Skip Over Navigation Links
NIH National Institutes of Health, DHHS
NIH Home PageHealth InformationGrants & Funding OpportunitiesNewsResearch Training & Scientific Resources at NIHInstitutes, Centers & OfficesAbout NIH
Building 1
Advanced Search Page
Home > About NIH > NIH Almanac > Organization

NIH Almanac - Organization

About the Almanac
Historical Data
Major NIH Lectures
Nobel Laureates
Past Issues
NCRR logo   National Center for Research Resources
Mission | Important Events | Legislative Chronology | Director | Programs


The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) leads the nation in support of biomedical research resources and investigator-initiated, technology-related projects. A catalyst for discovery, NCRR ensures that institutions, NIH-supported investigators, and others across the Nation have the means to develop and access unique technologies, instrumentation, facilities, animal models (mammalian and nonmammalian), genetic stocks, and biomaterials such as cell lines, tissues, and organs. This diverse funding commitment enables scientific collaborations and discoveries important to many areas of health, complementing the various missions of NIHs categorical institutes. NCRRs extramural grant support is concentrated in four Divisions: Division for Biomedical Technology Research and Research Resources, Division for Clinical Research Resources, Division of Comparative Medicine, and Division of Research Infrastructure.

Many NCRR-supported research resources - often one-of-a-kind or in short supply - are expensive to create, develop, and maintain. NCRR-funded, shared resources include networks of General Clinical Research Centers, Clinical Research Centers at Research Centers in Minority Institutions, Islet Cell Resource Centers, Biomedical Technology Research Centers, National Primate Research Centers, and resources for mutant mice and rats, as well as special animal colonies and repositories; biological models and materials; and biomedical instrumentation. Shared resources, an NCRR hallmark, also allow scientists to react rapidly and effectively to emerging health problems and unexpected research opportunities.

A number of NCRR grant programs help build and strengthen the biomedical research infrastructure of the United States, including physical facilities and human resources. For example, NCRR provides support to institutions to construct, renovate, and improve biomedical research facilities, develop basic and clinical biomedical research capabilities, provide teachers and students with hands-on science education experiences, and assist researchers in developing education models that will ultimately increase student and public understanding of biomedical science. Other NCRR support provides postgraduate and postdoctoral special-emphasis training and career-development opportunities.

Important Events in the Division of Research Resources* (DRR) History
(*Predecessor to NCRR)

1962 - On April 13 Dr. Luther L. Terry, PHS Surgeon General, announced the creation of the Division of Research Facilities and Resources (DRFR) - officially established on June 15.

In June, the Regional Primate Research Centers transferred from the National Heart Institute to DRFR.

1967 - The Biotechnology Resources Program (BRP) was established with the transfer of centers for biomedical computing and bioengineering to DRR from another NIH component. BRP funded the first centers in mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance.

1969 - DRFR, in the PHS Bureau of Health Professions Education and Manpower Training, was renamed the Division of Research Resources (DRR).

1970 - DRR was removed from BHME, and became an independent NIH division.

1972 - The Minority Biomedical Research Support Program was formed.

1975 - The NIH director approved a broadened mission for the division and an internal reorganization.

1979 - The BRP funded the first synchrotron facility for use in X-ray crystallography by NIH investigators.

1980 - The Minority High School Student Research Apprentice Program was begun.

1985 - The Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program was established.

The biological models and materials research section was created in the Animal Resources Program.

1986 - The only national laboratory dedicated to biomedical applications of fluorescence was funded at the University of Illinois.

1987 - The Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center was funded.

1988 - The Research Facilities Improvement Program was begun.

1989 - The biological models and materials resources section of the Animal Resources Program became the Biological Models and Materials Research Program.

The Minority Biomedical Research Support Program was transferred from DRR to NIGMS.

Important Events in NCRR History

1990 - On February 15, Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, approved the merger of the Division of Research Resources and the Division of Research Services to form the National Center for Research Resources.

NCRR's extramural programs included: Biological Models and Materials Research, Biomedical Research Support, Biomedical Research Technology, Animal Resources, General Clinical Research Centers, Research Centers in Minority Institutions, and Research Facilities Improvement. NCRR intramural resources included: the Biomedical Engineering and Instrumentation Program, the Library Branch, the Medical Arts and Photography Branch, and the Veterinary Resources Program.

The center received appropriated funding for the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) program, which had been previously administered by DRR but funded by the Office of the Director, NIH, since the program's inception in l984.

NCRR supported the First Annual Research Centers in Minority Institutions' International AIDS Symposium focused on AIDS in minority populations in the United States, Africa, and Latin America.

1991 - The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program was established.

The center sponsored a workshop of multidisciplinary experts in structural biology research which generated recommendations for future directions in the report, Technologies for the Future: Opportunities and Needs in Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine.

1993 - NCRR began the Science Teaching Enhancement Award Program (STEAP), a 2-year pilot program to create a corps of master teachers to form institutional partnerships that would improve biology education at the precollege level.

The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program and the Research Facilities Improvement program were established, as mandated by the NIH 1993 Revitalization Act.

NCRR discontinued the Biomedical Research Support Grant program.

1994 - The Minority K-12 Teachers and High School Students Program was initiated to replace the Minority High School Student Research Apprentice Program (MHSSRAP).

NCRR convened expert biomedical investigators, academic administrators, and staff to develop NCRR's first comprehensive strategic plan, NCRR: A Catalyst for Discovery, A Plan for the National Center for Research Resources.

The center released Technologies for the Future - Biomedical Computing: A Critical Tool for Research, describing opportunities in key biomedical computing areas such as neural systems and biomolecular simulations.

1995 - NCRR's 5th anniversary was marked with a "Partnership for Discovery Symposium" to highlight biomedical advances accomplished with NCRR support.

The center collaborated with the NIH Office of Research on Minority Health to establish the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) initiative, a demonstration project to assist nondoctoral degree minority institutions to develop their research infrastructure, primarily through collaborations with research-intensive universities.

The Report of the Panel to Formulate Recommendations for the GCRC Program was released.

NCRR reorganized the original seven extramural programs into: Biomedical Technology, Clinical Research, Comparative Medicine, and Research Infrastructure.

The center established the RCMI Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative (RCRII) to enable RCMI-eligible institutions with affiliated medical schools to develop their clinical research infrastructure.

Three National Gene Vector Laboratories were established with joint funding by NCRR, NCI, NHLBI, NIDDK, and the Office of AIDS Research.

The NCRR home page was created on the World Wide Web to enhance researchers' access to information on research resources and scientific opportunities.

1996 - An agreement was formalized between the NIH/NCRR Shared Instrumentation Grant program and the National Science Foundation's Multi-user Equipment program to jointly review and fund single scientific instruments costing more than $500,000.

The Evaluation of the NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant (SIG) Program: Reports from Users was issued.

1997 - NCRR published the National Survey of Laboratory Animal Use, Facilities, and Resources.

NCRR's intramural programs transferred to the NIH Division of Intramural Research Services within the Office of Research Services on October 1.

The "Neuroscience Technology Development Workshop" participants recommended new scientific opportunities NCRR should pursue in order to develop research resources to enhance neuroscience research activities.

The NCRR Reporter, a quarterly magazine formerly published by DRR as the Reporter, celebrated its first 20 years of publication.

1998 - A comprehensive 5-year strategic plan, NCRR - A Catalyst for Discovery - A Plan for the National Center for Research Resources: 1998-2003, was published.

The minority clinical associate physician and clinical research scholar career development elements of the GCRC program were merged into the clinical associate physician career program.

NCRR established the NIH Chimpanzee Management Program (ChiMP).

1999 - NCRR established the nation's eighth Regional Primate Research Center (RPRC) at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research - the first center to be added to the RPRC network since the 1960s.

NCRR established the Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers Program.

NCRR established a career-enhancing award in Mouse Pathobiology Research for veterinarians engaged in pathobiology. The award protects time devoted to pathobiology research studies in genetically altered mice and enhances mentoring activities to increase the pool of future mouse pathobiologists.

The first annual scientific meeting of NCRR-supported comparative medicine resource directors was hosted by the Miami National Resource for Aplysia, University of Miami.

Eight "collaboratory" projects were initiated within the NCRR-supported biomedical technology resource centers to demonstrate and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of conducting multi-investigator research utilizing the Internet.

Through a collaboration with the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation, several NCRR-supported General Clinical Research Centers became part of a CF treatment and diagnostic center network, enhanced by an NCRR-funded GCRC Data Management Unit to collate and analyze the CF clinical trial results.

