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The world's largest biomedical research agency, the National Institutes of Health is made up of 27 Institutes and Centers. It supports the research of more than 2,500 universities and research institutions throughout the nation. Nearly 6,000 scientists work in NIH's own research laboratories, most of which are on the main campus of NIH in Bethesda, MD. NIH includes 300,000 people across the country and around the world working to prevent disease and improve health for millions of people.

The Nation’s Research Hospital

The NIH Clinical Center

Around 1,500 clinical studies are under way at the NIH Clinical Center at any time. Breakthroughs include:

  • Cure of a tumor with chemo
  • First use of AZT to treat AIDS
  • Use of gene therapy to treat disease

Prostate cancer cells

NIH researchers work to answer such questions as, "How can we kill cancer cells while protecting healthy cells?" and "Can we make a universal flu vaccine that will work against all strains?"

Understanding the Human Brain

Image of the dentate gyrus of the mouse hippocampus using Brainbow transgenes.

By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space.

(Photo courtesy of Center for Brain Science at Harvard University.)

A map of overall task-fMRI brain coverage from the seven tasks used in the Human Connectome Project. Yellow and red represent regions that become more active in most participants during one or more tasks in the MR scanner; blue represents regions that become less active.

The NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative will help researchers explore exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought.

(Photo courtesy of D.M. Barch for the WU-Minn HCP Consortium.)

People Make NIH Strong

Watch the video, "It's About Life," that describes the NIH mission.

The strength of NIH doesn't lie in its buildings. It lies in its people.

NIH has facilities full of the latest technology. But, its greatest asset is thousands of people who understand the human body, how to protect it, and how to help it heal.

Learn more about NIH.

The Children’s Inn at NIH

Watch a video about the Children's Inn at NIH.

Children who have life-threatening illnesses find hope at NIH. While they receive treatment at NIH, they can stay on campus at the Children's Inn, instead of in a hotel, for weeks—or even months.

A child at the NIH Children's Inn

Over the past decades, more than 10,000 children and their families have made 50,000 visits to the Children's Inn, which becomes like a second home at a trying time. While NIH takes care of the child's medical needs, the Inn tends to the child's heart, soul, and spirit.

Major Advances

Watch a video of Dr. Michael Gottesman talking about research at NIH.

Dr. Michael Gottesman describes successes of NIH's Intramural Program.

Exploring the Unknown

Watch the video "A Conversation with Dr. Marshall Nirenberg."

As of 2013, 144 NIH-supported scientists have been honored with Nobel Prizes. Watch this video to learn more about the research of Carol Greider, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Greider won the 2009 prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Dr. Carol Greider, a pioneering researcher on the structure of chromosome ends known as telomeres and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

As of 2013, 144 NIH-supported scientists have been honored with Nobel Prizes. Watch this video to learn more about the research of Carol Greider, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Greider won the 2009 prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

(Video courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2013.)

Dressing Your Best (in Red!)
to Defeat Heart Disease

'The Heart Truth' logo, which shows a red dress with a white heart.

The Heart Truth® is a national campaign to make women more aware of the danger of heart disease.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and its partner organizations sponsor The Heart Truth®. The campaign's goal is to give women a personal and urgent wake-up call about their risk of heart disease. NHLBI provides global leadership for a research, training, and education program to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.

Learn more about NHLBI.

Big Data

DNA strands.

“There is an urgent need and increased opportunities for advanced collaboration and coordination of access to, and analysis of, the rapidly expanding collections of biomedical data.”

— Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH Director

There has been an exponential growth of biomedical research data, such as from genomics, imaging, and electronic health records. NIH and and the National Science Foundation seek to develop and evaluate core technologies and tools that take advantage of available collections of large data sets to accelerate progress in science, biomedical research, and engineering.

Learn more about the BIGDATA initiative.

Like No Other Research
Institution in the World

Watch the video "Virology with Dr. Sonja Best at Rocky Mountain Laboratories."

“We can [do] research here that isn’t possible at other institutions.”

— Sonja Best, Ph.D.

A virus.

Dr. Best is chief of the Innate Immunity and Pathogenesis Unit at the Laboratory of Virology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Learn more about the work NIAID does each day.

Living Longer and Healthier

Older man with a baby.

Thanks to NIH research, a baby born in the U.S. today may live to age 79.

Good health starts before birth. The people of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) support research on children, adults, and families.

Learn more about NICHD.

Information for Everyone

Cover of MedlinePlus magazine.

The world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine has free, accurate, clear information on 900-plus conditions. The library has a vast collection (17 million books, journals, etc.) and creates many electronic resources.

Read about the latest medical research at NIH MedlinePlus, the magazine.

Pain Consortium

Nerve cells.

Today, pain has become the universal disorder, a serious and costly public health issue, and a challenge for family, friends, and health care providers who must give support to the individual suffering from the physical as well as the emotional consequences of pain.

The Pain Consortium at the National Institutes of Health was established to enhance pain research and promote collaboration among researchers across the many NIH Institutes and Centers that have programs and activities addressing pain.

Learn more about the NIH Pain Consortium.

This page last reviewed on December 5, 2013

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