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Galveston National Laboratory

Questions about the Galveston National Lab?

Hopefully you were able to join us on Nov. 4 at the San Luis Conference Center. UTMB held an informal information session with scientists, UTMB staff members and contractors to answer questions about the Galveston National Lab, followed by the NIH Draft Environmental Impact Statement public meeting about the construction and operation of the facility. The NIH requires the development of an Environmental Impact Statement prior to the construction of any NIH-funded Biosafety Level-4 facility. Federal guidelines also require that all questions and comments submitted during the public scoping meeting last March be recorded and addressed in a DEIS. Copies of the DEIS document were available at the meeting and have also been deposited at the Rosenberg Library and Moody Medical Library.

For more information about these meetings or to inquire about a copy of the DEIS, please contact: UTMB Public Affairs at (409) 772-2618; by email at public.affairs@utmb.edu

For more information about the process, or to submit your questions or comments for the public record, please send queries by Dec. 17 to:
Valerie Nottingham, Chief, Environmental Protection Office of Research Facilities, National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, B13/2W64 Bethesda, MD 20892.  Email: nihnepa@mail.nih.gov


Sept. 4, '04: UTMB researchers make discoveries on West Nile virus, monkeypox, and yellow fever
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston present significant new discoveries on West Nile virus, monkey pox, and yellow fever in four papers in the September issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The articles are summarized below, and can be found on the EID website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/index.htm and individually at “Year-Round West Nile Virus Activity, Gulf Coast Region, Texas and Louisiana” (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no9/04-0203.htm), “Experimental Infection of Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) with Monkeypox Virus” (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no9/04-0310.htm), “Yellow Fever Virus Infectivity for Bolivian Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes” (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no9/03-1124.htm), and “Genetic Divergence and Dispersal of Yellow Fever Virus, Brazil” (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no9/04-0197.htm)


March 31, '04: Two community GNL meetings held at local conference center
UTMB and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted two meetings concerning the proposed Galveston National Laboratory for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases at UTMB on March 31, 2004, at the San Luis Conference Center Mainsail Room, in Galveston. Beginning at 5:15 p.m., UTMB held an informal information session where scientists, UTMB staff members and contractors answered questions about the Galveston National Lab, including its purpose, construction, operation, safety and security. At 6 p.m., an NIH National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) public scoping meeting about the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) related to the construction and operation of the Galveston National Lab began. The NIH requires the development of an Environmental Impact Statement prior to the construction of any NIH-funded Biosafety Level 4 facility. See an ad for the past event and get more info on the EIS process...


Feb. 10, '04: New York Times story examines debate between secrecy and safety in research
Artist's rendering of UTMB's existing level 4 biolabL
As the nation embarks on a program to build new containment facilities to study and protect against new and dangerous emerging diseases, discussion continues about what and how much information should or can be kept from public scrutiny. UTMB, which currently operates a BSL4 lab and has been selected as a site for one of two national labs, is featured in the story. You can read the entire story online (registration may be required).


NBL designation noted in media accounts around the nation
UTMB's successful bid for a National Biocontainment Laboratory has been noted in media outlets around the country. Reporters attended a UTMB press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 30,  featuring university officials and scientists including President John D. Stobo, Dr. C.J. Peters, Lee Thompson, Dr. Scott Weaver, Mike Shriner and SOM Dean Stanley Lemon, who appeared via satellite from Washington, D.C. See a listed of selected media stories. A webcast from the Sept. 30 news conference is offered online.


Sept. 30, 2003
A Special Message from the UTMB President
President John D. StoboI’d like to share some exciting news with you. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced today that UTMB has been selected as the site of a $150 million National Biocontainment Laboratory (NBL), one of two large-scale national research facilities focusing on new and emerging disease threats.  Receipt of this highly competitive award is a credit to the caliber of our scientists, to the depth of our expertise, and to a tremendous amount of work and planning on the part of many people... Read rest of message.

Sept. 4, 2003
Message from the President: Good news on RCE

I'm writing to share some very good news with you. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (a branch of the National Institutes of Health) announced this morning that UTMB is one of eight institutions nationwide receiving grants to establish a Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (RCE). I couldn't be prouder. We have an exceptionally distinguished team of scientists in emerging infectious diseases and biodefense. What's more, this award represents an extraordinary coming together of scientists from 15 different entities---many of them traditional competitors---cooperating to do important work for the health and safety of the nation and the world.
Read rest of this message...


In February 2002, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a Blue Ribbon Panel developed a strategic plan for biodefense research. The goal is to protect the United States and the world against attacks using biological agents. The plan calls for the establishment of regional centers of excellence (RCEs), and national biocontainment laboratories (NBLs) to conduct research on Category A, B and C priority pathogens—biological agents that are considered to be of significant research importance. 

Proposed NBL on the UTMB campus
Shaded in blue, a computer rendering of UTMB's proposed National Biocontainment Laboratory, at the center of the UTMB campus in Galveston. Behind the proposed facility sits the Keiller Building, home to the Center for Tropical and Emerging Infectious Diseases and the first BSL4 facility on a university campus.    
 

The government’s plan provides for  basic research, and emphasizes the application of that research to diagnose illnesses caused by these agents, and to develop  vaccines and diagnostics against them.

For more than a century, UTMB has addressed the special needs of the citizens of Texas and the nation. Over the past two decades, researchers and clinicians at this institution have amassed expertise in emerging infectious diseases and built a program around these agents that is recognized as among the world's finest. Consistent with its societal mission and in light of UTMB's expertise and facilities, the university has offered the nation its service in response to the threat of bioterrorism and emerging infections, and the federal government's request for proposals to counter these threats.

This web site contains information about the UTMB proposal and outcome, about the facility and related programs, facts and a way to contact UTMB. We hope you find it informative and useful. Thank you for your interest.   


 


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