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Simon Fraser University’s BIO3 Lab was established in 2011 to expedite research on Risk Group (RG) 3 level pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 while offering a secure and safe environment to enhance health outcomes. 


The BIO3 Lab occupies roughly 700 square feet and is available for use seven days a week.

The facility includes a secured holding room with storage cabinets for supplies (e.g. PPE) and sign-in form for users, a ‘clean’ donning/dressing anteroom with lockers for storage of personal items, a ‘dirty’ doffing room with a sink for handwashing, a shower, extra PPE and a first aid kit, the main lab workspace, and a pass-through autoclave. Air supply is handled by a HVAC system specifically designed with back-up systems to handle high negative pressures required for BIO3 operation.

Equipment details

The main lab workspace is equipped with standard molecular microbiology and tissue culture instrumentation:

  • Thermo Scientific Heracell VIOS 150i CO2 Incubators
  • Labconco Class B2 Biological Safety Cabinets
  • Beckman Coulter Allegra X15R Refrigerated Table Top Centrifuge with swinging SX470 Rotor, and associated accessories (i.e., safety covers)
  • Eppendorf Microcentrifuge with rotor and safety cover
  • Olympus Research Grade Inverted Microscopes (one with digital camera)
  • Thermo Scientific Ultra-Low -80°C Freezers with Racks and Storage Boxes
  • Thermo Scientific Manual Defrost Undercounter -20°C Freezer
  • Thermo Scientific Undercounter Refrigerator
  • Fisherbrand Analog Vortex Mixers
  • 3L General Purpose Water Bath
  • Computer with secure Wi-Fi Access
  • Steris Lab 250L Pass-through Autoclave
  • Eyewash Station, Spill Kits, Air Pressure Monitors/Alarms, and Other Emergency Items
  • Non-cloth Laboratory Chairs, Clocks, Carts, Stepping Stool, and Storage Cabinets with Benchtop Work Areas

All equipment is connected to emergency power outlets. In the event of a power outage, emergency lights will automatically activate. Secondary containment (airflow/pressure) is maintained during a failure of an exhaust fan, a power outage, and/or a power restart. Procedures are in place to minimize impact on research from major power outages or natural disasters.


Lab use requirements

Approval to access to the BIO3 Lab is granted by the Operations Director upon successful completion of all required training. Questions about the lab and access should be directed to Dwayne Ashman, Operations Director, BIO3 Lab at


Biosafety permit

The BIO3 lab is open to both SFU and non-SFU academic users. The lab is also open to users from corporate entities. Lab use requires an approved biosafety permit describing the experimental procedures to be conducted.

SFU academic users must submit an updated version of their existing biosafety permit to SFU’s Biosafety Committee via SFU’s Biosafety Permit Application portal .

Non-SFU academic users must submit a home-institution-approved biosafety permit to BIO3 Lab's Operations Director.

Users from corporate entities need to apply for an SFU biosafety permit with BIO3’s Operations Director as the permit holder. SFU’s Biosafety Committee and BIO3 Lab’s Operations Director will review the biosafety permit to ensure that research with and on RG3-level pathogens is compliant with all biosafety policies, regulations, and procedures pertinent to RG3-level activities under the auspices of SFU.

Users external to SFU may be required to submit further clarification for the need to access the BIO3 Lab. Once approved, external users will need to sign a user agreement with provisions governing their use of the Lab.


Training requirements

Once permission for conducting research with RG3 pathogens in the BIO3 Lab is granted, all prospective users must undergo biosafety and operational training before access can be granted. This training ensures that all personnel working inside the Lab have detailed knowledge of federal and institutional regulations pertinent to biosafety and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

In general, prospective users are expected to have a minimum of 2 years full-time experience from working in containment level 2 or 2+ environments. The authorized PI or designate is responsible for ensuring proficiency of participating personnel and submitting verification upon request by the Operations Director of the BIO3 Lab.

BIO3 Lab training consists of the following steps:

  1. Enrolment in the medical surveillance program;
  2. Fit testing for an N95 respirator;
  3. Completion online of the General Biosafety Training module or, if a Principal Investigator, the Biosafety Training module for PIs (SFU Biosafety Policy R20.02);
  4. Completion online of the CL3 Operational & Biosafety training and demonstrable knowledge of SOPs;
  5. Demonstration to the Operations Director of user’s proficiency in CL3-relevant safety techniques and applicable SOPs in two training sessions;
  6. Evaluation of user biosafety procedures to the satisfaction of an experienced BIO3 Lab user over a given trial period; and
  7. Completion of the Biosafety Emergency Response Training module (annually).


Acknowledging the BIO3 Lab

Manuscripts and presentations that include data generated from use of the BIO3 Lab are expected to include the following sentence (or equivalent) in the ACKNOWLEDGEMENT section.

"The BIO3 Lab is administrated and supported through the Office of the Vice President of Research and International at Simon Fraser University."

A tally of publications that include data generated from the use of the BIO3 Lab is collected annually for an annually required core facility report.