Core K redStarting as a centralized BSL2+ laboratory in 1989, over the years, the Virology Facility has evolved around two primary activities: (i) the provision of campus-wide laboratory infrastructure for BSL2+ research and (ii) the provision of services that facilitate the research adapted to the needs of our CFAR members. The Virology Facility is a component of the new CFAR Basic and Translational Sciences Core to provide access for CFAR members to a fully equipped laboratory infrastructure for BSL2+ research. Provision of access to this infrastructure starts with initial biosafety training and training in fundamental HIV methods. As CFAR members gain access to the BSL2+ facilities, the Virology Facility monitors ongoing operation to assure biological safety compliance as mandated by NIH guidelines and UAB Biosafety regulations. Optimal operation is assured by continuous maintenance activities, which includes equipment and facility maintenance.

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  • Provision of state-of-the-art BSL 2-3 laboratory space, equipment and professional staff. The Virology Facility enables CFAR members to conduct research important to the understanding of HIV biology, pathogenesis, immunological response, intervention, prevention, and assay development. The BSL 2-3 facility, including all of the major equipment, is made available to its users.
  • Education and training for “live” HIV virus studies. A committed, highly skilled professional staff is also available providing comprehensive education and training in areas of laboratory safety, equipment utilization, virus cell culture, and virologic assays to support basic and clinical research. This is all conducted under strict adherence to NIH/CDC guidelines for safety.
  • Provision of defined research reagents and materials. The facility maintains and provides on an as needed basis, research materials/reagents including an extensive inventory of defined cells line, primary and clonal virus stocks, including newly derive “transmitted viruses”, proviral DNA, HIV-specific monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies that are applicable to several different assays including immunofluorescence, radioimmunoprecipitation, immunoblot, and flow cytometry, and numerous relevant recombinant DNAs. The facility also provides the necessary instruction for utilization of these reagents.
  • Support of multidisciplinary and translation research projects. The BSL 2-3 Laboratory has been highly successful fostering basic and translational research in multidisciplinary AIDS related fields, including inter-institutional programmatic efforts and diverse investigator-initiated grants in areas of molecular virology, physiology, immunology, mucosal immunology, neurology, geographical medicine and international health.
  • Development of new research tools for basic, clinical and translational HIV/AIDS research.The expertise and knowledge of the staff is also available to assist with the development of new research tools, such as assays and reagents, for HIV/AIDS related studies conducted by users. 

  • Biosafety training and BSL 2-3 Laboratory certification. The BSL 2-3 Laboratory administers a comprehensive education and training program in biosafety. Those seeking services for use of the BSL 2-3 containment laboratory to conduct live HIV/AIDS research are trained for “full certification”, enabling them to work independently with ongoing monitoring.
  • Safety controls and quality assurance assessments. All individuals, once qualified to work in the facility, are assessed and monitored for compliance. Failure to comply with appropriate corrective action measures or repeated infractions would lead to the loss of core access privileges.
  • Training in virologic assays, techniques and methods. Training provided by experts includes general methodologies such as HIV cell culture and virus propagation in cell lines, HIV-1 isolation from blood, infectious virus titration on various cell types, viral and cellular nucleic acid isolation, immunofluorescence analysis, staining for FACS analysis, and ELISA.
  • Training of participants involved in international HIV/AIDS Programs. Training for participants involved in International programs through UAB can receive first-hand training by the core in techniques such as, basic biocontainment sample processing, good laboratory safety practices, PCR and HIV-1 p24 ELISA for studies conducted at UAB International sites such as CIDRZ in Zambia.


1.     Go EP, Ding H, Zhang S, Ringe RP, Nicely N, Hua D, Steinbock RT, Golabek M, Alin J, Alam SM, Cupo A, Haynes BF, Kappes JC, Moore JP, Sodroski JG, Desaire H. (2017). A glycosylation benchmark profile for HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein production based on eleven Env trimmers. J Virol. 2017 Feb 15. pii: JVI.02428-16. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02428-16. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28202756  PMCID: not yet available

2.     Himes J, Ho C, Nguyen Q, Amos J, Xu H, Chan C, Chow S-C, Ochsenbauer C, Kaidarova Z, Keating S, Fouda G, and Permar S (2016). Characterization of anatomically compartmentalized plasma and milk simian immunodeficiency virus variants in chronically infected African green monkeys. J Virol. 90(19):8795-808PMID: 27466415  PMCID: PMC5021398 [Available on 2017-03-12].

