Jackson Clarion-Ledger (Internet / Print) 03/31/06 http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060331/NEWS/603310348/1002/NEWS01 Mississippi has some tough competitors in its bid for a new federal research lab - including a vaunted scientific community in North Carolina and a consortium led by Auburn University. Texas A&M University is another strong bidder for the new research center, which would employ at least 250 scientists and other workers. The Department of Homeland Security already has awarded Texas A&M $18 million for its National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease - a facility that studies animal diseases that threaten human beings. Another school involved in the bid, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has a new maximum biological containment laboratory that university officials say allows scientists to safely study some of the most dangerous germs on the planet.