Summary: The CDC has introduced OneLab VR, a multiplayer virtual reality environment for clinical and public health laboratory training, featuring a 50,000 square-foot facility with 12 diverse lab environments and over 100 pieces of custom-built equipment.


  1. OneLab VR enables live, interactive training sessions in a realistic virtual lab, enhancing the learning experience with real-time communication and feedback.
  2. The virtual training space was meticulously designed with input from various experts to replicate real laboratory conditions, including safety features.
  3. OneLab VR is part of the broader CDC OneLab initiative, aimed at building a robust community of laboratory professionals to improve public health emergency responses.

Recently, the CDC launched OneLab VR, a multiplayer virtual reality (VR) environment that contains an ever-expanding suite of laboratory training scenarios. It includes a 50,000 square-foot virtual facility designed for clinical and public health laboratory training. OneLab VR can be used to conduct live training on a variety of laboratory topics, or learners can take on-demand VR training.

Further Reading: Program Supports Need to Expand Diagnostic Testing Access

Creating a Unique Environment

Through OneLab VR | OneLab REACH (, trainers can create their own environment and invite learners to join and communicate with one another in real time from around the world.  

“OneLab VR offers a training experience in a laboratory environment unlike anything out there,” says Joe Rothschild, Virtual Reality Team Lead, Training and Workforce Development Branch, Division of Laboratory Systems, CDC. “Having a live, virtual, hands-on training with an instructor who can offer immediate feedback and guidance takes laboratory training to another level as everyone can see, hear, and talk to one another in real time.”  

CDC worked with laboratory architects, designers, safety experts, and members of the clinical laboratory community to create this virtual training space. All aspects from the physical size and placement of laboratory environments to the placement of fire alarms and sprinkler systems have been researched, tested, and reviewed. 

OneLab VR Has 12 Laboratory Environments

OneLab VR consists of 12 different laboratories designed for clinical and public health laboratory training. Each VR training scenario is designed to quickly familiarize learners with laboratory equipment, safety, and procedures. Over 100 custom-built pieces of laboratory equipment are part of the design including: 

  • Rotary microtome, tissue processor  
  • Darkfield microscope  
  • Incubators, refrigerators, and freezers  
  • Real-time PCR machines  
  • Centrifuges, microfuges  
  • Biosafety cabinets 
  • Chemical fume hoods  
  • Chemistry analyzers 
  • Microbial identification systems  

Building the Laboratory Community

OneLab VR is part of CDC OneLab, an initiative developed to bridge, train, and sustain a capacity-building community among laboratory professionals and testers to support rapid, large-scale responses to public health emergencies collectively. OneLab VR is available on CDC OneLab REACH™, and was designed for the Meta Quest headset, available at the Meta Quest Store.

Featured Image: A group of learners are engaged in a multiplayer virtual training session in OneLab VR. They are dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) as they inspect a vial of blood before placing it into a centrifuge. Image: CDC