-2 and BSL-3 bacterial and viral pathogens.
  • Imaging and Cytometry Core: The imaging and cytometry core is equipped to support experiments such as the measurement of intracellular distributions of pathogens, investigation of intracellular host-events and immunomodulatory activities, and discovery and validation of biomarkers.
  • Other cores beyond the walls of the BRL are available including proteomics, genomics, metabolomics, nanotechnology, drug discovery, and vaccine development.

Ability to Accommodate cGLP or cGMP Studies?



Animal Capabilities, Including Species and Containment Level(s)

All available at BSL2 and BSL3 levels

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Hamsters
  • Rabbits
  • Ferrets

Animal Models, List Species, Disease and Delivery Method

Infectious and select agents can be delivered by intranasal, aerosol, intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, intravenous, and other injected methods.


Currently available pathogens include:

  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Brucella abortus
  • Brucella melitensis
  • Burkholderia mallei
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • Francisella tularensis
  • Rickettsia prowazekii
  • Yersinia pestis
  • Chikungunya Virus
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus
  • Dengue Virus
  • Rift Valley Fever Virus 
  • SARS-CoV-2 
  • Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus 
  • Western Equine Encephalitis Virus
  • West Nile Virus

Imaging Capabilities

  • Nikon TE-2000 confocal microscope equipped with a live
  • Caliper IVIS Lumina II Bioluminescence/Fluorescence
  • Mediso PET/CT
  • EVOS Cell Imaging System (BSL-2)

Major Equipment Available

  • Germfree Class III Hoodline and Mobile Cart
  • Biaera Automated Aerosol Generation System
  • BD FACS Aria II Flow Cytometer/Cell Sorter
  • Isoplexis Single Cell Array
  • ABI StepOnePlus Real Time PCR Instrument
  • Promega Discovery Plate Reader
  • Arcturus Laser Capture Microdissection
  • Ultra and High-Speed Centrifuge
  • Mesoscale – For multiplex cytokine arrays
  • Abaxis Piccolo blood chemistry analyzer 
  • Agilent Bioanalyzer
  • Bio-Rad Western blot and UV imager 

Shared Resources

Learn about additional research cores at Mason to compliment infectious disease work conducted in the BRL.

  • CAP/CLIA Clinical Proteomics Laboratory
  • Mass Spectrometry Laboratory 
  • Nanofabrication Laboratory 
  • Protein Microarray and Molecular Characterization Laboratory
  • Mason Metabolomics Facility 
  • MicroBiome Analysis Center 
  • NMR Laboratory
  • Small Molecule, Peptide, and Protein Engineering Spectroscopy Laboratory

Contact Information

Interim Director: Farhang Alem, PhD.

Shared Resources


  • Reverse Phase protein MicroArray pathway analysis: The NCBID has established strong collaborative relationships with the proteomics experts at GMU to enable studies that quantitate changes in host signaling proteins. The system is a unique protein microarray platform in conjunction with over 500 validated antibodies that span multiple innate immune responses of the human host. The system is backed by a unique informatics capability that enables data integration and pathway mapping.
  • Unbiased proteomics: The NCBID is equipped to perform mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS, MALDI-MS, LAESI-MS) based proteomics studies for obtaining quantitative and qualitative information on host responses.
  • Nanotrap, concentration for low abundance analytes
  • GC-MS
  • HPLC
  • FPLC

Contact Information