A full-scale biosafety level-4 (BL4) laboratory partially funded by NCRR was dedicated at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in Texas. It is one of four Federally supported BL4 labs nationwide, but the only such facility dedicated to basic molecular studies and investigation of long-term pathogenesis of deadly microbes.

2000 - NCRR published the Cost Analysis and Rate Setting Manual (last revised in 1979) to reflect a cost-allocation change in DHHS policy for research-related direct and indirect costs incurred by institutional animal research facilities.

NCRR and several other NIH components cofunded a number of new initiatives to enhance research priority areas such as bioengineering (including nanotechnologies) and biocomputing (including informatics), and new animal models.

NCRR published the results of an evaluation of the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program and a mid-course assessment of the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions program.

NCRR published the Full-Scale Evaluation of the Regional Primate Research Centers (RPRC) Program.

NCRR established a number of new faculty mentoring and student training grant opportunities, utilizing existing NIH funding mechanisms, to encourage medical students to pursue clinical research careers and research veterinarians to become independent researchers.

As part of the IDeA program, NCRR established Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence at independent institutions located in states with historically low aggregate success rates for obtaining NIH grants.

NINDS, ORMH, and NCRR established the Specialized Neuroscience Research Program at Minority Institutions to strengthen faculty and student neuroscience research capabilities.

NCRR continued activities to transition from the National Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Program to the NIH Chimpanzee Management Program, established in l998. NCRR funded an expanded database of pertinent information on NIH-owned chimpanzees and assumed the ownership of approximately 300 chimpanzees previously used for Federally supported biomedical research from a private entity.

2001- NCRR launched the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN), a shared network of neuroimaging databases that serves as a test bed for development of hardware, software, and protocols for mining data in a site-independent manner for both basic and clinical research.

The first NIH-wide High-End Instrumentation is established to enable institutions to purchase instruments that cost more than $1 million.

A Research Subject Advocate (RSA) Program, established at the GCRCs, informs patients and volunteers about the research studies in which they participate and facilitates the timely reporting of serious adverse events to appropriate oversight boards and agencies.

Islet Cell Resource Centers are established to isolate, characterize, and distribute human pancreatic islets for transplantation into patients with type I diabetes.

A network of National Gene Vector Laboratories (NGVL) is established to produce clinical-grade vectors for human gene transfer protocols and to perform related toxicology studies for Phase I and Phase II human clinical gene transfer protocols.

The Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers network began accepting transgenic animals from researchers to add to its collection for broad dissemination to the biomedical research community.

A National Stem Cell Resource established at the American Type Culture Collection in Manassas, Virginia acquires and distributes cells, reagents, and information about nonhuman embryonic and postnatally derived stem cells from a variety of species.

The Centers of Veterinary Research Excellence (COVRE) Program is helping to address the shortage of research veterinarians by providing support for faculty, infrastructure, and recruitment of promising young investigators.

The Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) Program established Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) grants to help IDeA institutions attract established investigators, develop the research skills of resident investigators, alter and renovate laboratories, and purchase modern equipment.

The Science Education Partnership Awards provide grants to science centers and museums nationwide to enhance the reach of unique health-related education programs.

2002 - NCRR, along with five other NIH components, issued infrastructure enhancement awards to increase the capacity for basic research using human embryonic stem (ES) cells for preclinical investigations. The awards, which support entities listed on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry, are designed to increase the supplies and access to cells that are self-renewing and well characterized for quality controls.

A private, nonprofit organization received a contract to establish and operate a sanctuary for chimpanzees no longer needed for biomedical research. The Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act of December 2000 mandated such a sanctuary.

NCRR expanded breeding of Specific-Pathogen-Free (SPF) Rhesus Macaques in response to a national shortage and demand for these models. To explore alternatives to the use of rhesus macaques in biomedical research, experts met at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. to develop recommendations intended to alleviate scientific demands for rhesus macaques.

The eight Regional Primate Research Centers were renamed as the National Primate Research Centers to reflect their enhanced emphasis on providing nonhuman primates and related resources to biomedical scientists nationwide.

The Argonne National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source (APS) and the NCRR-supported Northeastern Collaborative Access Team, or NE-CAT agreed to build three experimental stations, known as beamlines, at the APS for synchrotron radiation research to study protein complexes and other biomolecular structures.

