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Animal Biosafety Level 3 Facility

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Located in 4 Riverside Circle, the lab is certified for handling of specimens infected with indigenous or exotic agents, agents that present a potential for aerosol transmission, and agents causing serious or potentially lethal disease.



The ABSL3 lab is used to study infectious agents or toxins that may be transmitted through the air and cause potentially lethal infections. Researchers perform all experiments in a biosafety cabinet. The lab is designed to be easily decontaminated and uses controlled air flow to ensure that air flows from non-laboratory areas into laboratory areas.

Users must enter through two self-closing, interlocked doors, sealed windows, floors and walls, and filtered ventilation systems. The lab is equipped to decontaminate laboratory waste.

  • Access to the laboratory is restricted and controlled at all times.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn, and respirators might be required.
  • All work with infectious agents or toxins must be performed within an appropriate biosafety cabinet.

All charges are per hour


Internal (12990)

  • O&M Fund (230284):  $500
  • Equipment Replacement Fund (230285): $0
  • Internal Total: $500


External (12997)

  • O&M Fund (230284): $500
  • Equipment Replacement Fund (230285): $0
  • Subtotal: $500

External (12920)

  • O&M Fund (230284): $0
  • Equipment Replacement Fund (230285): $305
  • Subtotal $305
  • External Total: $805

A phase contrast and fluorescence microscope. Live- and fixed-imaging in brightfield/phase contrast and equipped with LEDs for fluorescence imaging in Ex: 357/44 Em: 447/60, Ex: 470/22 Em: 525/50, and Ex: 585/29 Em: 628/32. Imaging of live and actively infected preparations can be easily and safely performed on this system with 4x, 10x, 20x, 40x, and 100x objectives.

Thermo Fisher Scientific EVOS M5000 Imaging System

Multimode microplate reader capable of absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence measurement from multiwall plates. Live and actively infected preparations can easily and safely be used in this instrument.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Varioskan LUX Multimode Microplate Reader

Permits sectioning of fixed and unfixed tissues from infected animals.

 Thermo Fisher Scientific Cryostar NX50 Cryostat
[Image Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific]

Rodent housing unit allows for coronavirus infection models and associated necessary containment.

BCU-2 Sealed Negative Pressure IVC
[Image Source: Allentown]

Access is currently restricted to ABSL3 facility staff who will undertake required work.

  • To utilize the facility, interested faculty should contact facility director Michael Zeitz and facility faculty director James Smyth to describe proposed work and discuss feasibility.
  • Work will be scheduled and undertaken by facility staff.
  • Samples may be inactivated and rendered BSL-2 for further processing/analysis by researchers outside of the ABSL3 facility if needed.
  • All work undertaken requires Fralin Biomedical Research Institute ABSL3 staff involved be included as authors on any publication and given appropriate effort on grant proposals arising from work.

Currently the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute ABSL3 facility is approved to provide cell- and animal-model systems of human coronavirus infection, including SARS-CoV-2, NL63, and OC43.

Cell-based and in vitro services

  • Viral replication assays
  • Cell viability assays
  • Live cell imaging
  • Live multi-well plate reading (absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence)
  • Protein and/or RNA isolation
  • Phase contrast and fluorescence widefield microscopy

Animal models

  • ABSL3 housing
  • Cryosectioning of infected tissues
  • Perfusion and fixation
  • Protein and/or RNA extraction from tissues

All work undertaken requires Fralin Biomedical Research Institute ABSL3 staff involved be included as authors on any publication and given appropriate effort on grant proposals arising from work.

Please note: Anyone planning to use this facility must coordinate with the facility director. Access to the third floor of 4 Riverside Circle is restricted.

ABSL3 Lab: Room 3120, 4 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA

Parking at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute: During business hours, visitors may park in designated visitor parking places at the entrance to the parking garage at 2 Riverside Circle. Visitors may also park on the 2nd - 6th floors of the parking garage located at 5 Riverside Circle. On nights and weekends, visitors may park anywhere in the 5 Riverside parking garage, as well as the surface lot and parking deck. All parking is free.


Facility director
Michael Zeitz, Ph.D.

Facility Faculty Director
James Smyth, Ph.D.