Pathology and Histology—Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

The pathology department and histology laboratory at the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF‑Frederick) work together to develop and use established animal models of high-consequence emerging human viruses to study disease pathogenesis and facilitate countermeasure development under The Animal Rule. In-life clinical and postmortem samples are employed for morphologic assessments and molecular assays to address research questions. The clinical and histopathologic data are interpreted by the pathologists in the context of the study design using historical controls, or within study controls, to generate pathology reports that address the pathology-associated specific aims of each research study. The clinical pathologic and histopathologic findings facilitate the development of future studies and are used for publication in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.

Main Areas of Focus

  • Participate in study planning to ensure successful execution of pathology-related specific aims (i.e., appropriate animal model selection, assay selection, and sample allocation)
  • Conduct postmortem examinations in laboratory animal models under biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) conditions 
  • Review protocol development of molecular assays to detect emerging viral pathogens and relevant biomarkers in tissue in collaboration with our histotechnologists
  • Interpret clinical pathology data
  • Interpret cytology findings in blood smears and cytospin samples (i.e., bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, and urine)
  • Interpret histopathologic lesions in tissue sections 
  • Interpret immunohistochemical (IHC) findings in tissue sections
  • Interpret in situ hybridization (ISH) findings in tissue sections
  • Conduct histopathology scoring based on lesion type or staining characteristics in tissues to generate semiquantitative histopathology data for (statistical) significance testing 
  • Conduct and interpret electron microscopic tissue examinations 
  • Produce publication-quality pathology reports
  • Contribution to the writing and publication of manuscripts and present pathology data

Capabilities and Specialized Equipment

  • Full-service gross dissection, processing, embedding, microtomy, staining, and coverslipping
    • Mopec MB-600 adjustable elevating grossing station with backdraft ventilation
    • Tissue-Tek VIP-6 automated thermoregulated vacuum infiltration processor unit
    • Tissue-Tek TEC-6 ergonomic embedding console and cryo module workstation
    • Leica Biosystems HistoCore-MultiCut standard semiautomated rotary microtome
    • Leica Biosystems HI1210 lighted thermoregulated water flotation bath instrument 
    • Leica Biosystems ST5020/CV5030 integrated autostainer and coverslip applicator
    • Leica Biosystems IP-C/IP-S chemical-resistant inkjet printers for cassettes/slides 
  • Immunohistochemistry (IHC)
    • ThermoScientific-Shandon Sequenza staining system, chromogenic/fluorescent
  • In situ hybridization (ISH)
    • Advanced Cell Diagnostics-BioTechne RNAscope HybEZ-II staining system
  • Digital pathology whole-slide image scanning and biomarker quantitation
    • Leica Aperio AT2 high-throughput digital slide scanner
  • Publication-quality image capture of brightfield photomicrographs 
    • Olympus BX Series multimodule microscope and integrated DP74 camera system 
  • Publication-quality image capture of fluorescent photomicrographs 
    • Leica SP5 TCS-2 confocal microscope and integrated DMI6000 camera system with five internal fluorescent detectors, two HyD high-sensitivity detectors, and transmitted light detector with laser lines 405, 458, 476, 488, 514, 561, 594, and 633
       

Laboratory Equipment Photos

Leica Biosystems IP-C/IP-S chemical-resistant inkjet printers for cassettes and slides.
Leica Biosystems IP-C/IP-S chemical-resistant inkjet printers for cassettes and slides.
Credit
NIAID IRF-Frederick

Leica Biosystems IP-C/IP-S chemical-resistant inkjet printers for cassettes and slides.

Credit: NIAID IRF-Frederick
Mopec MB-600 adjustable elevating grossing station with backdraft ventilation, Tissue-Tek VIP-6 automated thermoregulated vacuum infiltration processor unit, and Tissue-Tek TEC-6 ergonomic embedding console and cryo module workstation
Mopec MB-600 adjustable elevating grossing station with backdraft ventilation, Tissue-Tek VIP-6 automated thermoregulated vacuum infiltration processor unit, and Tissue-Tek TEC-6 ergonomic embedding console and cryo module workstation.
Credit
NIAID IRF-Frederick

Mopec MB-600 adjustable elevating grossing station with backdraft ventilation, Tissue-Tek VIP-6 automated thermoregulated vacuum infiltration processor unit, and Tissue-Tek TEC-6 ergonomic embedding console and cryo module workstation.

Credit: NIAID IRF-Frederick
Leica Biosystems HistoCore-MultiCut standard semiautomated rotary microtome and HI1210 lighted thermoregulated water flotation bath instrument.
Leica Biosystems HistoCore-MultiCut standard semiautomated rotary microtome and HI1210 lighted thermoregulated water flotation bath instrument.
Credit
NIAID IRF-Frederick

Leica Biosystems HistoCore-MultiCut standard semiautomated rotary microtome and HI1210 lighted thermoregulated water flotation bath instrument.

Credit: NIAID IRF-Frederick
Leica Biosystems ST5020/CV5030 integrated autostainer and coverslip applicator.
Leica Biosystems ST5020/CV5030 integrated autostainer and coverslip applicator.
Credit
NIAID IRF-Frederick

Leica Biosystems ST5020/CV5030 integrated autostainer and coverslip applicator.

Credit: NIAID IRF-Frederick
Leica Aperio AT2 high-throughput digital slide scanner.
Leica Aperio AT2 high-throughput digital slide scanner.
Credit
NIAID IRF-Frederick

Leica Aperio AT2 high-throughput digital slide scanner.

Credit: NIAID IRF-Frederick
Leica SP5 TCS-2 confocal microscope and integrated DMI6000 camera system with five internal fluorescent detectors, two HyD high sensitivity detectors, and transmitted light detector with laser lines 405, 458, 476, 488, 514, 561, 594, and 633.
Leica SP5 TCS-2 confocal microscope and integrated DMI6000 camera system with five internal fluorescent detectors, two HyD high sensitivity detectors, and transmitted light detector with laser lines 405, 458, 476, 488, 514, 561, 594, and 633.
Credit
NIAID IRF-Frederick

Leica SP5 TCS-2 confocal microscope and integrated DMI6000 camera system with five internal fluorescent detectors, two HyD high sensitivity detectors, and transmitted light detector with laser lines 405, 458, 476, 488, 514, 561, 594, and 633.

Credit: NIAID IRF-Frederick

Location

Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick)

Contact Information

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

IRF-Frederick

Standards

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.