Important informations

Core Facilities

Biolab Level 2+

Mark Wainberg CL2/3 Biocontainment Facility

The Mark Wainberg CL2/3 Biocontainment Facility is a secure, spacious, and well-equipped multi-unit facility for studies of infectious human pathogens, including HIV-1, located on the fourth floor of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI).

Biolab Level 2+ 1


The facility is licensed by Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and offers highly controlled biosafety laboratories where live pathogenic viruses can be studied while adhering to the highest safety standards defined by Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines (PHAC). This unit includes certification for handling of Risk Group 2 pathogens and the Risk Group 3 pathogens, HIV-1 and HIV-2 under section 8 of the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act.

The CL2+ facility is available to LDI researchers, affiliated collaborators and external researchers with approved protocols on a fee-for-service basis. The CL2+ facility coordinator oversees essential training, provides guidance to researchers, monitors experiments and ensures strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Program intent

The facility will accommodate virology research projects focusing on HIV viruses, including clinical isolates and recombinant forms. Isolation of viruses from patient samples, transfection of recombinant forms and ultra-centrifugation of virus preparations may be undertaken in the context of the work. The HIV-infected samples may include viruses from individuals co-infected with Hepatitis B and/ or Hepatitis C.

Other level 2 viruses currently manipulated in the facility include: SIV, Dengue virus (serotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4), Zika virus, and HSV-1.

HIV, HTLV-1 and SIV are handled in accordance with additional biosafety requirements according to the Biosafety Directive for HIV and HTLV-1 and Related Simian retroviruses.

Facility specifications

The facility has restricted access, camera surveillance, ventilation and equipment alarms, negative pressure and protective clothing worn at all times.

There are two separate lab rooms equipped with two Class II, Type B2 Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs), which exhaust 100% of the air, and one room houses four Class II, Type B2 BSCs. (A total of eight workstations).

Additionally, there is one lab room with one Class II, Type A2 cabinet, which re-circulates 70% of the HEPA-filtered laminar air while 30% passes through a HEPA-filtered exhaust for discharge. The latter is reserved for any LDI workers requiring a safe workspace to process high-risk Covid 19 samples.

CO2 incubators, microscopes and centrifuges are conveniently located in the rooms and there is ample space for sample storage. There is one ultra centrifuge within the facility for concentrating infectious agents. Waste decontamination is accessed from within the facility via a double-door autoclave, equipped with a highly-effective decontamination cycle.

Biocontainment Facility team

Biological Safety Officer

Biological safety Officer, Level 3 Licence Holder, Senior Level Champion:

Maureen Oliveira

Bio-containment Facility Coordinator

Alternate Biological Safety Officer, Single Point of Contact:

Cesar Collazos

Equipment Manager

Autoclave operation, CO2 cylinder upkeep, and incubator maintenance: