What is NIH?

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 cellsVeer/phakimata

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?"

Major Advances

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

Like No Other Research Institution in the World

“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.

Exploring the Unknown

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.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2013

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.

Living Longer and Healthier

A senior man and baby looking into each other's eyes.iStock/H-Gall

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.

Understanding the Human Brain

The dentate gyrus of the mouse hippocampus using Brainbow transgenes.Center for Brain Science at Harvard University

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.

A map of overall task-fMRI brain coverage from the seven tasks used in the Human Connectome Project.D.M. Barch for the WU-Minn HCP Consortium

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.

 

MedlinePlus - Trusted Health Information for You

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.

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

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

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.

People Make NIH Strong

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.

Big Data

DNA strands.iStock/alengo

“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.

Pain Consortium

Nerve cells.iStock/ktsimage

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.

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.

This page last reviewed on September 14, 2015