Rep. Bartlett tours Frederick research lab -- Gazette.Net


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U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett last week toured the Southern Research Institute in Frederick at the invitiation of the cutting-edge biomedical research company.

Bartlett (R-Dist. 6), of Buckeystown, met previously with the institute’s officials in July because of his background as a biological scientist and engineer, according to his spokeswoman Lisa Wright.

In the Aug. 10 tour, company officials discussed their work in life sciences, engineering, energy and environmental research, according to Bartlett.

“There's just no substitute for meeting directly with the scientists and technicians where they work to understand the contributions that they are making to our country and our local community through their research,” Bartlett wrote in an email.

Bartlett faces Democrat John Delaney in the Nov. 6 election in a tough battle in the reconfigured 6th Congressional District, as both campaigns begin to heat up prior to Labor Day.

Southern Research Institute on Aviation Way in Frederick is a branch of a not-for-profit company that focuses on high-risk and often life-threatening agents for the development of treatments and vaccines.

“Our infectious disease team offers scientific expertise in microbiology and immunology and provides a range of laboratory research services focused on drug and vaccine evaluations for select agents/emerging pathogens,” according to its website.

Bartlett, who serves on the Committee of Science, Space and Technology, reported that “amazing advances” are under way at Southern Research Institute, citing Central Maryland as “home to some of the world's leading institutions” involved with this work of treatments and vaccines.

The institute is one of an unknown number of biotech companies in Frederick County that use high-containment level biolaboratories in their research. Scientists in the biosafety-level 3 labs study select biological pathogens that can cause severe illness and even death, such as anthrax and West Nile virus.

Maryland law allows those private and not-for-profit labs to remain anonymous for security reasons. A local advisory group previously has protested the confidentiality of such labs.

kheerbrandt@gazette.net