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Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory

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The Northwestern University BSL-3 Core Lab Facility is a newly commissioned biocontainment level three (BSL-3) facility constructed and designed to support research, both in vitro and in vivo, with infectious agents requiring a higher level of biosafety containment. The facility helps researchers further the understanding and development of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for potentially life-threatening infectious diseases. The facility also provides access to space and equipment configured for high containment experimentation, hands-on training, protocol development and consultation in a shared workspace. The facility houses one ABSL-3 room and one BSL-3 room fully equipped for agent expansion and animal housing including CO2 incubators, biosafety cabinets, centrifuges, microisolator cage rack, etc. Use of the BSL-3 Core Lab Facility will require approval of an experimental plan by the Institutional Biosafety Committee and all users of the facility will be required to undergo BSL-3 specific training.

The BSL-3 facility is required by federal regulations to necessitate specific training for preventing the loss, release, or theft of an infectious agent. Hands-on training for each user includes the proper use and decontamination of laboratory equipment, non-aerosolizing pipetting techniques, record keeping, waste disposal, emergency procedures, doffing, and donning of personal protective equipment etc. During the in-lab training, trainees will gain an in-depth understanding of how to apply the principles of biosafety to best laboratory practices and become comfortable with the safe execution of research in the facility.


  • Three Class II, Type A2 Biosafety Cabinets (including one in the ABSL-3)
  • Two 160L Direct heat CO2 Incubators
  • 3M Versaflo PAPRs (must supply your personal hood)
  • Eppendorf Centrifuge 5425 with rotors for tubes and micorplates
  • Olympus CKX53 cell culture microscope with Fluorescence and EP50 Wifi camera
  • -80C freezer
  • Allentown sealed negative pressure animal containment rack (ABSL-3)

Working in the BSL-3 Core Lab

To initiate a project within the BSL-3 Core Lab, investigators must complete the BSL3 Intake Form. Once the project is reviewed and approved by the IBC, there will be a project initiation meeting followed by specialized training for use of the BSL-3. Users need to demonstrate knowledge of BSL3 lab protocols to the facility manager before using the facility.

The final request for access must be approved by the manager of the BSL3 and the Biological Safety Officer.




Tiffany Johnson


Chicago Campus


All manuscripts and grants presenting work supported by this core should include the following acknowledgement:

“This work was supported by Northwestern University’s BSL-3 Core Lab Facility.”