Communication and computing technology in biocontainment laboratories using the NEIDL as a model

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Abstract

The National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), Boston University, is a globally unique biocontainment research facility housing biosafety level 2 (BSL-2), BSL-3, and BSL-4 laboratories. Located in the BioSquare area at the University's Medical Campus, it is part of a national network of secure facilities constructed to study infectious diseases of major public health concern. The NEIDL allows for basic, translational, and clinical phases of research to be carried out in a single facility with the overall goal of accelerating understanding, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases. The NEIDL will also act as a center of excellence providing training and education in all aspects of biocontainment research. Within every detail of NEIDL operations is a primary emphasis on safety and security. The ultramodern NEIDL has required a new approach to communications technology solutions in order to ensure safety and security and meet the needs of investigators working in this complex building. This article discusses the implementation of secure wireless networks and private cloud computing to promote operational efficiency, biosecurity, and biosafety with additional energy-saving advantages. The utilization of a dedicated data center, virtualized servers, virtualized desktop integration, multichannel secure wireless networks, and a NEIDL-dedicated Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) network are all discussed.

A flexible computing infrastructure and end user involvement will be a dynamic process that will help to advance science at the NEIDL.

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