Exterior image of NBACC building.

These FAQs provide answers to basic questions about NBACC. Risk Scenarios and Safety are covered in other areas of this website.

What does NBACC stand for?

NBACC is an acronym for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center.

What is the NBACC mission?

The NBACC mission is to provide the scientific basis for characterization of biological threats and bioforensic analysis to support attribution of their planned or actual use.

What is an example of scientific work at NBACC?

NBACC conducts and facilitates technical forensic analysis and interpretation of material recovered from biocrimes and biological attacks in support of the appropriate lead federal agency. The analysis method used might be culture and phenotypic characterization, polymerase chain reaction, antigen detection, nucleic acid sequencing, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or scanning or transmission electron microscopy.

Who decides what research will be conducted?

The DHS and other DHS-approved sponsors.

How much of the NBACC research is considered dual-use?

All proposed scientific work at NBACC undergoes both internal and external reviews that evaluate safety, security, compliance with regulations, and dual-use concerns. All NBACC scientific projects receive a review by an independent policy committee at DHS for compliance. Some NBACC projects produce information that is Dual Use and/or sensitive and therefore has restricted distribution

What pathogens can NBACC work with?

NBACC can work with a range of risk group 2, 3, and 4 agents including select agents as well as other pathogens and toxins that might be used in biocrime or bioterrorism.

How does NBACC report to the government?

NBACC is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) reporting to the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate (DHS S&T).

Who runs the labs?

BNBI manages and operates the NBACC FFRDC for DHS S&T.

What does BNBI stand for?

BNBI is an acronym for the Battelle National Biodefense Institute, LLC. BNBI is a non-profit company.

How large are the NBACC biocontainment labs?

NBACC has 10,500 sq. ft. of BSL-4, 27,600 sq. ft. of BSL-3, and 13,800 sq. ft. of BSL-2 labs.

How many people work at NBACC?

BNBI has about 170 employees. Around 100 of these staff members are regularly in labs. Entry to individual labs is restricted to only those with a verified need for access to that specific lab and who meet all safety, security, and other regulatory compliance requirements.

What is the status of the labs at the NBACC facility?

Research that does not use biological select agents and toxins (BSAT) began in the spring of 2010. In April 2011, NBACC requested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) register NBACC for BSAT scientific work.  NBACC was inspected by CDC/USDA in June 2011 and received its select agent registration for the BSL-4 laboratories on September 21, 2011.  The BSL-3 laboratories were subsequently added to the NBACC registration in December 2012.

What are the key safety regulations for NBACC?

The Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) is a published guide. The BMBL is the standard used by the CDC/USDA and BMBL compliance is required for registration with the select agent program.

What organizations does NBACC coordinate with locally?

NBACC coordinates with, and often has written agreements with, local and regional hospitals, public health, and the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research (NICBR). These agreements cover a range of topics including sharing of best practices, participation in safety exercises, emergency response, and scientific collaboration.