The BRL is equipped to support a wide range of BSL-2 and BSL-3 in vitro studies that encompass molecular biology, virology, bacteriology, vaccine and therapeutic development, host-pathogen interactions, and biomarker discovery. The in vitro laboratories are used by Mason faculty and students conducting innovative and collaborative research. A BRL research services team is also available to support both GMU faculty and external partners from academia, not-for-profit organizations, industry, and government studying biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. Faculty research teams and BRL staff have expertise in:
- Protocol and assay development
- Western blot
- Analysis of host-pathogen interactions
- Ultra and high-speed centrifugation
- Multiplex cytokine arrays
Assays for BSL-2 and BSL-3 bacterial pathogens are available, which include microbial identification through biochemical assays or 16S rRNA, compound library and combinational library screening, minimal inhibitor concentration (MIC) assays, minimal bactericidal concentration (MRC) assays, time-kill kinetic assays, resistance development/mutant selection, and microbial quantitation.
Imaging and Cytometry Core
The imaging and cytometry core is equipped to support experiments such as the measurement of intracellular distributions of pathogens, investigation of intracellular host-events and immunomodulatory activities, and discovery and validation of biomarkers. The BRL research services staff is available to train new users, provide expertise in study design and data analysis, and conduct studies. Currently available equipment includes:
- Nikon Ti2 Wide Field Fluorescence microscope
- Arcturus Laser Capture Microscope
- Nikon AXR Confocal Microscope (coming soon)
- BD FACSAria II cell sorter and analyzer
Multiple assays are available for studying BSL-2 and BSL-3 viral strains. Capabilities include quantification of viral loads, monitoring the course of host-cell infection, plaque reduction neutralization assays for vaccine development, and compound library and combinational library screening for therapeutics such as small molecule inhibitors, antibodies, and antivirals.