At the 13th Annual Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of the Commissioner Honor Awards Ceremony on June 27, a group comprised of FDA and NIH employees received an award of excellence for their design and construction of an enhanced
BSL-3 (Biosafety Level 3) research laboratory in Building 29A on the NIH campus.
Accepted by FDA project officer, Leila Nikkhoo, the award represented a collaborative effort through an interagency agreement with FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Regulation (CBER) and the NIH Office of Research Facilities to construct a research laboratory to evaluate, test and prepare regulated products such as potential vaccines for pandemic (Avian) influenza, West Nile Virus, and SARS corona virus.
The award nomination cites the “major shortage of secure laboratories and animal facilities in which to perform…science essential for rapid development and deployment of safe and effective blood products.” Prior to the construction of this laboratory, the FDA had “no access to the necessary containment facilities…to evaluate these serious infectious agents and biological medical products developed to protect the nation from them.”
The renovation posed a challenge with space limitations and the need for employees to continue to occupy the building during construction. A team of scientists, engineers, safety specialists, fellows, contracting, financial and administrative specialists provided their technical expertise and innovative solutions to finish the laboratory on budget and on schedule.
The team managed to exceed current BSL-3 standards in the areas of air filtering, handling and exhaust, housing and care for animals, security, and Department of Agriculture pathogen biosafety when building this specialized containment facility.
Not only will the laboratory help FDA with their research, it also has long-term benefits for the NIH. Once CBER eventually relocates to the FDA’s White Oak campus, the NIH will be able to utilize the specialized space for programs displaced during a planned renovation of Building 10.
Seated Left to right: David Shaw (ORF), Jacqulin Glass (ORS), Leila Nikkhoo (FDA), James O'Neil (ORF)
Middle row: Sherry Bohn (ORS), Sam Denny (ORS), Gopi Boray (ORF), Martin McCourt (G. Bailey Co.), Howard Hochman (ORF), Ryan Bayha (ORF), Rafael Torres-Cruz (ORS), Kevin Wimsatt (for Gary Bailey of G. Bailey Co.)
Back Row: Kenneth Roman (ORF), Brian Temme (on behalf of Mike Tague for Jacobs Engineering Group), David Conrad (G. Bailey Co.)
Not Pictured: Jeff Buechler (LSY Architects), Dr. Kathryn M. Carbone (NIDCR, formerly with FDA), Amy Iselin (FDA), Ernest Lunsford, Jr. (FDA), Athanasia Mantzouranis (FDA), Nessa McClain (LSY Architects), Juan Osorio (Council Rock Consulting), Catrina Posley (FDA), Karen Rhodes (FDA), James Rice (FDA), Maria Rios (FDA), Maureen Sheridan (FDA), Deborah Taylor (FDA), Dr. John Tonkiss (ORS), John Vilgos (Council Rock Consulting), Vincent Whalen (FDA), Bob Worthing (LSY Architects), and Zhiping Ye (FDA)