Technical Service Program Provides Researchers Worldwide with Access to Unique Services

By Victoria Brun, contributing writer, Partnership Development Office
Graphic for the video series: a blue and green matrix on a black background with the text "Frederick National Laboratory Technical Services Video Series"

The Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNL) not only tackles some of the world’s greatest biomedical challenges but also serves as a shared national resource to enable high-quality research beyond its walls. One way FNL does this is through the Technical Services Program.

The Technical Services Program gives investigators worldwide access to some of FNL’s unique analytical and technical capabilities. Since the program began in 2012, more than 100 partners from government, industry, academia, and the nonprofit research sector have taken advantage of these services—ordering more than 95,000 individual services. The services support HIV vaccine studies, help fine-tune nanomedicine formulations, perform preclinical studies of lung and pancreatic cancer therapies, and more.

Recently, FNL Partnership Development Office Director Vladimir Popov virtually sat down with four FNL investigators who offer technical services to discuss the services’ value and what makes them unique. Check out the videos.

HIV Services

FNL offers 10 diverse services to support HIV researchers, including immunohistochemistry detection and analysis, quantitative assessment of lymphoid tissue fibrosis, and next-generation sequence analysis of a barcoded virus. When discussing these services, AIDS and Cancer Virus Program (ACVP) investigators Claire Deleage, Ph.D., and Christine Fennessey, Ph.D., stressed that they don’t merely focus on generating high-quality data but also on making those data accessible so their collaborators can make the best use of them.

“Having beautiful pictures is a good thing, right?” Deleage said. “But being able to quantify, put a number on that information, is really, really powerful to address needs in any type of research… One of the really unique strengths of our services offered here at the [ACVP Tissue Analysis Core] is our distinctive way to quantify the data.”

“We try and communicate with our collaborators really closely,” Fennessey said. “We’re always available to help make sense of the data we generate.”

The ACVP investigators have a rare level of experience with these data due to the vast number of services they perform for external researchers, as well as for FNL and the National Cancer Institute.

Nanotechnology Services

Stephan Stern, Ph.D., co-director of the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory, discussed FNL’s two nanomedicine services. Both use the stable isotope tracer ultrafiltration assay (SITUA) method, developed by the nanotechnology laboratory, and provide important data on the pharmacokinetics and drug release of a nanoparticulate formulation.

“We’re the only providers of this SITUA method in the world at this time,” said Stern. “There is no other commercial source, and for that reason, there’s an extremely high amount of interest in our laboratory in performing this method for groups.”

The data generated from these studies can be used for various applications, including to support Food and Drug Administration approval of new therapies and generic versions of nanomedicines.

Lung and Pancreatic Cancer

FNL performs various preclinical studies, including pharmacokinetic, tolerance, and efficiency studies, using lung and pancreatic cancer mouse models. These services take advantage of the breadth of expertise housed at the national laboratory. Serguei Kozlov, Ph.D., of the Center for Advanced Preclinical Research, explained that his laboratory cooperates with other groups within FNL, including the Small Animal Imaging Program and Molecular Histotechnology Laboratory, to offer these services.

“Thus, we can accomplish our experimentation to a much greater depth and much greater latitude,” he said.

In addition to those noted above, FNL offers an HPV genotyping service, a polymerase chain reaction test for Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA, and more. The complete list of services is available here.


Victoria Brun is a partnership project manager in the Frederick National Laboratory Partnership Development Office, where she provides project management support across the office’s broad portfolio of collaborative projects. The Partnership Development Office establishes the partnerships and collaborations among Frederick National Laboratory scientists and external researchers in government, academia, industry, and the nonprofit research sector.