HTRL Infectious Disease Core Facility

The Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory (HTRL) is a regional biocontainment laboratory with several designated biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratories, which are required for biodefense-related and emerging infectious disease research.

The HTRL is on the campus of Argonne National Laboratory and is managed by the University of Chicago and BSD under the leadership of Dominique Missiakas, Professor of Microbiology.

At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we decided to start a fee-for-service core facility at HTRL dedicated to SARS-CoV2 research projects requiring BSL-3 level containment. Glenn Randall, Professor of Microbiology, is leading this new core facility together with Dr. Missiakas. The core will operate via HTRL staff members performing fee-for-service assays (including several viral replication and neutralizing antibody assays) and small animal studies.


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.

Our Specialties

Our most requested assays are listed below. If you have a project that you would like to submit to this core, please contact Anastasia ( for more information on the prioritization and approval process.

Animal Model Infections

  • Drug testing
  • Vaccination studies
  • Blood/organ collection

Viral Assays

  • Cytopathic Effect assay
  • Plaque assay
  • TCDi50 assay
  • Neutralizing antibody assay
  • Spike IHC screening

    Molecular Services

    • RNA extraction
    • First-strand cDNA synthesis
    • Quantitative RT-PCR


    Infectious Disease Core Services 


    UChicago Users

    External Users

    Plaque Assay $11 $11
    Spike IHC Screening $51 $51
    Neutralization Assay $11 $11
    TCID50 $51 $51
    Cytopathic effect $11 $11
    Quantitative RT-PCR $614.5 $614.5
    RNA Extraction $410 $410
    Animal Purchase $32.37-74 $32.37-74
    Mouse Per Diem $1.59 Per Item $7.29 Per Item
    Supplies Varies Varies
    Technician Time Waived Waived