Animal Sciences

Preclinical Cancer Models

The Center for Advanced Preclinical Research (CAPR), directed by the NCI Center for Cancer Research, portfolio of genetically engineered mice (GEMs) includes models for non-small cell lung cancer, serous epithelium ovarian carcinoma, highgrade astrocytoma/glioblastoma, melanoma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma and prostate carcinoma. Tumors in these models are evaluated by various in vivo imaging techniques and by histopathologic and molecular analyses. For several models, orthotopic transplantation versions are available for accelerated expansion of experimental cohorts.


We use highly specific, highly sensitive tools to detect protein expression in multitudes of tissue from several species. Using antibodies, minute concentrations of specific proteins can be visualized within the confines of the microscopic/ macroscopic environment from which the protein naturally resides. Antibody mediated staining can be used to confirm protein expression, detect protein co-localization, isolate cell populations, elucidate tumor locality, functionality, and/or type, and otherwise present a “snap-shot” of the tissue/cells for a specific target of interest. With around 20 years of experience, the PHL Immunohistochemistry department provides reliable and consistent results while continually developing novel techniques to meet investigator needs.


We employ several culture methods to identify pathogenic organisms appropriate to the animal species. The laboratory has the capabilities to provide more sophisticated culture techniques for clinical cases, including anaerobic and special gas environments, phase microscopy, and serological typing.

Molecular diagnostics

We have developed and validated PCR-based assays for a number of murine viral and bacterial pathogens. Currently, the PCR-based assays are utilized in conjunction with traditionally based assays. This allows the AHDL to utilize two independent approaches to health monitoring. New assays for various rodent pathogens are constantly being developed and enhanced.


Our pathologists function as scientific collaborators assisting in animal study design, species selection, histopathology and immunohistopathology evaluation, photomicrography, report and manuscript preparation.

Image Analysis

With our complete qualitative and quantitative analysis of samples ranging from whole mice to specific anatomical microenvironments we are able to provide comprehensive reports with raw and processed data presented to the researcher along with all the images used to conduct the analysis. Whether looking at a single population of cells, comparing multiple populations of cells, examining organs from control animals and transgenic animals, or demonstrating percent of metastasis in a single organ, there is nearly a limitless amount of information that can be obtained. A library of routine analysis techniques is maintained in addition to working closely with researchers to develop novel techniques yielding the most robust and useful information for their study(s).

Laser Capture Micro-dissection

The technical preparation of tissue samples is performed to the highest standards through the preparation of microscope slides following highly specific LCM protocols that have been developed to maximize both the quality and quantity of nucleic acids in the sample. The laboratory has successfully isolated nucleic acids not only from newly acquired material, but also archived tissues and blocks. A team of veterinary pathologists is on hand to collaborate with researchers, and supervise the selection of target cell populations.

Molecular Pathology

The Molecular Pathology Group (MPG) is part of the Laboratory Aniaml Sciences Program (LASP), at the FNLCR. We are actively working to expand high-quality, pathology-based research application support available to investigators and their collaborators. Its primary role is to extend the capabilities of the FNLCR Pathology and Histology Laboratory (PHL) core group by coordinating and performing advanced, tissue-based molecular imaging studies at the request of investigators. Our goal is to be a flexible extension to your laboratory.

Viral serology

We have the capability to detect viral and mycoplasmal antibody utilizing traditional and modern techniques, including HI, ELISA, and IFA tests. The AHDL utilizes an independent commercial laboratory for confirmation of unusual test results.