Prof. Sarah Haines’s new laboratory passed certification by EHS

Professor Sarah Haines in a new laboratory (Photo by Kel Singh, CivMin)

Professor Haines‘s laboratory space was approved for Containment Level 2 (CL2) biosafety by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at the University of Toronto (EHS), allowing her to conduct experiments using environmentally collected micro-organisms and viruses.

The working title of the lab is Indoor Microbiology and Environmental Exposures. The space was successfully repurposed from GB 412A to a CL2 level space with the help of CivMin’s Operations Coordinator Kel Singh, along with Andrey Shukalyuk and Joanna Spinato from EHS. The project took about six months to complete. The space is equipped with a biological safety cabinet and will house a digital PCR machine, the novel third generation of PCR allowing for absolute quantification of DNA and RNA. This machine helps to identify the amounts of  Prof. Haines is looking forward to expanding her work by examining indoor airborne concentrations of SARs-Cov-2 as well as growing and examining indoor micro-organisms (bacteria and moulds) collected from dust samples.

Professor Haines‘s laboratory also received $100,000 in funding support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund to purchase novel equipment to address challenges in indoor air quality and the indoor microbiome, particularly in hard-to-reach communities.