Frequently Asked Questions

What is the advantage of an aerosol challenge? 

For many pathogens, infection occurs through the respiratory tract. Aerosol exposure can provide a more relevant model of human disease as compared to traditional exposure methods. Experimental studies conducted with aerosol exposure models can better predict vaccine and therapeutic efficacy in humans.

Is the RBL approved for use of Select Agents?  

Yes, the University of Pittsburgh RBL has approval from the CDC Select Agent Program. The Pitt RBL also has approval from the USDA for use of agricultural pathogens such as avian influenza.

What does it mean that the University of Pittsburgh RBL facility is BSL-3 enhanced?  

A “BSL-3 enhanced” facility means that engineering controls and safety requirements exceed those of a standard BSL-3 laboratory. The University of Pittsburgh supported facility enhancements including an effluent decontamination system and increased HEPA filtration that allow the use of certain USDAregulated agricultural pathogens such as avian influenza. 

What if I am interested in an agent that is not currently in use in the facility?  

Please contact the RBL Biosafety Officer Kathryn Board. The facility can accommodate numerous BSL-3 pathogens.  Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis..

Can outside scientists work in the University of Pittsburgh RBL?  

Yes, scientists from outside the University of Pittsburgh can work in the RBL through a collaboration or contract. Outside scientists must comply with all University of Pittsburgh training, documentation, regulatory, and medical requirements.