The goals of the Virology Core are to enable, broaden and enhance HIV/AIDS research by providing state-of-the-art BSL-2/3 laboratory facilities and equipment, experienced and dedicated professional staff, education, training, virology-specific research materials and assays and protein expression capabilities, all to support multidisciplinary, investigator-initiated basic and clinical HIV/AIDS research. The services of core are integral to the AIDS Center as they provide critical support to numerous multidisciplinary basic and clinical HIV/AIDS research programs.Services
- Provision of state-of-the-art BSL 2-3 laboratory space, equipment and professional staff. The virology core 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 core 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 Core 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 core users. Many of these services are provided by the Molecular Biology Lab which is is located in room 346 of the Bevill Biomedical Research Building.
- 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 Core, 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 core personnel 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.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Lyons Harrison Research Building rm 610
701 19th Street South
Birmingham AL 35294-0007
John Kappes, PhD