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. The IRF-Frederick offers the ability to perform pre-screening clinical pathology by having parallel setups of clinical analyzers in biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) within the BSL-2. In addition, the group processes a high volume of study samples and maintains the repository to be able to provide study 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
  • 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)
  • GeneXpert (automated on-demand molecular diagnostic system)
  • Magnetic bead-based extraction robot
  • Plaque assays
  • Microbial detection system
  • Bacteriology testing and identification
  • Quality control testing of cell lines and viral preps
  • Inventory maintenance of 168 cell lines
  • Hybridoma maintenance and purification of monoclonal antibodies
  • Spectrophotometer used for quantification
  • Cell culture
    • Fully automated image-based cell analyzer
    • Endotoxin testing system
    • Mycoplasma testing


Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick)

Contact Information

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