Imaging Sciences—Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

Diagnostic and molecular imaging are important components of research studies, as they provide real-time, longitudinal, structural, and functional insights into disease processes that cannot be obtained by other laboratory tests. In support of external collaborators with innovative projects, the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick) is uniquely positioned to perform advanced imaging using a wide variety of standard imaging modalities housed within a BSL-4 containment laboratory as well as specific state-of-the-art techniques such as quantitative image analysis, imaging post-processing, and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML)/deep learning (DL) algorithms.

Main Areas of Focus

  • In vivo imaging of small animals and nonhuman primates with high-consequence infectious diseases
  • Image acquisition, imaging physics, and image analysis
  • Anatomic imaging to evaluate structural and morphologic changes from infectious diseases
  • Molecular imaging to evaluate the pathophysiological function and biochemical changes


  • Functional imaging to evaluate characteristics and/or biological behaviors from infectious diseases
  • Development of advanced post-processing/analysis methods
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms
  • Qualitative and quantitative analysis of structural, functional, and molecular images to identify and characterize disease-related lesions and whole‑body and/or organ‑specific abnormalities using
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Computed tomography (CT)
    • Positron emission tomography (PET)
    • Micro-PET/CT
    • Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
    • Ultrasound
    • Optical fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging
  • Specific built-in and dedicated commercial software for quantitative analysis
  • High-performance computing capabilities
  • AI, ML, and DL algorithms applied to imaging and clinical biomarkers
  • Interpretive radiograph analysis by radiologists
  • Access to NIH Imaging Probe Development Center, development or manufacture of imaging probes
  • Pre-clinical imaging research protocol partnering
  • Imaging to evaluate basic, pre-clinical, and translational physiological and pathophysiological disease mechanisms and processes
  • Imaging as a tool to enhance pharmaceutical development, measuring countermeasure efficacy, and understanding of drug mechanisms
  • Using imaging to detect biomarkers for infectious disease
  • Development of novel AI and ML algorithms for image segmentation and prognosis
  • Molecular imaging probe development
  • Data sharing with research community

18F-Albumin positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) fusion images on a healthy rhesus macaque (Macacca mulatta) show the distribution and local accumulation of blood pool noninvasively; the color gradient indicates relative concentration of 18F-Albumin, with a higher concentration in red and a lower concentration in blue.

Credit: NIAID

The longitudinal 18fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) fusion images of a SARS-CoV-2-infected aged hamster show bilateral increases of metabolic activities in the lung, which correspond to lung lesions on CT images from baseline (BL) to Day 8 (D8). See more SARS-CoV-2 imaging examples.

Credit: NIAID


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

Jens H. Kuhn, M.D., Ph.D., Ph.D., M.S.
Principal Scientist and Director of Virology (Contractor)