Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory (BSL-3)

Published: 28 September, 2016

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About Us

Research and diagnosis of infectious Risk Group 3 (RG3) biological agents require specially designed Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories, operating procedures and practices to ensure the personal, communal, and environmental protection. The Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) Core Facility established in November 2014 at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) is the largest research-focused biocontainment facility in Singapore. The facility supports research and diagnostic work involving a range of RG3 biological agents. It is certified by the Biosafety Branch of the Singapore Ministry of Health and the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), NParks, Singapore.

The state-of-the-art 650m2 facility situated in the Centre for Translational Medicine (MD6 building) on the NUS Kent Ridge campus, is equipped with a range of laboratory equipment with advanced technologies (including flow cytometers, aerosolization machine for establishing infectious disease mouse models and PET/CT imaging to evaluate various organ and tissue functions in animals). Associate Professor Justin Chu Jang Hann serves as the Director of the BSL-3 Core Facility, directing a team of skilled personnel who operates the facility as well as assists in performing in vitro and in vivo work with RG3 pathogens. Currently, the facility is open to researchers from NUS and other non-NUS institutions, including scientists from outside Singapore, to conduct their research on RG3 biological agents. It also supports the Singapore National Public Health Laboratory activities such as RG3 pathogen surveillance and national preparedness for effective disease outbreak management programme.


Vision

To be a leading global centre of excellence for high-containment infectious disease translational research.


Mission

  • To provide a state-of-the-art BSL-3/ABSL-3 research environment and promote collaborations for scientists and clinicians
  • To train laboratory users in the safe handling of biological agents and toxins that are in compliance with local regulations
  • To ensure regulatory compliance
  • To promote biosafety/biosecurity through continuous education and training
  • To stimulate development of new diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and high-impact translational and public health research


BSL-3 Core Facility Staff

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Facility

The NUS Medicine Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) Core Facility has five suites to cater for specialised research.

  1. Bacteria Suite
  2. Virus Suite
  3. BSL-3+ Suite
  4. ABSL-3 Suite
  5. Special Equipment Room

One of the unique personal protective equipment provided for use in the BSL-3 Facility is the Powered Air Purifying Respirator system (PAPR). PAPR provides greater level of respiratory protection against air-borne infectious agents. The hood connected to the PAPR provides immediate splash protection to the face and neck region. Unlike other respiratory protective equipment such as the N95 mask, the PAPR system is easy and comfortable to wear.

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Events

Research Activities in the BSL-3 Core Facility

No.

Principal Investigator

Grant

1 A/Prof Alonso Sylvie

1. Identifying survival strategies of M. tuberculosis within the lysosomal compartment of activated macrophages. (2014-01042)

2. Characterization of the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of Q203, a promising clinical candidate for the treatment of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis-BSL-3 (2015-01122)

2 Dr Catherine Ong

1. Doxycycline and the modulation of tissue destruction in human pulmonary tuberculosis: A pilot study (2014-00732)

2. Doxycycline and the modulation of host immunopathology in human pulmonary tuberculosis: A pilot study (2014-01018)

3. Matrix metalloproteinase inhibition to modulate tissue destruction in human tuberculosis (2014-01019)

4. MMP Inhibition for the Modulation of Host Immunopathology in Human Pulmonary Tuberculosis: A Pilot Study (2014-01020)

5. Microarray gene expression profiling of TB patients and healthy volunteers on doxycycline as an immunomodulatory (2014-01021)

6. Host inflammatory responses driving immunopathology in human central nervous system tuberculosis (2015-01068)

7. Cell-free DNA for the diagnosis and quantitation of mycobacterial burden in human tuberculosis (2016-00245)

3 Prof Nicholas Paton

1. SPRINT–TB: drug discovery and clinical translation – to deliver improved treatments for TB (2014-00849)

2. A randomised controlled trial phase II clinical trial to evaluate the effects of faropenem with or without clavulanic acid on clinical, microbiological, immunological, imaging and pharmacokinetic outcome measures in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (2014-00828)

3. Development of Whole Blood Bactericidal Activity Assay for Tuberculosis Clinical Trials and Studies at NUHS (2014-00839)

4 A/Prof Teo Yik Ying Establishing an NUHS-led Asian TB genetic database to identify novel mutations associated with TB drug resistance and support public health and industry initiatives to combat the spread of drug-resistant TB (2015-00035)
5 A/Prof Thomas Dick

