Operations Proposal Submitted
In September, a proposal was submitted to NIAID to obtain a UC7 cooperative agreement for operations support of essential cores for the GNL.UTMB responded to an invitation from NIH to submit an application for a National Biocontainment Laboratory Operation Cooperative Agreement (UC7 award), filing a 350+ page application.
This should be reviewed in January 2006, followed by negotiations with NIAID over the specific aspects of the award.
The UC7 aims to provide support for the extraordinary costs of doing research with select agents and emerging diseases at high levels of security and biocontainment, and will fund a series of research and facilities operation cores within the GNL. Boston University was the only other applicant.
The GNL UC7 application was submitted with Dr. Stanley M. Lemon as PI, Dr. Alan Barrett as Associate Director of the GNL for Research, and with major contributions by 14 Core Directors as well as the participation of a large number of faculty and staff in multiple departments and Centers. Plans for the GNL crystallized in 2003 with the preparation of a $167-million construction grant proposal. UTMB was awarded $110 million from NIAID in October 2003. UTMB is providing $57 million for the project which, when completed, will be a national resource 1) to support the Biodefense Research Agenda of the NIAID, and 2) to assist local, state and national public health efforts in the event of a bioterrorism emergency. Other contributors to the GNL construction fund thus far include The Brown Foundation in Houston, Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. & Helen C. Kleberg Foundation in San Antonio, and the Fondren Foundation in Houston.
Construction began in April 2005, following completion of the National Environmental Policy Act process and approval of a final Environmental Impact Statement. Completion is now projected for Spring of 2008.
The seven-story building will contain 83,433 net usable square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory and supporting facilities. The GNL will be adjacent to and connect with the Keiller Building containing the Shope BSL4 Laboratory. The GNL will house additional BSL4 laboratories, in addition to those now provided by the Shope Laboratory, and will also provide a significant amount of space allocated for BSL2 and 3 laboratories and research utilizing animal models.
An Administrative Core will have as one of its functions the management of the research activities of the GNL, providing programmatic direction and setting priorities for GNL use by both UTMB/GNL faculty and NIAID-funded scientists from other institutions. The director will be assisted in these endeavors by Dr. Alan Barrett and a GNL Operations Council.