Ulrich Baxa, senior microscopist at the National Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility, explains the facility's capabilities to visitors.


The Frederick National Laboratory develops and applies advanced, next-generation technologies to solve basic and applied problems in the biomedical sciences, and serves as a national resource of shared high-tech facilities.

Cryo-electron microscopy

The Frederick National Laboratory is home to the National Cyro-Electron Microscopy Facility (NCEF), a user facility to provide cancer researchers access to the latest technology for high resolution imaging. These microscope and detector technologies are critical for obtaining the highest resolution images of biological structures. This facility meets the needs of cancer researchers who are engaged in structural biology cyro-EM research and do not have adequate access to these instruments at their own institutions.

Nanotechnology characterization, formulation

The Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) characterizes nanoparticles’ physical and chemical attributes, their in vitro biological properties, and their in vivo compatibility through preclinical toxicology, pharmacology, and efficacy studies. The NCL has characterized more than 360 different nanomedicine products for researchers worldwide, and it has partnered with several pharmaceutical companies for nanotech reformulation and characterization efforts.  

Molecular characterization

The Molecular Characterization Laboratory (MoCha) provides scientific evidence to improve patient outcomes by translating information from the characterization of molecular alterations in patients’ tumors. MoCha has played a central role in the NCI-MATCH clinical trial to test cancer drugs using the newest tools of precision medicine to identify best treatment for patients based on the genetic makeup of their tumors.


High-energy beam-line partnership

The Frederick National Laboratory helped set up and continues to support the Advanced Photon Source, a high-energy particle accelerator that aims to meet the needs of researchers in materials science, chemistry, physics, biology, and environmental science. The facility is a national X-ray resource that produces clear and detailed images to help scientists collect data in amazingly short time frames for cancer research and other diseases.    

High-performance biomedical computing

Through collaboration with the National Cancer Institute and Department of Energy (DOE), The Frederick National Laboratory plays a significant role in expanding the use of high-performance computing in cancer research. The partnership supports the government’s Cancer Moonshot℠ and Precision Medicine initiatives by developing high-performance computing capabilities to meet the challenges of modeling problems in cancer on large-scale computing systems.