University of Pittsburgh Regional Biocontainment Laboratory

On this page

Contact Information

Director: Donald S. Burke, M.D.
Associate Director: Saleem Khan, Ph.D.

Animal Capabilities, including species and containment level(s)

  • Mice (ABSL2, ABSL3)
  • Rat/hamster (ABSL2, ABSL3)
  • Ferret (ABSL1, ABSL2, ABSL3)
  • Rabbit (ABSL1, ABSL2, ABSL3)
  • Nonhuman primate (ABSL2, ABSL3)

Animal Models, including species, disease, and delivery method

  • Mice: F. tularensis (aerosol, intranasal); Y. pestis (aerosol); VEE virus (sc,ic, aerosol); EEE virus (sc, ic, aerosol); West Nile virus (sc, ip); seasonal, novel H1N1; highly pathogenic avian influenza (intranasal, aerosol); Rift valley fever virus (in, sc, aerosol); West Nile virus (sc, ip); M. tuberculosis (aerosol); Chikungunya
  • Rats: Rift valley fever virus (sc, aerosol)
  • Rabbits: F. tularensis (aerosol, intradermal)
  • Ferrets: seasonal, H1N1, avian influenza
  • Nonhuman primates: M. tuberculosis (aerosol, intratracheal),; highly pathogenic influenza (in; aerosol); Rift valley fever virus (aerosol); alphaviruses (aerosol)


Currently approved for work with Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, VEE virus, EEE virus, WEE virus, Rift Valley fever virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, yellow fever virus, West Nile virus, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, monkeypox, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Bacillus anthracis.

Imaging Capabilities

  • CT/PET/X-ray capabilities at BSL2 and CT/PET/X-ray/IVIS Spectrum CT enhanced BSL3
  • Live Cell Microscopy at BSL2 and BSL3

Laboratory and Analytical Support

  • Immunology services: ELISA, flow cytometry, live cell sorting, ELISPOT, RT-PCR, live cell microscopy; pathogen- specific immunological assays
  • Pathology services: sample collection, blood counts, necropsy and tissue prep; H&E, immunostaining
  • ​Microbiology services: Inoculum prep; bacterial prep and titer (colony forming units); viral prep and titer (plaque forming units, TCID50)

Ability To Accommodate cGLP or cGMP Studies?


Specialized Areas or Major Equipment Available

All of the following specialized major equipment and resources are installed and available at BSL-3/enhanced BSL-3:

  • Aerobiology Core Facility
    • Baker Class III Glovebox for aerosol exposure of mice (nose-only or whole body), rats (nose-only or whole body), rabbits (nose-only or whole body), ferrets (nose-only or whole body), or NHPs (head only); animals transported using hepa filtered, battery powered mobile transfer carts.
    • Aerosol Management Platform (AeroMP, Biaera) to control flows and humidity in the exposure chamber, and record flow, pressure, humidity, and temperature.during whole-body and nose-only exposures.
    • Bosamplers and impingers to determine concentration of viable bacteria or yeast in infectious aerosols.
  • Live cell imaging microscopy core facility (confocal and flourescent microscopes)
  • Animal imaging (CT/PET/X-ray)
  • FACSAria cell sorter
  • Luminex multiplex biomarker
  • RT-PCR
  • Gel-DOC
  • High speed and Ultracentrifugation

Shared Resources That Amplify and Expand Research Capabilities

The RBL is located within the Center for Vaccine Research (CVR). The CVR maintains shared instrumentation including low and high speed centrifuges, beta and gamma spectrometers, spectrophotometers, fluorimeter, luminometer, densitometer, phosphorimager, BD LSRII flow cytometer, FACSAria cell sorter, Biacore 3000 and Luminex multiplex biomarker. The Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry Research Support Facility, located in the Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, also provides services for automated DNA synthesis and sequencing, protein sequencing, amino acid analysis, peptide synthesis (including GMP) and mass spectrometry.​​​​

Content last reviewed on November 14, 2016