The ability to detect viable organisms in air in real time is important in a number of applications. Detecting high levels of airborne organisms in hospitals can prevent post-operative infections and the spread of diseases. Monitoring levels of airborne viable organisms in pharmaceutical facilities can ensure safe production of drugs or vaccines. Monitoring airborne bacterial levels in meat processing plants can help to prevent contamination of food products. Monitoring the level of airborne organisms in bio-containment facilities can ensure that proper procedures are being followed. Finally, detecting viable organisms in real time is a key to defending against biological agent attacks. This presentation describes the development and performance of a detector, based on fluorescence particle counting technology, where an ultraviolet laser is used to count particles by light scattering and elicit fluorescence from specific biomolecules found only in living organisms. The resulting detector can specifically detect airborne particles containing living organisms from among the large majority of other particles normally present in air. Efforts to develop the core sensor technology, focusing on integrating an UV laser with a specially designed particle-counting cell will be highlighted. The hardware/software used to capture the information from the sensor, provide an alarm in the presence of an unusual biological aerosol content will also be described. Finally, results from experiments to test the performance of the detector will be presented.