Boston Blog

BU’s biolab makes it to level-2, still seeking level-4 approval

Massachusetts environmental regulator recognized that there is a big difference between TB and Ebola. So, last week, they granted Boston University permission to begin using their

new biolab to work on bio safety level-2 materials.

From the Globe:

For years, the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory — a high-security biolab designed to allow scientists to conduct research on the world’s deadliest germs, such as Ebola and plague — has been tied up by legal challenges and regulatory reviews.

As the legal process dragged on, the 192,000-square-foot building has sat largely empty. In August, BU sought a waiver from the state to proceed with research on less hazardous materials …

A spokeswoman for BU said today that the university is not abandoning plans to eventually use about 16 percent of the building, located on its medical campus in the South End, as a biosafety level-4 lab. However those plans are still undergoing an environmental safety review by the National Institutes of Health.

Here’s BU’s take on the decision from the In-house web site, BU Today:

The first research scheduled for the state-of-the-art facility would consist of two projects involving nonpathogenic tuberculosis. One study, led by James Galagan, a College of Engineering associate professor of biomedical engineering and a scientist at the Broad Institute, will use computational biology, genomics, and lab work to study the genetic on/off switches of a nonpathogenic relative of the bacterium that causes TB..

The second project, under the direction of Igor Kramnik, a MED associate professor of medicine and director of MED’s Aerobiology Core, will explore the interaction between the vaccine strain of TB and mammalian hosts. Kramnik hopes to learn more about which factors confer resistance to the bacterium.


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