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NIMFFAB Labs

NIMFFAB has an active mission of creating, honing, and validating microbe detection techniques, in food, water, crop plants, insects and animals, as well as studying insect vectors of plant, animal and human pathogens.

Faculty scientists and graduate research assistants work in a highly specialized microbiology Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) laboratories in the Henry Bellman Research Center. BSL 2 laboratories are required for scientists who work with exotic or potentially high consequence pathogens. These labs have to be very attuned to operations with respect to:

  • Biosafety: safety of lab personnel and visitors,
  • Biocontainment: assuring that high consequence microbes do not ‘escape’ from the lab, and
  • Biosecurity: assuring that unauthorized people do not get into the lab.

 

Therefore, the NIMFFAB BSL2 laboratories have specialized procedures, equipment, and training. The labs are access controlled via monitored key cards and locked doors and sealed windows to provide Biosecurity. People who enter the labs must be trained, registered and escorted at all times. Every person in the lab is equipped with personal protective equipment (ppe= lab coats, disposable gloves, shoe covers, hair nets, etc.) and are trained in the proper order for donning and doffing the equipment and washing up before leaving the lab. Scientists working with high consequence microorganisms use biosafety cabinets and have access to emergency supplies and installations in the case of an accidental spill or release of a chemical or organism in the lab, to assure the Biosafety of all personnel. Finally, the lab is equipped with impermeable work surfaces, autoclaves, biohazard bags, and plenty of disinfectants to assure the Biocontainment of the organisms being handled. Nothing leaves the lab that has not been washed, autoclaved, or decontaminated with disinfectant.

The BSL2 laboratories are inspected annually by the Oklahoma State University Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and there are regular and surprise visits by inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA. Auditors look for documentation that there has been comprehensive training of everyone who works in the lab, and specific training of visitors. The IBC, CDC, and APHIS inspectors will look for documentation of inspection, maintenance and calibration of all equipment, as well as for the written protocols that will be used by the scientists as they handle high consequence organisms.