NMRC Navy Medical Research Center


Silver Spring, MD


MAJ Amy Carlson - amy.m.carlson6.mil@mail.mil

Operating Status Summer 2023:

On-site (The internship will be performed entirely at the lab)

Student Requirements:

Students must be solely U.S. citizens. (Permanent residents and dual citizens are not eligible.) Interns must also have government-issued ID and their own transportation to get on site.


The laboratory’s mission is to conduct health and medical research, development, testing, evaluation, and surveillance to enhance deployment readiness of Department of Defense personnel worldwide. NMRC is a premier research organization with the vision of world-class, operationally relevant health and medical research solutions.

About the Lab

The Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) is an agency that performs basic and applied biomedical research to meet the needs of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. Its areas of focus include study of infectious diseases, biodefense, military medicine, battlefield medicine, and bone marrow research. The NMRC laboratory focuses on solutions to operational medical problems such as battlefield neurotrauma and wound infections, decompression sickness, naturally occurring infectious diseases, and biological threat agents; and is home to the DoD bone marrow registry. The NMRC laboratory is co-located in the Daniel K. Inouye Building with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research at the U.S. Army Forest Glen Annex, Silver Spring, Maryland. NMRC also operates a Biological Defense Research Directorate at the U.S. Army Ft. Detrick Garrison in Frederick, Maryland.

What is unique about this lab?

NMRC was originally founded in 1942 as the Naval Medical Research Institute and was located on the campus of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Besides researching health and safety issues for shipboard environments, it was involved in early radiobiology research after the development of atomic weapons, astronaut training during the 1960s Space Race, as well as the establishment of the Navy Tissue Bank and the National Marrow Donor Program. The Navy Toxicology Unit, which had been founded in 1959 in response to air quality issues within USS Nautilus as well as toxicity concerns about replacements for flammable hydraulic fluids, was incorporated into NMRI in 1975 and moved the following year from Bethesda to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio so it could share resources with the Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory's Toxic Hazards Division. The unit later became the Environmental Health Effects Laboratory at Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton. In 1998, NMRI was reorganized into the Naval Medical Research Center and became an umbrella organization for several other subordinate commands elsewhere in the nation and abroad. Since 1999, it has been located in the Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Forest Glen Annex was originally an annex of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure process the facility was transferred to the command of Fort Detrick in 2008. NMRC occupies the Daniel K. Inouye Building, named for the late Senator Daniel Inouye, along with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

About the Internship

We are seeking motivated and dynamic high school students with an interest in world-class biomedical research. These students will help support the evolving scientific needs of the U.S. military by working hands-on with some of the world's leading experts in areas including infectious diseases, vaccine development, biodefense, undersea medicine, battlefield medicine, and regenerative research. Each student will gain a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can take with them in their future STEM careers.

What will I do any given day as an intern at this lab?

Interns participate in lab functions in a number of ways including (but not limited to) assisting mentors with guided research projects; group mentoring sessions; team and leadership development; team building workshops; touring labs; and other professional development activities.

What Subjects Should Students Be Studying To Be A Good Fit For Interning At This Lab?

The primary subjects of interest include:

  • Anatomy
  • Behavioral Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Government
  • Management/Leadership
  • Medicine/Health
  • Physiology
  • Statistics and Probability

What will I learn as an intern at this lab?

With a wide variety of projects occurring at NMRC, interns will get the chance for hands-on experience working directly with a scientific mentor to develop and execute a critical research project. You will learn various laboratory techniques and how that research is applied to develop methods to better support the Navy and Marines in the field.

What kinds of projects do interns at this lab participate in?

The following are examples of projects to which interns may be assigned:

Malaria Research Department: The primary objective of the Navy's Malaria Program is to develop a vaccine that kills the parasite during its first few days of development in the liver, before it breaks out into the blood. If this approach is successful, it will prevent the clinical manifestation of malaria, which occurs only in conjunction with blood stage infection and not with the liver stage. Such a vaccine would benefit deployed military personnel as well as travelers and other non-immune populations. At the same time, the program is investigating vaccines that would target blood stage infection to limit the severity of symptoms associated with this stage. Both liver and blood stage vaccines, if deployed in endemic areas, could alleviate much of the suffering caused by this parasite in tropical countries. SEAP students will assist with vaccine research alongside a senior researcher.

Enteric Diseases Department: Infectious diarrhea has historically been a substantial cause of morbidity for deployed U.S. military personnel and continues to the present day in those deployed in the global war on terrorism. Pathogenic bacteria, including Campylobacter, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), and Shigella are principal causative agents. These pathogens are also major causes of travelers' diarrhea in civilian populations and endemic diarrheal diseases in young children in resource-limited regions of the globe. The department is organized into four closely integrated branches: Molecular Biology, Immunology, Biochemistry, and Clinical Trials. Principal investigators within the program work with a number of extramural academic, industry, and government partners to achieve the goal of developing new-generation vaccines against bacterial diarrhea.

Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department: The Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department is divided into two divisions, Viral Disease and Rickettsial Disease Division. Because of the historic and current military impact of dengue virus infections, the key focus of the Viral Diseases Division is on the development of a vaccine to prevent dengue fever. An additional focus of the department is to develop and evaluate field-deployable diagnostic assays for the rapid and accurate detection of dengue virus (antigen or viral RNA) and dengue-specific antibodies in human clinical samples using innovative immunological or molecular approaches.

Wound Infection Department: The Wound Infections Department (WID) was established in September 2011 in response to the Navy Surgeon General's call for research activities that will provide direct benefit to our wounded warfighters. The primary mission of the WID is to develop and evaluate novel and alternative treatment and prevention strategies for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) associated with multi drug-resistant organisms, which have increasingly afflicted U.S. military members wounded in combat. A SEAP student may be involved in the testing of novel therapeutics against various bacterial and fungal infections.

Undersea Medicine Department: The Undersea Medicine Department focuses on interventions to improve performance and reduce injury in deployed Naval forces engaged in undersea occupations. The undersea medicine program has a unique mission area providing the capability to perform advanced undersea medicine research using animal models. Undersea medicine develops cutting-edge technologies to prevent and treat decompression sickness as well as pulmonary and central nervous system toxicity associated with exposure to hyperbaric oxygen.

NeuroTrauma Department: The NeuroTrauma Department is actively involved in developing novel strategies to prevent and treat combat casualties with particular attention given to developing early, far forward interventions. This includes the Polytrauma Program, which studies traumatic brain injury (TBI) alone or in combination with hemorrhage or other injuries. The Operational Medicine program is primarily focused on emergent combat injury issues, mainly blast-induced TBI, the importance of which has been spotlighted through the OIF/OEF experience due to the increased use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These research efforts include the study of blast biophysics, the pathophysiological responses to blast, neurocognitive and behavioral consequences of blast exposure and treatments for blast injury.

Regenerative Medicine Department: NMRC's Regenerative Medicine Department maintains active research efforts in a composite tissue transplantation, stem cell biology, and translational medicine. Department scientists achieved the first successful, heterologous, full skin transplant in a primate model without the use of conventional immunosuppressive drugs. We are also examining the role of mesenchymal stem cells in tissue regeneration and transplantation. The Translational Medicine program conducts both basic and clinical studies in wound healing and tissue regeneration. By identifying the protein and gene expression patterns involved in wound healing, we are working to develop advanced diagnostics and treatment protocols to enhance overall outcomes for combat wounds.