Core Services—Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

The core services group at the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF‑Frederick) provides cell culture, hematology, hemostasis, clinical chemistry, microbiology, and molecular virology support for monitoring animals in infectious disease studies. In addition, the core routinely performs assay optimization and ruggedization for high-throughput analysis of a wide variety of in vivo and in vitro studies involving high-consequence viral pathogens and provides samples for 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
  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)
  • Body fluids
  • Swabs (oral, nasal, rectal, and wounds)
  • Sputum and bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL) samples

Capabilities and Specialized Equipment

  • Animal blood, body fluid, and tissue processing
  • Quality control testing of cell lines and viral preps
  • Nucleic acid extractions
  • Quantitative and qualitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Plaque assays
  • Bacteriology testing and identification
  • Inventory maintenance of 168 cell lines
  • Assay optimization
  • Hybridoma maintenance and purification of monoclonal antibodies
  • Animal studies hematology analyzer
  • Clinical chemistry analyzer
  • Coagulation analyzer
  • Automated cell counter
  • GeneXpert (automated on-demand molecular diagnostic system)
  • Magnetic bead-based extraction robot
  • Bead mill homogenizer
  • Fast real-time PCR system
  • Spectrophotometer used for quantification
  • DNA, RNA, and protein analysis
  • Culture identification
  • Microbial detection system
  • Bacterial endotoxin testing system
  • Cell culture
    • Fully automated image-based cell analyzer
    • Bacterial endotoxin testing system
    • Live-cell analysis system


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.


Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick)

Contact Information

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