Virology at the RBL

The RBL Virology Unit is a service component of the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at Duke (housed in GHRB). The Virology Unit was created to provide world-class quality-controlled support for virus research requiring up to and including enhanced biosafety level 3 containment. In addition to the influenza program the Virology Unit has expertise in work with influenza virus, coronaviruses, alphaviruses, flaviviruses, poxviruses, rotavirus, and vesicular stomatitis virus.

The primary focus of the Virology Unit has been the development of a comprehensive portfolio of influenza assays and services. We are currently approved for work with mouse-adapted, human historic/contemporary, low/highly pathogenic avian and Select Agent influenza strains. A major accomplishment of the group is establishment of a ferret model of influenza challenge which is now available for strains requiring ABSL2 containment. In response to COVID-19 the Unit has developed assays and services to support SARS-CoV-2 research.

Unit Manager:  

Trey Oguin, PhD

(919) 681-3072

Quality-controlled virus stock propagation

  • BSL2, BSL3 and Select Agent
  • Tissue culture propagation

Viral load quantification

  • Plaque/focus forming unit assays
  • Tissue culture infectious dose 50% assays
  • Hemagglutination units assay (Influenza)

Virus serology assays

  • Hemagglutination inhibition assay (Influenza)
  • MicroNeutralization assay
  • Plaque reduction neutralization test

In vivo challenge models including sample procurement and processing from infected animals (see Animal Support)

  • Human influenza in ferrets
  • Mouse-adapted influenza in mice
  • Rabbitpox in rabbits
  • SARS-Cov-2 (in development)

Development of project-specific virology support assays

  • Track record working with flaviviruses, human cytomegalovirus, influenza viruses, coronaviruses, human rotavirus, poxviruses, and vesicular stomatitis virus

Assay Request & Sample Submission Tool

Step 1:  Download and complete the appropriate sample submission manifest

Step 2:  Complete the Assay Request Form 


Influenza Assay / Animal Model Request (form link)

  • To be used by CIVICS investigators to submit requests for animal studies and RUO assay support
  • Download required RUO assay sample submission manifest 

CIVICs Assay Guidance

Please Note:   These links/forms are for the exclusive use of Duke CIVICS program investigators.

Use Fees/Rates

Current approved rates for Duke Investigators can be seen in CoreResearch@Duke (Core D-0031).

CoreResearch@Duke can also be used to request an ESTIMATE for a grant or contract proposal.

Service Requests and Estimates

Internal Duke users:  

  • How to submit a New Request (all other services) (instructions)

External Non-Profit Institution users:

  • A signed Research Analysis Quote and Agreement (RAQA) and Purchase Order (PO) will be needed from your institution.
  • Contact Unit manager for a price quote to get the process started.

Non-Duke For-Profit Entity users:

  • Duke Shared Resources can only provide services to For-Profit Entities under a signed Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA)
  • The collaborative research project must have a defined research question, scope of work, budget, and timeline.
  • Contact Unit manager to get the process started.

Current library of influenza viruses available for assay support:





A/Solomon Islands/03/2006

A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 (PR8)













Directions to the RBL and Parking Information (contact us)

How to acknowledge work done in our facility:

Please acknowledge our facility in any publications/presentations:  “____ was provided under the management of Dr. Thomas "Trey" Oguin, III and direction of Dr. Gregory D. Sempowski in the Virology Unit of the Duke Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL), which received partial support for construction from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (UC6-AI058607; G20-AI167200).”