Note to Editors: Broadcast quality audio files, video, graphics and other biocontainment laboratory information are available for download on the Web at www.rbl.colostate.edu.
Colorado State University today was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to construct a $22.1 million laboratory facility that will expand the university’s ongoing, world recognized work in infectious disease and biodefense research as part of national efforts to improve biosecurity around the country.
The new research facility funded by the grant package will add to an already impressive federal and university effort centered on the Colorado State campus, and will further cement Colorado State as a leading international site for infectious disease research including West Nile virus, drug resistant tuberculosis, yellow fever, dengue, hantavirus and others.
The new facility will work in conjunction with the university’s Rocky Mountain Institute for Biosecurity Research, an initiative that partners with eight rocky mountain land grant universities where research and outreach capabilities are focused on protecting the nation’s human and economically important plant and animal resources.
"With this research support, the federal government recognizes Colorado State’s world-class expertise in biosecurity and infectious disease research, and the important role our university must play in cooperation with federal partners in addressing a pressing national need," said Larry Edward Penley, president of Colorado State. "Through this facility, Colorado State will even more firmly establish itself as a leader in infectious disease research in the nation and the world."
In the announcement today, NIAID awarded the grant to construct a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at Colorado State. The grant will fund a 33,850-square-foot laboratory to expand the ability to conduct ongoing infectious disease research at the university’s Foothills Research Campus. The new lab will complement similar research already underway at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s infectious disease program as well as the university’s existing Bioenvironmental Hazards Research Building and its Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory.
"Taken as a whole, there really is no better site in the nation for this vital research," said Anthony Frank, vice president of research and information technology at Colorado State. "The expertise of our faculty and our federal research partners, combined with these state-of-the-art facilities, make an unbeatable combination."
Colorado State was selected to receive the grant and house the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory in large part because of the university’s long history and proven track record of safe and innovative research in infectious diseases.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the subsequent use of anthrax as a terrorist weapon, NIAID has dramatically increased funding for research in infectious and emerging diseases. Both the research and public-health capacity needed to study, develop and implement prevention and treatment of diseases from natural outbreaks or terrorist attacks are currently limited in scope and funding. Colorado State’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory will help fill these gaps.
The core of the new research facility is a state-of-the-art laboratory ensuring safe research on emerging infectious diseases, including investigations of potential bioterrorism agents. The new Regional Biocontainment Laboratory will be used to conduct research involving biological materials similar to those already safely being studied on the Foothills Campus. The laboratory can provide national testing surge capacity in the event of a declared national emergency.
"Colorado State has a long history of strength in infectious disease research, pathology, immunology and biosecurity with many currently ongoing federally funded research projects," said Frank. "This grant is allowing us to boost the university’s ongoing strength in a vital national research arena while meeting regional and national public health needs."
The advanced scientific laboratory will provide critical research capacity and facilities for Colorado State scientists and other qualified investigators from government, academia and industry to develop new vaccines, therapies and diagnostics for pathogens identified as priorities by the NIH.
"The new lab will help Colorado State recruit top scientists and increase collaborative work with researchers throughout the region," said Hank Gardner, associate vice president for research and information technology, and director of Colorado State’s Rocky Mountain Institute for Biosecurity Research.
Additional information about the RBL is available online at www.rbl.colostate.edu.