Biocontainment Laboratory—University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL) is one of the NIAID-supported Biocontainment Laboratories. The RBL provides a secure lab for conducting research on Category A and B infectious pathogens using state-of-the-art molecular pathogenesis and immunologic approaches. The RBL continues to enhance University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s ability to compete for additional research projects in virology, bacterial pathogenesis and immunology.

More information about this resource is available at University of Tennessee Regional Biocontainment Laboratory

Main Areas of Focus

  • To test and evaluate small molecules, vaccines, and diagnostics to protect the general population from infectious diseases and bioterrorism.

How To Get Started

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.

Support Services

Laboratory and Analytical Support

  • Animal Models of Infection, including aerosol delivery
  • Pathogen Discovery: Animal, Human and Environmental Samples
  • Host Biomarker Discovery: Most Omic Technologies available
  • Immunology services: Flow cytometry, cell sorting, multiplex bead array system (Luminex).
  • Pathology services: Sample collection, necropsy, tissue harvest and processing.
  • Virology Services: seed stocks, TCID50, plaque assay, virus isolation, in vitro small molecule discovery
  • Microbiology services: Spiral plater, colony counter - automated

Ability To Accommodate cGLP or cGMP Studies?

Currently cGLP capable and operational in 1 ABSL-2 or ABSL-3 suite.


Animal Capabilities, Including Species and Containment Level(s)

Containment available at ABSL2 and ABSL3

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Cotton rat
  • Guinea pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Ferrets
  • Other small animals- on request

Animal Models, Including Species, Disease, and Delivery Method

Models with mice:

  • Borrelia burgdorferi (laboratory and clinical strains); Transdermal via needle and tick (Ixodes scapularis) challenge
  • Burkholderia pseudomallei; aerosol, intranasal, intradermal
  • Francesialla tularensis (aerosol, intranasal, intradermal)
  • Influenza BSL-2 strains (aerosol and intranasal)
  • Leptospira interrogans; Intraperitoneal, conjunctival, transdermal
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcal aureus
  • Middle-East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV)
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (aerosol and intranasal)
  • Old World hantaviruses
  • Respiratory Syncytial virus (intranasal)
  • Saccharopolyspora rectivirgula
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV)
  • Staphylococcus aureus (laboratory and clinical strains)
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (laboratory and clinical strains)
  • Venezuelan equine encephalitis viruses (aerosol and intranasal)
  • Western equine encephalitis viruses (aerosol and intranasal)
  • Other- available on request

Models with ferret:

  • Influenza BSL-2 strains (intranasal)
  • Influenza HPAI BSL-3 strains (intranasal)
  • SARS CoV BSL-3 strains (intranasal)


Currently approved for work with:

  • F. tularensis
  • B. pseudomallei
  • SARS-CoV

Imaging Capabilities

  • Xenogen IVIS spectrum
  • Deltavision, deconvoluting live cell microscopy with environmental chamber 

Major Equipment Available

  • Illumina MiSEQ                                            
  • BD FACS Aria flow cytometer/cell sorter
  • CH Technologies nose-only bioaerosol generator (BANG, mice only)
  • Luminex -LX200                                                      
  • Luminex MagPix                                                           
  • IVIS Spectrum                                                         
  • Perkin Elmer High throughput Janus Robots (one in BSL2, one in BSL3)
  • Perkin Elmer Envision plate readers (one in BSL2, one in BSL3)
  • BioTek  MultiFlo FX Multi-Mode Dispenser (one in BSL2, one in BSL3)
  • BioTek Synergy 2                      
  • Applied Biosystems Quant Studio 6 plex
  • Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer                                                                        
  • MicroCC-20Plus VET Hematology Analyzer
  • Respons 910 Diasys Chemistry Analyzer    

Shared Resources

  • Proteomic MS facility
  • Solid deep sequencing systems
  • Affymetrix-based global transcriptomic facility
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Transmission and scanning EM facility
  • BXD Mice platform
  • Gnotobiotic mouse facility

Contact Information