Virology—Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick

The virology team focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of viral pathogenesis and advancing clinical approaches to assist in managing diseases. The team works with a range of high-consequence viral pathogens.

The team leverages fundamental methodologies, such as: 

  • Virus quantification assays
    • Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT‑qPCR)
    • Titration assays
  • Serological assessments
    • Virus neutralization assays
    • Immunofluorescence assay (IFA)
    • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Virus stock characterization
  • Recombinant viral systems

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, and 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 efficacy assessment  
    • In vitro screening
    • In vivo screening
  • Assay development
    • Adapting assays to biocontainment safety requirements
    • Initial screening
    • Full qualification of assays
  • 3D microfluidic organ-on-chip model development
  • Animal model development
    • Rodents
    • Ferrets
    • Nonhuman primates
    • Animals of other species, as available and needed


  • 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
  • ThermoFisher Scientific EVOS M7000 Imaging System
  • Tecan Freedom Evo pipetting robot with combined Tecan Infinite M1000 microplate reader
  • Typhoon FLA 9500 imaging system
  • Operetta high-content imaging systems
  • ONI Nanoimager super-resolution microscope
  • QuantStudio Absolute Q digital PCR system
  • Emulate Human-on-a-Chip system 


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)



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.