Core Services—Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

The core services team provides cell culture, hematology, hemostasis, clinical chemistry, microbiology, and molecular virology support for infectious disease studies at the IRF-Frederick. The team has the ability to perform pre-screening assessment by having parallel setups of clinical analyzers in biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) and BSL-2. In addition, the team processes a high volume of study samples and maintains a repository from which it provides experimental samples to other groups within the facility for downstream analysis.

Main Areas of Focus

Analysis and processing of virus-related samples, including the following:

  • Blood and its individual components
  • Tissues
  • Cells
  • Isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)
  • Body fluids
  • Swabs (oral, nasal, rectal, and wound)
  • Sputum and bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL) samples

Capabilities and Specialized Equipment

  • Animal blood, body fluid, and tissue processing
  • Bead mill homogenizer
  • Hematology analyzer
  • Clinical chemistry analyzer
  • Coagulation analyzer
  • DNA, RNA, and protein analysis
  • Nucleic acid extractions
  • Quantitative and qualitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Magnetic bead-based extraction robot
  • Plaque assays
  • Microbial detection system
  • Bacteriology testing
  • Quality control testing of cell lines and viral stocks
  • Cell culture
    • Fully automated image-based cell analyzer
    • Endotoxin testing system
    • Mycoplasma testing
    • Inventory maintenance of over 150 cell lines


Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick)

Contact Information

Mike Holbrook, Ph.D.
Principal Scientist and Director of Biocontainment (Contractor)

Kelly Wetzel
Clinical Laboratory and Assay Development Scientist (Contractor)



All procedures are well-documented and adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs), methods, or study-approved plans and agreements.

Collaboration Opportunities

  • Studies relevant to human disease
  • Use of surrogate systems to test clinical hypotheses
  • Use of biological systems to answer questions regarding disease pathogenesis and strategies for intervention including antimicrobials, vaccines, and other countermeasures
  • Developing and incorporating cutting-edge technologies to understand infectious diseases

Read more about how to work with the IRF-Frederick.