DC welcomes the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus

Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus will take on the former Walter Reed Medical Center site in Washington, D.C.

The main entrance to the new Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in Northwest D.C.

The Northwest campus will partner with Virginia Tech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington, DC and host biomedical research.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson visited the new Children's National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C. 
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson visited the new Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C.

JLABS @ Washington, DC provides the infrastructure and high-end specialized equipment needed for research by companies to help incubate.

Some of the high-end specialized equipment at the Children’s National Campus includes everything from $200,000 flow cytometers to minus 80 refrigerators.

Gloves and safety glasses on full display in from of the labs at the new Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus.

A sheet with safety reminders in from of one of the specialty equipment lab at the new Children’s National campus.

The press gather around inside the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C., during a news conference.

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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson visited the new Children's National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C. 

The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus was officially welcomed to the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus on Wednesday with a visit from D.C.’s mayor and city council chair.

The partnership of Children’s National Hospital, Virginia Tech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington, DC will host biomedical research already underway and support entrepreneurs in early-stage companies that will work to find answers to health problems plaguing children.



Research focusing on kids has traditionally lagged behind resources devoted to adults. JLABS will be the first of the parent group’s now 13 global locations to focus on pediatric research.

Virginia Tech currently has a floor of research space on the campus.

“We have strong research programs in brain cancer, including in children. And there’s some very devastating forms of brain cancer in children, the survival rates are less than 5%,” Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech Vice President for Health Sciences and Technology explained.

“It turns out our pets, dogs, get the same brain tumors that we humans get, particularly that our children get. So we have a veterinary school of Virginia Tech, and we have a cancer research group with them down in Blacksburg and Roanoke. We’re collaborating with our Children’s National colleagues as well on that, to find answers to solve problems for brain cancer in children and in our pets at the same time. We can go back and forth. It’s called One Health, an integrated health research program,” he said.

Advancements made on the innovation campus will benefit all of science as well as local families, according to Children’s National Hospital CEO Dr. Kurt Newman.

“For example, our genetics research here is focused on improving outcomes for asthma and obesity. We know that those numbers are way too high in Washington, D.C. and in this region,” Newman said.

“The research that’s being done here, the first recipients of the benefits of that, will be the children and families here, whether it’s participating in clinical trials of the latest advances or the great doctors that are working here that can provide those discoveries directly to those children,” he added.

Also, one of the companies being hosted by JLABS works to enhance the diversity in clinical trials. It’s called Acclinate.

Dr. Del Smith, CEO of Accilnate, explains why all races and ethnicities should be included in clinical trials.

“They were brought up from Alabama. Their whole goal is to increase participation by underrepresented minorities in clinical trials. That would be such a huge benefit, I think, if they can build the trust in communities to participate in getting the latest and greatest,” Newman said.

Also, later this fall one of the first pediatric primary care centers in Ward 4 will open on campus.

The campus will be opening in three phases with construction on phase two set to begin soon, thanks to a just awarded $6.7 million construction grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus advances the goal of the BioHealth Capital Region, now the fourth-largest research and biotech cluster in the U.S., to become a top-three hub by 2023.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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