About the HTRL

The Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory (HTRL) is one of 13 Regional Biocontainment facilities located throughout the United States constructed by partnerships between the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and local academic institutions. Construction of the Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory was completed in 2009 by the University of Chicago. The HTRL is located on the campus of the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, approximately 20 miles from the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. The HTRL provides state of the art Level 3 biocontainment facilities for conducting laboratory and animal research on biodefense-related and emerging infectious diseases.



The HTRL has an initiative to improve state and local health systems and their ability to cooperate with the federal government in response to a biodefense emergency. This initiative specifies educating key public officials and first-line responders, as well as pledging to halt ongoing research work to assist in the event of serious regional or national needs. The plans include direct relationships with state offices and laboratories of public health as well as hospitals in the upper Midwest. Infectious disease experts, including physicians, university faculty, and state and county health officials in the region and in six states are associated with the Ricketts Laboratory.


In 2023, HTRL was one of the twelve NIAID-designated Regional Biocontainment Laboratories (RBL) to be awarded a UC7 (AI180312) grant.

The goal of the BSL3 management and practice of infectious disease research at HTRL is to provide infrastructures and trained personnel to enable rapid responses and research on Risk Group 3 infectious disease threats, including new and re-emerging agents, Select Agent pathogens, or biological toxins, and to share this knowledge with the scientific community and public in a timely manner.