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Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory (BSL-3 Lab)

In 1998, Dr. Trujillo co-directed the development of the first Biosafety Level 3 Lab at the University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. A Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) lab includes work on microbes that are either indigenous or exotic and can cause serious or potentially lethal diseases through inhalation.

A BSL-3 lab is designed as a high-security biological area where researchers can handle classified level 3 pathogenic organisms in the most secure conditions. For a Mexican virologist, conducting BSL-3 research during the ’90s meant traveling to the US, which was time-consuming and expensive. Dr. Trujillo wanted the possibility of a BSL-3 lab being made available in Mexico. He conceived the idea for the lab and approached Harvard for assistance in bringing it to life. The primary aim of the lab was the study of the AIDS virus and its developing strains. This vision became a reality with the support of Lasker prize winner Dr. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Institute.

With the support of Harvard, Dr. Trujillo was able to establish the first advanced BSL-3 Lab in Mexico to conduct research on high concentrations of dangerous viruses. The lab offered Mexican researchers the opportunity to safely study viruses at concentrations needed to develop vaccines and to identify genes specific to different strains of viruses.