Virology—Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

The virology team at the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF‑Frederick) has extensive expertise working with a range of high‑consequence viral pathogens. Studies focus on gaining a deeper understanding of viral pathogenesis and advancing clinical approaches to manage viral diseases. The team leverages fundamental methodologies, such as virus quantification assays (e.g., RT‑qPCR, titration assays), serological assessments (e.g., virus neutralization assays, IFA, ELISA), virus stock characterization, use of recombinant viral systems, and mechanism-of-action study support. Additional capabilities include nucleotide, protein, and microscopic evaluation of viral infection in a range of cell or tissue types. When the need arises, the team establishes new assays, criteria, or approaches.

Main Areas of Focus

  • Basic and applied virology research on Risk Group 4 viral pathogens (e.g., Ebola, Marburg, Nipah, Lassa viruses) and other high-consequence pathogens (e.g., SARS-CoV-2)
    • Recombinant virus rescue
    • Cell infection studies
    • Growth curves
    • Titration
    • Sample preparation for molecular assays and sequencing
  • Medical countermeasure development
    • In vitro screening
    • In vivo screening
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Assay development
    • Adapting assays to biocontainment safety requirements
    • Initial screening
    • Full qualification of assays
  • Animal model development
    • Rodents
    • Rabbits
    • Ferrets
    • Nonhuman primates
    • Zebrafish
    • Animals of other species, as available and needed

Tools

  • Data analysis and interpretation with statistical support
  • Generating inactivated samples for analysis outside of containment
  • NextSeq 2000 sequencer
  • 10x Chromium single-cell sequencer
  • AKTA pure FPLC protein purifier
  • Biacore T200 biochemical analyzer
  • Leica confocal microscope
  • Leica epifluorescence microscopes
  • Tecan Freedom Evo pipetting robot with combined Tecan Infinite M1000 microplate reader
  • Typhoon FLA 9500 imaging system
  • Operetta high-content imaging systems

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.

Location

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)