Retro Mason: Biomedical Research Lab Opening 2010

women in protective gear in a lab

On June 10, 2010, George Mason University opened the Biomedical Research Laboratory (BRL) on the Science and Technology Campus in Prince William County. Here, Mason researchers have been able to advance their groundbreaking work on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases.

The construction of this biocontainment laboratory, one of only 13 in the country when it was built, was funded in part with grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

The $50 million, 52,000-square-foot facility is located on a secure 10-acre site adjacent to the campus and features more than 18,500 square feet of lab space comprising BSL-2 open-design laboratories with cell culture suites, preparation areas, and a microscopy room. The facility is also equipped with ABSL-2 spaces, a surgery suite, BSL-3 laboratories, ABSL-3 suites and a necropsy suite.

men cutting a ribbon
In 2010, Mason President Alan Merten cuts the ribbon on the new Biomedical Research Laboratory with help from Charles J. “Chuck” Colgan and former Virginia governor and U.S. Senator George Allen.

“The dedication of Mason’s BRL is another giant step forward in growing our biotech industry and revving up Virginia’s economic engine,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner at the facility’s dedication.

Charles Bailey, the lab's founding director and executive director of Mason’s National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, agreed that this facility is quickly becoming an economic driver for Mason and the region.

“The laboratory and campus have already served as magnets for out-of-state biotechnology companies interested in moving to Northern Virginia,” said Bailey, who retired earlier this year, at the 2010 dedication. “By bringing new research jobs to Prince William County, we hope that the facility will lead to significant economic growth.”

The facility, which is managed by Mason's Institute for Biohealth Innovation, is fully approved and licensed for work by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The BRL is also fully accredited by AAALAC (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care).

Photo credits: Evan Cantwell/Creative Services