The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classify biomedical research into four levels, ranging from Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1) to 4 (BSL4), each with specific controls for containment of microbes and biological agents. The primary risks that determine levels of containment are infectivity, severity of disease, transmissibility, and the nature of the work conducted. Each biosafety level has its own specific containment controls that are required for the following:

  • Laboratory practices
  • Safety equipment
  • Facility construction

The UCLA High Containment Program supports research classified as Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) and the Tier 1 Select Agent Program.

BSL3 research involves work "…with indigenous or exotic agents that may cause serious or potentially lethal disease through the inhalation route of exposure. Laboratory personnel receive specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and they are supervised by scientists competent in handling infectious agents and associated procedures" (Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 6th edition, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, p. 43).

A subset of select agents and toxins have been designated as Tier 1 because these biological agents and toxins present the greatest risk of deliberate misuse with significant potential for mass casualties or devastating effect to the economy, critical infrastructure, or public confidence, and pose a severe threat to public health and safety.

The UCLA High Containment Program consists of two campus BSL3 labs, the BSL3 training program, and the UCLA Tier 1 Select Agent Program. The High Containment Facilities Director, Barbara Dillon, oversees the operations and maintenance of the campus high containment facilities. She also trains and mentors researchers who use the BSL3 labs, and assists with experiments.

UCLA does not support research requiring BSL4 containment, which is required to study infectious agents and toxins that pose a high risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease for which no vaccines or therapies are available. BSL1 and BLS2 research are supported by the EH&S Biosafety Program. All research with biohazardous agents, regardless of the containment level, is subject to review by the campus Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

For more information, see the EH&S High Containment website.

The following committees support or interact with the High Containment Program:

The HCLOG provides advice, guidance, and leadership regarding biosafety and biosecurity oversight for all UCLA research activities involving high containment laboratories. The HCLOG is advisory to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities (VCR), and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
The HCUC evaluates research proposals that require space within the BSL3 shared facility.
The IBC is the local review body responsible for oversight of all research and teaching activities involving the use of Biohazardous Materials and Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules, as required and outlined in the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules and the BMBL.


Research, Facilities, Program

Barbara Dillon
High Containment Facilities Director
Environment, Health & Safety
(310) 983-3337

Administration, Committees

Jennifer Klahn
Director-Research Safety & Animal Welfare
Research Policy and Compliance
(310) 794-9645