Pathology and Histology—Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

The pathology and histology laboratories at the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF‑Frederick) work together to conduct comprehensive postmortem examinations on laboratory animals of a variety of species studied as models for high-consequence emerging human viral infections. Using a wide spectrum of diagnostic modalities, facilitated by the histology laboratory, the pathologists can develop significant understanding of complex pathogenetic disease mechanisms and produce reports with publishable interpretations and data.

Main Areas of Focus

  • Conduct postmortem examinations in laboratory animals of a wide variety of species
  • Interpret and document (written and photographic) findings
  • Conduct histopathologic tissue examination
  • Conduct electron microscopic tissue examination
  • Interpret clinical pathology data
  • Interpret histochemistry on tissue sections
  • Conduct immunohistochemistry (IHC) interpretations on tissue sections
  • Conduct in situ hybridization (ISH) interpretations on tissue sections
  • Produce publication quality pathology reports
  • Report findings, generate reports, publish manuscripts, and present data

Capabilities and Specialized Equipment

  • Immunohistochemistry (chromogenic, fluorescence, ISH)
  • Electron microscopy sections
  • Digital pathology
  • Whole-slide scanning
  • Histomorphometric digital tissue image analysis for hematoxylin and eosin, special stains, or IHC/ISH
  • Brightfield photomicrographs
  • Leica DM3000 microscopes with integrated Olympus DP74 cameras
  • Thermo Scientific Shandon Sequenza IHC staining system
  • ACD RNAscope and ACD HybEZII ISH staining system
  • Aperio AT2 scanner for high-throughput whole-slide imaging
  • Leica SP5 TCS-2 confocal microscope and camera DMI6000 system with five internal fluorescent detectors, two HyD high sensitivity detectors, and a transmitted light detector


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)