Rutgers RBL Mission and Objectives
The 2001 anthrax outbreak highlighted national research and infrastructure deficiencies that restricted our ability to understand and counteract highly transmissible infectious diseases. It also reinforced the need to develop and test countermeasures in the form of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics against naturally occurring agents causing local epidemics or pandemics, such as H1N1 influenza or agents used as weapons of bioterrorism. To address the critical infrastructure issue, the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases established two National Biocontainment Laboratories (NBL) and 13 Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBL). Rutgers was awarded a $25 million grant from NIH in 2003 to help construct a ~35,000 GSF advanced research facility (RBL) intended to be an extension of the International Center for Public Health (ICPH). The ICPH houses an extensive program on infectious diseases including agents of bioterrorism and one of the most comprehensive programs on tuberculosis in the world.