3.     Hildebrandt E, Khazanov N, Kappes JC, Dai Q, Senderowitz H, Urbatsch IL (2017) Specific stabilization of CFTR by phosphatidylserine. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017 Feb;1859(2):289-293. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2016.11.013. Epub 2016 Nov 30. PMID: 27913277 PMCID: not yet available

4.     Huang Y, Ferrari G, Alter G, Forthal DN, Kappes JC, Lewis GK, Love JC, Borate B, Harris L, Greene K, Gao H, Phan TB, Landucci G, Goods BA, Dowell KG, Cheng HD, Bailey-Kellogg C, Montefiori DC, Ackerman ME. (2016) Diversity of Antiviral IgG Effector Activities Observed in HIV-Infected and Vaccinated Subjects. J Immunol. 2016 Dec 15;197(12):4603-4612. PMID: 27913647 PMCID: not yet available

5.     Hel Z, Xu J, Denning WL, Helton ES, Huijbregts RP, Heath SL, Overton ET, Christmann BS, Elson CO, Goepfert PA, Mestecky J. (2017). Dysregulation of Systemic and Mucosal Humoral Responses to Microbial and Food Antigens as a Factor Contributing to Microbial Translocation and Chronic Inflammation in HIV-1 Infection. PLoS Pathog. 2017 Jan 26;13(1):e1006087. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006087. PMID: 28125732 PMCID: PMC5268400

6.     Le Grand R, Bosquet N, Dispinseri S, Gosse L, Desjardins D, Shen X, Tolazzi M, Ochsenbauer C, Saidi H, Tomaras G, Prague M, Barnett SW, Thiebaut R, Cope A, Scarlatti G, and Shattock RJ (2016). Superior Efficacy of a Human Immunodeficiency Virus Vaccine Combined with Antiretroviral Prevention in Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Challenged Nonhuman Primates. J Virol. 2016; 90(11):5315-28.  PMID: 27009957,  PMCID: PMC4934744

7.     Moylan DC, Goepfert PA, Kempf MC, Saag MS, Richter HE, Mestecky J, Sabbaj S. (2016) Diminished CD103 (αEβ7) Expression on Resident T Cells from the Female Genital Tract of HIV-Positive Women. Pathog Immun. 2016;1(2):371-387. doi: 10.20411/pai.v1i2.166. PMID: 28164171  PMCID: PMC5288734

8.     Neidleman JA, Chen JC, Kohgadai N, Müller JA, Laustsen A, Thavachelvam K, Jang KS, Stürzel CM, Jones JJ, Ochsenbauer C, Chitre A, Somsouk M, Garcia MM, Smith JF, Greenblatt RM, Münch J, Jakobsen MR, Giudice LC, Greene WC, and Roan NR (2017). Mucosal Stromal Fibroblasts Markedly Enhance HIV Infection of CD4+ T Cells. PLoS Pathog. 2017 Feb 16;13(2):e1006163. PMID: 28207890 PMCID: not yet available

9.     Nguyen HT, Madani N, Ding H, Elder E, Princiotto A, Gu C, Darby P, Alin J, Herschhorn A, Kappes JC, Mao Y, Sodroski JG. (2017) Evaluation of the contribution of the transmembrane region to the ectodomain conformation of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein. Virol J. 2017 Feb 16;14(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s12985-017-0704-x. PMID: 28209172  Free PMC Article

10.  Rodriguez-Garcia M, Shen Z, Barr FD, Boesch AW, Ackerman ME, Kappes JC, Ochsenbauer C, Wira CR (2016). Dendritic Cells from the Human Female Reproductive Tract 1 Rapidly Capture and Respond to HIV. Mucosal Immunology 2016 Aug 31. doi: 10.1038/mi.2016.72. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27579858. PMCID: not yet available

11.  T. O. Robinson, M. Zhang, C. Ochsenbauer, L. E. Smythies, and R. Q. Cron (2017) Regulatory CD4+ T Cells Differentially Modulate HIV-1 Infection of Polarized M1 and M2 Monocyte Derived Macrophages Virology, Jan 31;504:79-87 PMID: 28157548. PMCID: not yet available

12.  Schaaf K, Hayley V, Speer A, Wolschendorf F, Niederweis M, Kutsch O, Sun J. (2017) A Macrophage Infection Model to Predict Drug Efficacy Against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2016 Aug;14(6):345-54. doi: 10.1089/adt.2016.717. PMID: 27327048 PMCID: PMC4991579

13.  Schaaf K, Smith SR, Duverger A, Wagner F, Wolschendorf F, Westfall AO, Kutsch O, Sun J. (2017) Mycobacterium tuberculosis exploits the PPM1A signaling pathway to block host macrophage apoptosis. Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 8;7:42101. doi: 10.1038/srep42101. PMID: 28176854  PMCID: PMC5296758

14.  Witt KC, Castillo-Menendez L, Ding H, Espy N, Zhang S, Kappes JC, Sodroski J (2017). Antigenic characterization of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein precursor incorporated into nanodiscs. PLoS One. 2017 Feb 2;12(2):e0170672. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170672. PMID: 28151945  Free PMC Article

15.  A.C. Yoder, K. Guo, T. Phang, E.J. Lee, S.M. Dillon, M.S. Harper, K. Helm, C. Ochsenbauer, J. C. Kappes, M. D. McCarter, C.C. Wilson and M.L. Santiago . (2017). The Transcriptome of HIV-1 Infected Intestinal CD4+ T cells Exposed to Enteric Bacteria. PLOS Pathogenes, in press.  PMID: not yet available

Contact Information

John Kappes, PhD
Email:  kappesjc@uab.edu 

Christina Ochsenbauer, PhD
Email: christinaochsenbauer@uabmc.edu

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Lyons Harrison Research Building, Room 610
701 19th Street South
Birmingham AL 35294-0007