Dara Riva of the Neutrophil Monitoring Laboratory performs daily monitoring of the CO2 levels in the incubator to ensure that optimal conditions are met to grow tissue culture samples.

Basic Research

The Frederick National Laboratory conducts investigator-initiated, hypothesis-driven research to understand the biological mechanisms that give rise to cancer, AIDS, and other diseases.

Cancer Biology

The Frederick National Laboratory encourages and facilitates continued support of basic research in all areas of cancer biology. It provides the research foundation that enables improved understanding of cancer and may lead to new approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Support for this research comes from the Data Science and Information Technology Program and Basic Science Program.


The Basic Science Program expands knowledge of the function of immune response and its potential application to the treatment of cancer. A major goal is to enhance tumor cell death using chemical, biological, or pharmaceutical agents as sensitizing compounds to promote cancer cell death.


The AIDS and Cancer Virus Program (ACVP) pursues studies that contribute to the overall goal of developing an effective vaccine or other approaches for the prevention or treatment of HIV infection and AIDS. The ACVP contributes to the advancement of understanding HIV and AIDS, a major cause of death in the United States and around the world.

Structural Biology

By studying cells and molecules in 3D, FNL focuses its research and development activities to understanding the molecular basis of cell organization, invasion, and differentiation using live, 3D tissue culture models. Electron microscopy capabilities are used to assist investigators in exploring new avenues of research to enhance knowledge of biological systems.  

Nanotechnology Characterization

The Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) is a national resource for cancer researchers to test nanotechnologies intended for cancer therapies and diagnostics. The NCL reduces suffering and death from cancer by accelerating the transition of basic nanoscale particles and devices into clinical applications.  

RAS Initiative

More than 30 percent of all human cancers- including 95 percent of pancreatic cancers and 45 percent of colorectal cancers- are driven by mutations of the RAS family of genes. NCI established the RAS initiative in 2013 to explore innovative approaches for attacking the proteins encoded by the mutant form of RAS genes and to ultimately create effective, new therapies for RAS-related cancers. The Frederick National Laboratory is an integral part of this national initiative to further scientific understanding of cancers driven by mutations of the RAS family of genes.

Biomedical Imaging

The Advanced Biomedical Computational Science (ABCS) group supports scientific research at FNL through state-of-the-art image analysis and visualization, nanoinformatics, proteomic analysis, bioinformatics, and mathematical simulation and modeling. The technology helps researchers accelerate their work to determine more powerful cancer treatments.

Computational Science

The Data Science and Information Technology Program (DSITP) provides exceptional IT capabilities in support of basic, translational, and clinical cancer and AIDS research. The work accelerates the translation of biomedical data to scientific discoveries, medical treatments, and diagnostic and prevention tools for cancer and AIDS patients.