1. Center Grant: Metabolic Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience Enablers (MINE) Research Core #(4) NUSMed BSL-3 Core Facility (2014-00911)

2. SPRINT-TB: drug discovery and clinical translation – to deliver improved treatments for TB (2014-00849)

6 A/Prof Gan Yunn Hwen Melioidosis research at BSL3 (2014-00759)
7 A/Prof Tan Yee Joo Evaluating the effectiveness of newly developed monoclonal antibodies in inhibiting H5N1 virus replication and preventing viral escape in vitro (2014-01025)
8 Dr Chu Jang Hann Antiviral Discovery for re-emerging mosquito-borne West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis virus. (2014-01279)
9 Dr Cu Lin

1. HIV isolation by PBMC co-culture (2015-00255)

2. Culture and neutralization of West Nile virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus (2015-01502)

 
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SINGAPORE PROGRAMME OF RESEARCH INVESTIGATING NEW APPROACHES TO TREATMENT TUBERCULOSIS

  • SPRINT-TB, a translational bench-to-bedside tuberculosis research programme,
    was identified as the BSL-3 Core Facility’s key associated programme since 2015.
  • In 2016, SPRINT-TB was awarded Summit Research Programme status by NUHS.
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Research Output

Research Topic No. of Publications No. of Abstracts of Posters/Talks
TB 17 10
Melioidosis 1 0
Influenza 0 1

Seminars/workshops organised/hosted by NUS Medicine’s BSL-3 Core Facility

Seminar/Workshop Date Venue Attendance
Biosecurity workshop (co-organised by the Biorisk Association of Singapore, Luigi Sacco University Hospital, Milan) 12 February 2015 Centre for Life Sciences, NUS BAS members & NUS personnel
BSL-3 Inauguration workshop: ‘Biosafety and Biosecurity challenges at high containment laboratories’ 10 March 2015 Centre for Life Sciences, NUS NUS personnel
OSHE Risk Management Training for BSL-3 users 23 April 2015 Centre for Translational Medicine, NUS Medicine BSL-3 lab users
BAS Annual meeting/Biosafety sharing session: Risk of infection in health care settings and laboratories (co-organised by the Biorisk Association of Singapore) 11 April 2016 Centre for Translational Medicine, NUS Medicine BAS members & NUS personnel
Biosafety Sharing session on “Autoclave Safety” (co-organised by the Biorisk Association of Singapore) 21 April 2016 Clinical Research Centre, NUS BAS members & NUS personnel

Safety educational/update talks provided by NUS Medicine’s BSL-3 Core Facility staff

Name Seminar/Workshop Topic Date Venue
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) Biosecurity workshop (co-organised by the Biorisk Association of Singapore and the Luigi Sacco University Hospital, Milan) BSL-3 biosecurity risk management in Singapore 12 February 2015 Centre for Life Sciences, NUS
Ms Sindhu Ravindran (Biosafety coordinator) Biosecurity workshop (co-organised by the Biorisk Association of Singapore and the Luigi Sacco University Hospital, Milan) Table top exercise for BSL-3 break-in scenario 12 February 2015 Centre for Life Sciences, NUS
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) 2nd NUS Safety, Health & Environment Conference (organised by the NUS Office of Safety, Health & Environment) NUS Medicine BSL-3 Core Facility 14 May 2015 U-Town, NUS
Dr Martin Gengenbacher (D/D-Research) Inventory Management in the light of quality, biosafety and biosecurity Challenges of biological agent inventory management in BSL-3 laboratories 09 June 2015 Duke-NUS Medical School
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) CBRNe Summit, Asia (organised by the security industry) Regulatory oversight of high containment biological laboratories in Singapore 02 – 04 December 2015 Hilton Hotel, Singapore
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) BAS Annual Meeting/Biosafety Sharing Session: Risk of infection in health care settings and laboratories (co-organised by the Biorisk Association of Singapore)  Laboratory-acquired infection surveys in Belgium: Tuberculosis 11 April 2016 Centre for Translational Medicine, NUS Medicine
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) WHO Biosafety Training Workshop (co-organised by MOH-Biosafety, WHO and the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory) Performance Measures – monitoring and communication or risk (Theory and exercise) 26 April 2016 Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) WHO Biosafety Training Workshop (co-organised by MOH-Biosafety, WHO and the Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory) Biorisk management system (Biosafety and biosecurity) 27 April 2016 Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) WHO Biosafety Training Workshop (co-organised by MOH-Biosafety, WHO and the Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory) Inventory monitoring & control (specimen retention, storage and tracking) 27 April 2016 Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) 1st CBRN CoE Regional Experts Round-Table Meeting for South East Asia (organised by EU CBRN Centres of Excellence) Regulatory oversight of biological laboratories in Singapore 27 – 29 April 2016 Manila, Philippines
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) EU CBRN CoE training course – Part I Facility design, construction, operation and management in basic laboratories 06 – 10 February 2017 Manila, Philippines
Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D-Ops) EU CBRN CoE training course – Part II Facility design, construction, operation and management in containment laboratories 20 – 24 March 2017 Hanoi, Vietnam
Ms Sindhu Ravindran Poster Presentation in Asian Conference on Safety & Education in Laboratory (ASCEL) Comprehensive Training Programme at Biosafety Level 3 Core Facility 26 – 28 July 2017 Stephen Riady centre, University Town, NUS
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News