The Rat Resource and Research Center (RRRC), established at the University of Missouri (Columbia), serves as a resource for the study of rat models for biomedical research worldwide. The RRRC imports, cryopreserves, produces, and distributes high-quality laboratory rats.

2003 - To address the challenges inherent in diagnosing and treating rare diseases, NCRR and other components of NIH established the Rare Disease Clinical Research Network, which consists of seven Rare Diseases Clinical Research Centers and a Data and Technology Coordinating Center. Each research center consists of a consortium of clinical investigators partnering with patient support groups and institutions within and outside of the United States that have agreed to work together studying a group of rare diseases. The data coordinating center works with the sites to integrate various kinds of data including genetic, microarray, clinical, laboratory, and imaging.

A biomedical computing science and technology program, established by NCRR and 16 other NIH components, supports fundamental research as well as the development and application of new biocomputing tools or technologies. The program promotes research and development in computational science and technology that supports rapid progress in areas of scientific opportunity in biomedical research.

The Stroke Prevention/Intervention Research Program (SPIRP) was established to identify racial and geographical disparities related to stroke and cerebrovascular disease and to establish programs aimed at reducing or eliminating these disparities. The SPIRP is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

NCRR and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities awarded a grant to Tuskegee University to complete its National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care. The grant allows the university to provide research and teaching facilities for faculty, researchers and visiting scholars for studies in bioethics, public health, and integrated bioscience programs. The center is the Nation's first bioethics institute dedicated to addressing issues that involve African Americans and other vulnerable or other disadvantaged populations.

A Viper Resource Center was established at Texas A&M University in Kingsville, Texas to provide a resource of more than 400 venomous snakes. The snake venoms--a rich, stable source of biomedically important proteins such as disintegrins, metalloproteases, and fibrinolytic enzymes--are of particular interest because they can alter the shape, orientation, and movement of cells, and may play a role in the treatment of cancer, heart attacks, and strokes.

The Drosophila Genomics Resource Center (DGRC), housed at the Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics at Indiana University in Bloomington, was created to assist researchers in applying genomics in the model organism Drosophila , by assuring economical access to quality-controlled genomics materials. The DGRC produces and distributes DNA microarray slides for gene expression analyses; tests new and alternative genomics technologies; facilitates the collection and analysis of array expression data; and collects and distributes other reagents and materials essential for Drosophila genomics research, including large clone sets, common transformation vectors, and cell lines.

A Proteomics Research Resource was established to develop and integrate new proteomic technologies for collaborative and service studies, disseminate the new technologies, and train scientists in their use. The resource develops and applies an integrated set of biological methods, new analytical technologies, and associated computational and informatics tools for much more rapid, quantitative, sensitive, and comprehensive proteomic measurements than previously possible.

Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana, established a center for the preparation, quality testing, and distribution of adult stem cells. The center prepares and distributes a continuous supply of marrow stromal cells (MSCs) derived from adult human and rat bone marrow, using standardized protocols.

NCRR Legislative Chronology

July 30, 1956 - The Health Research Facilities Act of 1956 (Title VII of the PHS act) authorized a PHS program of Federal matching grants to public and nonprofit institutions for health research facilities construction. Congress extended title VII through 1971. No grants were made under this authority after 1969.

August 19, 1959 - Congress appropriated $2 million to establish two primate research centers.

September 15, 1960 - Public Law 86-798 amended the PHS act to authorize grants-in-aid to universities, hospitals, laboratories, and other public and nonprofit institutions to strengthen their programs of research and research training in sciences related to health. The act also authorized the use of funds appropriated for research or research training to be set aside by the Surgeon General in a special account for general research support grants. Passage of this law resulted in the Biomedical Research Support Program.

July 29, 1971 - The Minority Biomedical Research Support Program was created with $2 million from the Senate Appropriations Committee under authority of sec. 301(c) of the amended PHS act.

October 3, 1984 - The Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program was created with a $5 million congressional appropriation to the NIH Office of the Director. DRR was given administrative authority for the program.

December 22, 1987 - Public Law 100-202 provided $23,935,000 for the "repair, renovation, modernization, and expansion of existing research facilities, and for the purchase of associated equipment." The accompanying report, H.R. 100-498, directed that the money be spent on improving AIDS research facilities. The Research Facility Improvement Program was created in DRR in response to this legislation.

