An Overview of PHL

Our services include...

Established in 1971, the Pathology/Histotechnology Laboratory (PHL) provides comprehensive animal diagnostic and animal and human research support for NIH and other government scientists on a cost recovered basis. PHL is currently organized as two process groups.

The PHL's Veterinary Pathology Section (VPS), headed by Dr Bak Karim, DVM, PhD., offers integrated pathology services including consult/design of necropsy protocols, phenotyping of genetically engineered mice (GEM), immunopathology, anatomic pathology, toxicological pathology, and specimen classification/selection for tissue microarray construction or microdissection.

The companion Histotechnology Laboratory (HL) headed by Dr Larry Sternberg, PhD., offers complimentary support for animal health monitoring, biomarker discovery/validation, drug development, genomics, and proteomics. Specific HL offerings include Animal Necropsy and Blood Services; Tissue Processing and Embedding; Tissue Micro Arrays (TMAs); Microtomy; Histological Staining; Molecular Histology including enzyme stains, immunohistochemistry (IHC) in situ hybridization (ISH), and “goal appropriate” Target Enrichment Workflows from frozen/fixed animal and human tissues, paraffin and OCT tissue blocks, paraffin block cores, and precut glass or plastic membrane slides including yield and quality DNA, RNA, and protein assessments.

The PHL also supports a wide range of Digital Imaging and Analysis options including gross photography, and Leica-Aperio bright field and fluorescent digital whole-slide scanning. An associated Leica ESlide database allows for digital slide conferencing via secure WebEx and integrated image analyses utilizing the Leica Aperio Genie Toolbox and Definiens Tissue Studio software. The PHL also banks a variety of control reagents and tissues that are used to facilitate collaborative research.

Access to PHL

  • NCI Staff and other NIH Staff

    The PHL is currently open to work submissions from all intramural NIH laboratories that obtain a valid NCI Frederick project account number via the FNLCR account setup and request submission processes. Note that different NIH Institutes may require added or alternate steps in the work approval process.

  • Non NIH Government Staff

    PHL also accepts work from other government groups provided they first establish an interagency agreement with the National Cancer Institute for this purpose and then follow the FNLCR account setup and request submission processes.

  • All Others

    PHL does not accept work from non-government (private/commercial) groups.

Scope of Work Restrictions

  • Human Research Samples

    Acceptance of human research samples is contingent on prior submission and approval of a biological safety attestation form that confirms the material was collected under an institute approved IRB and/or released for research purposes. Once approved, this remains in effect for the length of the project or until there is a change in the nature of the samples. Submitted samples must also be free of protect patient information (PPI) and/or personal identifying information (PII). PHL does not perform diagnostic work on human samples. PHL also does not accept human CNS tissues without documented verification of prion–free status.

  • Live Animals

    Submission of live animals requires special handling procedures including prior agreement on a Study Specific Necropsy protocol and seven-days advance notice.

  • Hematology and Clinical Chemistry

    Blood samples submitted for same-day Hematology or Clinical Chemistry testing require special handling and two-days advance notice. Services are limited to the testing of blood/serum from Mouse, Rat, Cat, Dog, and Non-human Primates. Human blood is not accepted.

  • Hazardous Materials

    Tissue samples submitted in alcohols or containing other potentially hazardous chemicals must be clearly labeled and require special handling