Winner of the Best Poster Award at ACSEL on 28 July 2017

Sindhu Ravindran, Senior Manager of BSL-3 Core Facility, won the ‘Best Poster Award’ in the Asian Conference on Safety & Education in Laboratory (ACSEL). The conference was jointly held with the third NUS Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) conference, organised by the Office of Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE). ACSEL was held at the National University of Singapore from the 26 to 28 July 2017. The title of the poster was ‘Comprehensive training programme at NUS Medicine Biosafety Level 3 Core Facility’.

Official opening of the BSL-3 Laboratory was held on 14 May 2015

A new facility that boosts Singapore’s research efforts in existing infectious diseases and its defenses against new outbreaks was officially opened by Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong today. Based at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s flagship building, the Centre for Translational Medicine, the 650-square metre Biosafety Level 3 laboratory has been carefully designed to accommodate researchers to study some of the most infectious diseases known to man and to find solutions to dealing with these dangerous microorganisms.

Read More

BSL-3 Core Facility Inauguration Workshop “Biosafety and biosecurity challenges at high containment laboratories” was held on 10 March 2015

Guest speakers, Dr Jessica McCormick-Ell (University Biosafety Officer and Responsible Official, Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Mr Theodore J. Traum (High and Maximum Containment Professional Engineer, World BioHazTec) and Dr Gladys Tan (Chairman, DMERI Biosafety Committee & Head, Host Pathogen Interaction Laboratory, DSO Laboratories) delivered their insights on biosafety and biosecurity, an engineering control and design standpoint, US government select agent programme and DSO public health bioemergency preparedness at high containment laboratories. About 60 participants attended the workshop.

EU funded one-day training on “Biosecurity in Life Science research” was hosted by the BSL-3 Core Facility in NUS on 12 February 2015

The training was organised by the Biorisk Association of Singapore (BAS) and Luigi Sacco University Hospital. Dr Viji Vijayan (Vice Dean, Duke-NUS Medical School and President of BAS) gave a welcome speech; Mr Bernhard Faustenhammer (Head of Political, Press and Information Section, EU Delegation to Singapore) and Prof Maria Rita Gismondo (Director of BSL4 Laboratory of Microbiology, Virology and Bioemergency, Luigi Sacco University Hospital) gave opening speeches. Our BSL-3 Core Facility staff, Dr Sabai Phyu (D/D Operations/Vice President of BAS) and Ms Sindhu Ravindran (Senior Manager/Biosafety Coordinator) were involved in training/facilitating 22 BSL-3 staff/biosafety professional and our facility staff also attended the training.

Our BSL-3 Core Facility D/D – Operations (Dr Sabai Phyu) represented BAS at the launching ceremony of the Biosafety passport at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory on 5 Feb 2015

Asia Pacific Biosafety Association (A-PBA), Biorisk Association of Singapore (BAS), Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) jointly unveiled an industry-endorsed biosafety training structure and the first biosafety passport for the biomedical sciences industry in Singapore. All laboratories users who will be in contact with biologicals or biologically derived agents will be trained and certified according to the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications System (WSQ). WSQ module “Follow Good Biosafety Practices in the Workplace” will be introduced soon and course participants will receive the respective level of Biosafety Passport.

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Contact

For inquiries, please contact:

Ms. Kong Hao Yuin
Laboratory Executive
Contact No: (65) 6601 1015
Email: haoyuin@nus.edu.sg

Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
#15-01, Centre for Translational Medicine, Block MD6
14 Medical Drive, Singapore 117599

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