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The Eva J. Pell Laboratory for Advanced Biological Research

Eva J. Pell ABSL3 Laboratory for Advanced Biological Research

Penn State's ABSL3 laboratory is available for research with biological agents requiring a bio-containment facility.

Eva J. Pell Laboratory

Penn State recognizes the urgent need to improve our nation's defenses against emerging public health threats and the importance of cutting-edge research in an effort to develop diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to combat infectious diseases. The Eva J. Pell Laboratory at Penn State functions as part of a critical national network of secure bio-containment facilities that will not only help solve society's most pressing health issues, but is also capable of supporting a national response in the event of a bio-defense emergency.

Research Capabilities

Researchers at the Pell ABSL-3 Laboratory work with biological agents that have the potential to cause serious human, animal and/or plant disease and result in significant economic consequences. These agents are not generally spread by casual contact and the diseases studied  are those for which prophylactic treatments exist. Examples include West Nile virus, SARS, avian influenza and tularemia. The Pell Lab has been inspected and approved by the NIH and Centers for Disease Control and is available for collaborative and contract research studies including those requiring CDC registration to use Tier 1 Select Agents and Toxins.

Pell Laboratory Facilities

The Pell building is a self-contained, stand alone facility - which means that all materials, including waste products, are managed on site for increased safety. This specially designed structure has its own steam plant, two sources of water and power, a backup generator, autoclaves and an effluent decontamination system. There are also redundant systems for both supply and exhaust air with inward directional airflow.

The lab is designed to criteria mandated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The building contains 22,000 square feet with approximately 6000 square feet of bio-containment laboratory space. The remaining is dedicated to mechanical, electrical and ventilation systems to ensure the safety and security of the building.

A BSL3 laboratory within the Pell LabLaboratory facilities include multiple two and three room suites, each with a dedicated procedure room and animal holding room(s) and an insectary suite containing separate procedure and animal holding rooms and an insect holding room. The building also contains two BSL-3 laboratories for in vitro work. In addition, there is a freezer room, autoclave processing area, decontamination air lock, storage space and shower (out) facilities. 

Contact Information and Laboratory oversight

The Pell Laboratory is operated through the PSU Animal Resource Program (ARP), which is led by Dr. Mary Kennett (Director). Overall laboratory operations are managed by Melissa James.  In addition to oversight by the Lab Director, the laboratory has a scientific director, an advisory board, and a building users group that provide guidance and direction for the lab.  The Responsible Official and Alternate  Responsible Official work with the lab managers to ensure safe operation of the lab.  They also serve as the liaison between the University and the CDC/USDA for all required federal reporting.  For more information please contact the laboratory operations staff at 814-867-4528.

Usage fees

Laboratory entry fees and other usage fees will be charged.  Please contact the facility managers for current rates. 

Criteria for Use of the Laboratory

Persons desiring to perform research work in the Pell Laboratory must comply with the criteria listed below. For more information please contact the laboratory operations staff at 814-867-4528.

  • Laboratory Specific Training
  • Medical Surveillance
  • Security Risk Assessment