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The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is to reduce the burden of neurological disease – a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world. To this end, the Institute supports and conducts research on the healthy and diseased brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Hundreds of disorders afflict the nervous system. Common killers and disablers such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, epilepsy, and autism are well known. Other disorders we study may be known only to the patients and families affected, their doctors, and scientists who look to rare disorders for help in understanding the brain as well as treating more common diseases.
With our mission in mind, the NINDS has identified the following overall goals. In the coming years NINDS will:
1950 – On August 15 President Truman signed P.L. 81-692, establishing the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness.
1951 – NINDB received its first budget of $1,232,253.
1953 – The NINDB budget became a line item in the NIH budget.
1953-54 – An intramural program of clinical investigation was initiated, including medical neurology, surgical neurology, and electroencephalography. Training programs in neurology and ophthalmology were initiated.
1955 – Basic science training grants were initiated.
1956 – The intramural clinical investigations program was expanded to include work in ophthalmology.
1957 – Training programs in otolaryngology and pediatric neurology were begun.
Field investigations involving collaborative and cooperative clinical studies were begun and the initial phase of the Collaborative Perinatal Project was started.
1960 – The joint intramural basic research program of NINDB and NIMH was divided and organized into two basic research laboratory programs.
1961 – First program projects and clinical research centers in stroke and communicative disorders were supported.
1962 – Funds were appropriated for professional and technical information assistance. Training grants in neurosurgery and neuroradiology were initiated.
1963 – Developmental graduate training grants were initiated.
1965 – A head injury research program was established.
1966 – The stroke research program was expanded; additional grants for clinical research centers were awarded. An antiepileptic drug testing program was begun.
1967 – Vision outpatient research centers were established. A program of research in neural control mechanisms and prostheses was initiated.
1968 – The NINDS blindness program became the nucleus of the National Eye Institute. The institute was renamed the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.
1969 – Research Building 36, dedicated by DHEW Secretary Robert H. Finch, was occupied by NINDS and NIMH research laboratories.
1971 – Programs in applied neurological research (epilepsy, head injury), infectious diseases, and biometry were added to the Collaborative and Field Research Division.
1973 – Two new communicative disorders programs were begun with establishment of a section on communicative disorders in the Collaborative and Field Research Division, and an intramural Laboratory of Neuro-Otolaryngology.
1974 – Laboratories for neuroimmunology and neuropharmacology were established.
1975 – NINDS was renamed the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke.
The institute reorganized into six units for intramural research, fundamental neurosciences, communicative disorders, neurological disorders, stroke and trauma, and extramural activities.
1976 – Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek, chief, Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work on atypical slow viruses.
1979 – A neuroepidemiology section and a section of neurotoxicology were established within the Intramural Research Program. NINCDS substantially expanded extramural support of research studies using positron emission tomography.
1982 – The institute’s Neurological Disorders Program was replaced by two new program units: convulsive, developmental, and neuromuscular disorders and demyelinating, atrophic, and dementing disorders.
1984 – NINCDS established the Senator Jacob Javits Neuroscience Awards, which provide research grant support for up to 7 years in the basic and clinical neurosciences and communicative sciences.
A Laboratory of Neurobiology and a Laboratory of Experimental Neuropathology were established within the Intramural Research Program.
1986 – A Laboratory of Neural Regeneration and Implantation was established within the Intramural Research Program.
1987 – NINCDS programs were renamed divisions, reflecting major areas of research interest: communicative and neurosensory disorders; convulsive, developmental, and neuromuscular disorders; demyelinating, atrophic, and dementing disorders; fundamental neurosciences; stroke and trauma; extramural activities; and intramural research.
A Clinical Neuroscience Branch was established within the Division of Intramural Research.
1988 – The communicative disorders program became the nucleus of the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. NINCDS was renamed the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
1989 – On July 25 President Bush signed P.L. 101-58, declaring the 1990s the “Decade of the Brain.”
1990 – A Stroke Branch was established within the Division of Intramural Research.
1998 – NINDS forms seven planning panels comprised of neuroscience leaders; panel members outline opportunities for research investment
1999 – NINDS publishes Neuroscience at the New Millennium: Priorities and Plans for the NINDS, Fiscal Years 2000-2001.
2001 – NINDS celebrates its 50th anniversary with a 2-day scientific symposium "Celebrating 50 Years of Brain Research: New Discoveries, New Hope."
