George Mason University dedicates new biomedical research lab

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George Mason University formally dedicates the university’s new biomedical research laboratory (BRL) at its Prince William County campus today.

George Mason’s BRL is the newest of only 13 regional biocontainment laboratories that are being built with grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The grants are part of a nationwide effort to advance the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

The dedication of the lab was the culmination of a five-year building project that began in 2005 when George Mason was awarded a $27.7 million grant from NIAID. The university provided approximately $20.3 million in matching funds, and the Commonwealth of Virginia committed $2.5 million for land acquisition under former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

The laboratory is a $50 million, 52,000-square-foot high-security facility located on a 10-acre site adjacent to George Mason’s Prince William campus in Manassas. It includes more than 20,000 square feet of lab space.

The BRL is managed by Mason’s National Center for Biodefense and Infections Diseases, whose mission is to address the threats of bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases. It includes biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories where George Mason researchers will researchnew vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to protect individuals against bioterrorism and infectious diseases. Research will focus on newly emerging diseases such as Rift Valley Fever and influenza viruses, as well as on pathogens such as anthrax, plague and tularemia considered by the U.S. government to be potential bioterror threats.

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