University of Texas Biocontainment Training Center receives federal funding

The National Biocontainment Training Center at the University of Texas has received $5 million in federal funding support.

“We’re proud that the government recognizes our expertise in training researchers so that they in turn will help our nation remain healthy and secure,” Dr. David L. Callender, president of the medical branch, told The Galveston County Daily News. “This commitment validates and reaffirms our safety training efforts.”

The funding comes as part of the Department of Defense appropriations bill, which was signed into law by President Obama on Monday.

The National Biocontainment Training Center is a nationally recognized leader in biocontainment training, which enables researchers working to discover new treatments and vaccines for emerging and re-emerging diseases, including some that have bioterror potential, to do so in a safe manner within a secure laboratory setting.

“Well-trained infectious disease researchers can and will advance the public health for the local, state and national community, and UTMB is setting the standard for that training,” Dr. Thomas G. Ksiazek, the center’s director, told The Galveston County Daily News.

The Galveston national Laboratory is the only national laboratory in Texas.

The federal government has funded construction of over 2.6 million gross square feet of biodefense research facilities at a cost of approximately $2 billion in recent years, including Biosafety Level 3 and Biosafety Level 4 laboratories.