About the RBL


email this

The Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL) at Duke was the first RBL to begin operations, receiving its certificate of occupancy in December 2006. The BSL3 and ABSL3 areas of the building were certified by Global Biohazards Technologies in October 2007. The RBL holds a current Registration from the Centers for Disease Control for laboratory and animal work with Select Agents. The RBL at Duke was designed to satisfy or exceed all Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) and Animal BSL3 (ABSL3) requirements under the NIH-CDC Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. The BSL3 and ABSL3 areas of the building incorporate the following enhancements over routine BSL3 and ABSL3 standards:
  • Individual anterooms and autoclaves for each lab and animal suite
  • Shower out capacity for both ABSL3 suites, for select BSL3 rooms, and for the facility as a whole
  • Effluent treatment for all liquid waste
  • HEPA filtration of all exhaust air
  • Ventilation control system to prevent positive pressurization
  • Negative-pressure cage racks with supply and exhaust HEPA filtration
  • Hermetically-sealed mouse cages (can be immersed fully in germicide)
  • All room penetrations sealed (not just sealable) and confirmed
  • Validated decontamination sequence using vaporized hydrogen peroxide for each BSL3 and ABSL3 room
The facility meets and in many cases exceeds the requirements established by the CDC for BSL3 containment.  Enhancements to BSL3 include redundant mechanical systems, filtration of all exhaust air, and effluent treatment.  Aerobiology resources include two high-throughput whole-body chambers suitable for mice or guinea pigs and a nose-only chamber for mice, all in a Class III glove box.  Equipment in the BSL3 containment area of the RBL includes an IVIS (In Vitro Imaging System) and a FACSAria flow cytometer. The RBL can provide a wide range or immunological and biomarker analyses.  Personnel in the facility have decades of experience with animal models of infectious disease, including published animal models studies using tuberculosis, plague, influenza, poxviruses, nontuberculous mycobacteria, and cytomegalovirus.