August 15, 1950 – Public Law 81-692 established NINDB “for research on neurological diseases (including epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis) and blindness.”
August 16, 1968 – Public Law 90-489 renamed the NINDB the National Institute of Neurological Diseases.
October 24, 1968 – Public Law 90-636 changed the name of the NIND to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.
October 25, 1972 – Public Law 92-564 established a temporary National Commission on Multiple Sclerosis supported by NINDS.
March 14, 1975 – Part 8 of a DHEW Statement of Organization, Functions, and Delegations of Authority was amended to change the title of NINDS to the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke.
July 29, 1975 – Public Law 94-63 established two temporary commissions to be supported by NINCDS: Commission for the Control of Epilepsy and Its Consequences, and Commission for the Control of Huntington’s Disease and Its Consequences.
October 28, 1988 – Public Law 100-553 changed the name of NINCDS to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
June 10, 1993 – Public Law 103-43 added language on Multiple Sclerosis research to the legislative mandate of the NINDS.
November 13, 1997 – Public Law 105-78, the Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease and Research Act, added language authorizing increased Parkinson's disease research and training, including research centers.
Dr. Penn is Acting Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and has served as the institute's Deputy Director since 1996. She also served as Acting Director of NINDS from January 1998 to July 1998. Before joining NINDS, Dr. Penn was Professor of Neurology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and practiced neurology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.
Dr. Penn is one of the nation's leading neurologists and a well-known scientist specializing in neuromuscular disease research. An expert on neuroimmunology and neuromuscular disorders, Dr. Penn is especially well known for her clinical expertise and accomplishments in research on myasthenia gravis, a disorder characterized by muscle weakness and affecting 100,000 persons in the United States. She is active in the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation and played a major role in organizing an international conference on the disorder.
She is a former president of the American Neurological Association (ANA) and was previously a Director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. In addition to the ANA, her professional memberships include the American Academy of Neurology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Harvey Society, and the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease. She formerly served on the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council.
Dr. Penn received a B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1956 and a medical degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1960. She received training in neurology at the Neurological Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and was a special fellow of NINDS for postgraduate training in the biochemistry of muscle proteins implicated in muscle diseases. This training led her into work on the acetylcholine receptor, the target protein in myasthenia gravis.
The institute is organized into a division of extramural research and a division of intramural research.
Division of Extramural Research
The Division of Extramural Research plans and directs initiatives for grant and contract support for research, research training, and career development to assure maximum utilization of available resources in the attainment of NINDS objectives. Research activities include studies on: fundamental cellular, molecular, and systems neuroscience; developmental neurobiology; developmental disorders; neurogenetics; stroke; traumatic brain and spinal cord injury; neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease; brain tumors; development of artificial prosthetic devices to restore function to the damaged nervous system; convulsive disorders, including epilepsy; infectious disorders of the brain and nervous system, including AIDS; immune disorders of the brain and nervous system, including multiple sclerosis; disorders related to sleep mechanisms; and neuromuscular disorders.
In addition, the division maintains surveillance over developments in these program areas and assesses the national need for research on the cause, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the brain and nervous system. Program scientists also track technological development, the application of research findings, and research training and career development in these areas. In addition to determining program priorities and recommending funding levels for programs to be supported by grants and contracts, division scientists (a) collaborate with other institutes of the NIH on national research efforts related to these program areas, (b) prepare reports and analyses of national needs to assist NINDS staff and advisory groups in carrying out their responsibilities and in developing new areas of emphasis, and (c) consult with voluntary health organizations and with professional associations in identifying research needs and developing programs to meet these needs.
The Division of Extramural Research is organized into work groups known as clusters. The current operational clusters are:
Resources and information will move fluidly among the clusters, and new ones will be created and old ones abolished as science, technology, and resources dictate.
There are also three administrative branches in the extramural program devoted to support and coordination, a Scientific Review Branch, and an Office of Research Training and Career Development. Topics of special interest to each cluster are listed below. Many clinical and basic research problems are addressed collaboratively by members of several clusters.
Repair and Plasticity
Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience
Channels, Synapses, and Circuits
Division of Intramural Research
A full description of the NINDS Division of Intramural Research can be found at http://intra.ninds.nih.gov/
|This page was last reviewed on July 15, 2002 .|
National Institutes of Health (NIH)