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Training Center

New facility

The state-of-the-art, high-containment lab training facility for UC Irvine’s BSL-3 Biosafety Training Program received a prestigious NIH National Training Center designation during a May 9, 2016 ribbon cutting ceremony.  It is only the third facility in the country to receive the designation.  The unique facility, the first of its kind in the nation, is a fully equipped laboratory with functional HVAC engineering that will only be used for training.

The lab facility allows practical training in a real-life setting but without the risks from hazardous materials and without the inconvenience of having to shut down and decontaminate fully operational laboratories.

Background

Impetus for the facility originated at the Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (PSWRCE), a UC Irvine-based center that was funded in May 2005 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The PSWRCE serves Region IX, which includes California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. It was one of eleven nationally-funded centers that supported the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases research agenda.

To accommodate an important and unmet need of the infectious diseases research community, the PSWRCE began a program of training for high-containment laboratory personnel. In 2006, UC Irvine partnered with the National Biosafety & Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP) to bring a comprehensive training program for Biosafety Officers & Operations and Maintenance (O&M) personnel to UC Irvine. 

Since that time, under grant support from the PSWRCE and University of California Office of the President (UCOP), UC Irvine has developed several new training programs to cover all personnel groups responsible for working inside or outside of BSL-3 laboratories.

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Integrated training approach

The UC Irvine concept of training is based on hybrid models of other training programs with a core concept of applying risk assessment and management with an integrated approach for all laboratory personnel – from the research staff to O&M and emergency first responders.

Since 2006, the UC Irvine program has trained over a thousand people from across the nation and worldwide. A UC Irvine BSL-3 laboratory had been used to facilitate these trainings. It became apparent in 2008 that this facility would eventually become unavailable for regular trainings due to increased research usage. The decision was made to explore options for developing a dedicated training facility.

In consultation with NIH, the NBBTP program and others, a preliminary design for a mock-laboratory training facility was conceived. To advance this concept, UC Irvine hired De La Secura, Inc. DBA DLS Builders to design and build the first fully functional (but mock) high-containment laboratory training facility in the nation. The facility is able to support all the UC Irvine training programs that are currently offered and those under development with fully operational equipment in a safe, non-hazardous environment. 

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Design features

Training Center

The 1600 sq. ft. facility consists of:

  • Classroom
  • Fully functional research BSL-3/ABSL-3 suites
  • Modular external facility equipment training area

The fully-equipped mock-lab modules has connecting anterooms, change rooms and shower area for personal protective equipment (PPE) donning/doffing and equipment decontamination areas.

The equipment and laboratory areas are directly visible via transparent walls to enable practical training of all personnel groups.  The entire training suite will also be equipped with HD video cameras to facilitate remote trainings. Since the facility will never be used as an operational lab, trainings can be conducted year round.

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