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Welcome Message from the Director

Gary Landucci
Gary Landucci, Director, BSL-3 Biosafety Training Program

Recent outbreaks of influenza, West Nile virus, Hantavirus, and Zika virus infections underscore the importance of research on emerging infectious diseases. In addition, there is always concern about biological agents being used as weapons, and there is an urgent need to develop vaccines and treatments for those and many other viral and bacterial infectious agents.

Research on emerging infections and potential bioweapons is generally conducted in special laboratories known as high-containment or Biosafety Level 3 facilities. These facilities allow researchers to work with dangerous pathogens in a way that protects their safety and the safety of the public. There are thousands of these labs throughout the US.


The high-containment laboratories are very complex in design, and individuals involved with them require extensive training. Training not only applies to the researchers who, on a regular basis, work inside the labs, but also applies to individuals who are assigned to design, engineer, maintain, and verify the performance of these labs. In addition, first responders require knowledge and training on the proper and safe way to do their jobs if they should be called for an emergency in a high-containment laboratory.

In view of the extensive need for training, over the past ten years, UC Irvine has developed specialized training programs for personnel working inside or outside of high-containment laboratories. Through these programs, supported by funding from the NIH, we have trained over 1300 researchers, operations personnel and first responders from across the US and abroad.

We have now taken a major step by establishing a state-of-the-art, high-containment lab training facility on the UC Irvine campus. This unique facility includes a fully equipped laboratory with sophisticated engineering and HVAC system that will only be used for training. This allows practical training in a real-life setting but without the risks from biohazardous materials and without the inconvenience of having to shut down and decontaminate fully operational laboratories.

This multi-million dollar training facility was made possible by funding from the NIH, UC Irvine School of Medicine, and over $1 million in corporate sponsorship.  It is the first of its type in the nation and allows the UC Irvine training program to expand and fulfill the growing need for highly qualified personnel in support of national and international infectious disease research goals.

 

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