November 6, l990 - Public Law 101-613, NIH Revitalization Act of l990, mandated new programs, specified program funding levels, and reauthorized existing activities.

June 10, 1993 - Public Law 103-43, NIH Revitalization Act of l993, provided the statutory authority to redesignate DRR as NCRR; and authority to fund construction of biomedical and behavioral research facilities, with a special provision for centers of excellence and regional centers for research utilizing nonhuman primates. It also authorized the Institutional Development Award Program, which supports programs in states that historically have been unsuccessful in competing for NIH grants.

November 13, 2000 - The Clinical Research Enhancement Act of 2000, which is Title II of the Public Health Improvement Act [Minibus] (P.L. 106-505), provides the NCRR Director with statutory authority to award grants for the establishment of general clinical research centers. The bill also requires the NIH Director to establish a loan repayment program to encourage recruitment of new clinical investigators and to award grants that will enhance clinical research career development.

November 13, 2000 - The Twenty-First Century Research Laboratories Act, which is Title III of the Public Health Improvement Act [Minibus] (P.L. 106-505), authorizes $250 million for FY 2001 to the NCRR Director to make grants or contracts to public and nonprofit private entities to expand, remodel, renovate, or alter existing research facilities or to construct new research facilities, including centers of excellence. It also authorizes such sums as necessary for FY 2002 and FY 2003. In addition, the Act creates, in statute, a specific authorization for NCRR's Shared Instrumentation Grant Program, authorizing $100 million for FY 2000 and such sums as necessary for subsequent fiscal years.

December 20, 2000 - The Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection Act (P.L. 106-551) requires NIH to enter into a contract with a nonprofit private entity for the purpose of operating a sanctuary system for the long-term care of chimpanzees that are no longer needed in research conducted or supported by the Federal Government. The law provides for standards for permanent retirement of chimpanzees into the system, including prohibiting using sanctuary chimpanzees for research except in specified circumstances.

Biographical Sketch of NCRR Director Judith L. Vaitukaitis, M.D.

Dr. Judith L. Vaitukaitis has directed the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health since 1992. Previously, she held positions as the NCRR Deputy Director and the Director of the NCRR General Clinical Research Centers (GCRC) Program. Prior to joining NCRR, she was Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, where she directed the GCRC. She also headed the Section on Endocrinology and Metabolism at Boston City Hospital.

Dr. Vaitukaitis' extensive basic research on the mechanisms controlling hormonal action and metabolism at the cellular level - and her clinical research in reproductive endocrinology - led to the development of the first specific pregnancy test. The pregnancy assay she developed continues to be used in modified forms as over-the-counter early pregnancy detection products. The assay also provides a method for monitoring patients with tumors that developed from either placental tissue or testicular germ cell lines. For her significant contributions to the development of radioassay methodology, she received the Clinical Radioassay Societys 1980 Mallinckrodt Award for Investigative Research.

Dr. Vaitukaitis has published over 165 scientific papers in both basic and clinical research and has also edited a book Clinical Reproductive Neuroendocrinology. Four of her publications have been selected as Citation Classics. She has served on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, as well as many advisory boards and committees for NIH, other Federal agencies, universities, private foundations, international organizations, and scholarly societies.

Dr. Vaitukaitis is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, The Endocrine Society, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Boston University School of Medicine. Her many honors include a Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award and an Award for Achievement in National Policy from Boston University School of Medicine.

NCRR Directors

In Office From
Judith L. Vaitukaitis
September 1992 Present
Robert A. Whitney, Jr November 1988 August 1992

DRR* Directors
(*NCRR's predecessor organization)

In Office From
Betty H. Pickett
October 1982 October 1988
James F. O'Donnell (Acting) January 1981 September 1982
Thomas G. Bowery November 1969 December 1981
Thomas J. Kennedy July 1965 November 1969
Frederick L. Stone July 1962 June 1965

Major Extramural Programs

Division for Biomedical Technology Research and Research Resources

Biomedical Technology (BT) Resource Centers

A network of more than 40 BT resource centers, located across the country primarily at major academic institutions, makes the newest and most advanced technologies and techniques accessible to the biomedical research community. These centers function as both technological and intellectual resources, with an infrastructure that permits staff scientists to react rapidly and effectively to emerging biomedical research needs. Principal investigators at these centers lead scientific teams to discover, create, develop, and disseminate technological innovations that have broad applications to studies of biology, medicine, behavior, and health. The multidisciplinary environment of each center stimulates innovation and collaborations among physical scientists, engineers, and biomedical scientists.

Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN)

BIRN is an NCRR-supported initiative that will test a new method of doing large-scale medical science. BIRN aims to bring together groups of centers, known as testbeds, to collaborate closely towards a unified scientific goal. The initial goal is to address the needs of biomedical investigators across the country to effectively share and mine data in a site-independent manner for both basic and clinical research.

Shared Instrumentation Grant (SIG)

The SIG Program provides funding-using the S10 funding mechanism-to institutions to purchase commercially available, expensive, technologically sophisticated equipment for use by groups of NIH-supported researchers. Shared use of these high-sensitivity and high-resolution instruments, essential to understanding fundamental biological processes, optimizes this Federal investment. The SIG mechanism provides between $100,000 and $500,000 for the purchase of such instruments. To obtain instruments that cost more than $500,000, applicant institutions may be eligible for joint funding arranged by agreement between NIH and the National Science Foundation.

High-End Instrumentation (HEI)

Rapid technological development has led to the production of a new generation of advanced instruments. As the capabilities of these high-sensitivity, high-resolution instruments increases, so does their cost. To meet the investigators needs for this advanced technology, in FY 2002, NCRR began the High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Program, which allows institutions to acquire equipment that costs more than $750,000. The maximum award is $2.0 million. The HEI grant program complements the Shared Instrumentation Grant Program and also uses the S10 funding mechanism.

Division for Clinical Research Resources

General Clinical Research Centers (GCRCs)

A network of approximately 80 GCRCs, located primarily at U.S. academic medical centers across the country, offers NIH-supported investigators and other researchers specialized environments to safely and effectively conduct controlled inpatient and outpatient studies. Each GCRC offers a range of resources. A center is typically a discrete unit located within a medical center hospital. GCRC staff includes research nurses, dietitians, biostatisticians, technicians, and administrative personnel who are highly trained to provide a supportive environment for patients and to help investigators by facilitating the day-to-day research process. In most instances, a GCRC will have a core laboratory, metabolic and dietary resources, and a computerized database management and analysis system.

National Gene Vector Laboratories (NGVLs)

NIH established the NGVLs in l995 to produce certain vectors needed by researchers to systematically advance the use of human genes from the realm of basic research into clinical studies of research patients. The NGVL network is currently composed of four facilities. In 2000, vector production was consolidated into processes overseen by the NGVL Steering Committee and implemented by the NGVL Coordinating Center at Indiana University. Currently, the NGVLs provide lentiviral and retroviral vectors, adnenovial vectors, and nonviral vectors. In addition, toxicology studies for selected types of vectors are now supported through the NGVL program and a database of toxicology study results is available to appropriate investigators through a generally accessible master file. Investigators submit requests for vectors to Indiana University, which coordinates the application review through the NGVL Steering Committee. Committee members often make suggestions to applicants to help improve the proposals.

Islet Cell Resource (ICR) Centers

In 2001, NCRR established a network of ten ICR centers to isolate, purify, and characterize human pancreatic islets for subsequent transplantation into patients with type I diabetes. The ICR centers will procure whole pancreata and acquire relevant data about the donors; improve islet isolation and purification techniques; distribute islets for use in approved clinical protocols; and perfect the methods of storage and shipping. In this way, the centers will optimize the viability, function, and availability of islets and help clinical researchers to capitalize on the recently reported successes in islet transplantation. These activities will expand the ability of clinical researchers to bring this experimental therapy into practice.

Human Tissues and Organs Resource

The Human Tissues and Organs Resource (HTOR) Cooperative Agreement supports a procurement network developed by the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI)--a not-for-profit organization. By collaborating with various medical centers, hospitals, pathology services, eye banks, tissue banks, and organ procurement organizations, HTOR provides a wide variety of human tissues and organs--both diseased and normal--to researchers for laboratory studies. Such samples include tissues from the central nervous system and brain; cardiovascular system; endocrine system; eyes, bone, and cartilage.

Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA)

The SEPA Program encourages scientists to work with educators and other organizations to improve students (K-12) and the publics understanding of the health sciences. The award supports development of a variety of model programs in biomedical and behavioral science education that make it feasible for scientists, educators, media, and community leaders to partner in order to promote science by increasing science literacy. Past models have included a national video education program, a traveling and fixed museum exhibit about AIDS and other health issues, biotechnology research experiences for students and teachers, and health promoting outreach programs for inner-city and rural communities.

Division of Comparative Medicine

National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs)

Eight NCRR-supported NPRCs are strategically located across the country to provide highly specialized facilities and convenient access to biomedical investigators using nonhuman primates as animal models of human diseases. Collectively, the NPRCs provide special facilities for more than 18,000 nonhuman primates, mostly macaques but representing more than 20 different monkey species. Each NPRC is staffed by a core of scientific experts in nonhuman primate research and by technical-support professionals. The multidisciplinary nature of each NPRC stimulates innovative collaborations on studies of major human diseases. Each year approximately 1,400 investigators, supported by their individual grant funding, collaborate with NPRC core scientists and use NPRC resources. The NPRCs also sponsor a Visiting Scientist Program. NPRC areas of research emphasis include reproductive biology, infectious diseases, neurosciences, biobehavioral research, metabolic, nutritional and cardiovascular diseases, and environmental health and toxicology. Based on the availability of facilities and other resources, the centers maintain extensive collaborative programs for scientists from many institutions.

Laboratory Animal Sciences (LAS)

LAS Program activities support research animal resources and scientific training in the field of comparative medicine. Of particular interest is development of new and improved animal models of human disease. LAS-supported resources include mutant mice, other transgenics, and rat models. To assist institutions in their efforts to meet animal care guidelines established by the Public Health Service and the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, LAS supports projects to enhance the environmental conditions of laboratory animals and improve their health. One LAS goal is to support training that will motivate graduate veterinarians with research skills to develop careers in biomedical and health research.

Animal Models

The NCRR Chimpanzee Management Program was established in 1998 to optimize the care and use of chimpanzees in Federally funded biomedical investigations related to infectious diseases. The Specific-Pathogen-Free (SPF) Rhesus Monkey Breeding and Research Program, established in 1988, eventually phased out and then reestablished in 2002, creates self-sustaining rhesus breeding colonies free from contamination with certain simian retroviruses and herpes B virus. These animals are made available to PHS-supported research projects.

Biological Models and Materials Research (BMMR)

BMMR Program focuses on extramural research activities that explore and develop nonmammalian models, vertebrate and invertebrate, for biomedical investigations. Support for this research develops and broadens the utility of a variety of models, including cell systems, nonmammalian organisms, and nonbiological systems such as mathematical and computer systems. NCRR also supports resources that supply critical biological materials such as cultures or genetic stocks, and nonbiological materials such as on-line information on model organisms to the biomedical research community. Through these resources, investigators have access to stocks of widely used organisms ranging from yeast, mutant flies, and worms to fish and cephalopods.

NIH Chimpanzee Management Program

The NIH Chimpanzee Management Program (ChiMP) supports long-term, cost-effective housing and maintenance at three NIH-supported facilities for chimpanzees, funded by NCRR through cooperative agreements. In addition, a reserve colony of chimpanzees previously used in virological research is supported by a contract. Furthermore, cooperative agreements and grants also support a database and applied research that optimize the use of chimpanzees in research.

Division of Research Infrastructure

Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI)

Begun in 1985, the RCMI Program is a congressionally mandated initiative. Through grant support, NCRR assists predominately minority academic institutions that award doctoral degrees in the health or health-related sciences to conduct biomedical and behavioral research in order to become more competitive in obtaining NIH research funding. NCRR support helps institutions attract additional research faculty in health-science disciplines, provides necessary training in specialized analytical methods, upgrades facilities, purchases advanced scientific equipment, and, through its faculty, addresses research questions that are relevant to the health needs of all Americans, especially ethnic and racial minorities.

Institutional Development Award (IDeA)

The IDeA grant mechanism is a merit-based, peer-reviewed award that was initiated by Congress to broaden the geographical distribution of NIH grant funding for biomedical and behavioral research. This award supports various research activities that stimulate sustainable improvement in the biomedical research capacities of research institutions located in states with historically low success rates for obtaining NIH funding. Overall, the IDeA enhances an institutions competitiveness and increases the probability of long-term growth of its investigators. The IDeA Program is carried out through two approaches: Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) and Biomedical Research Infrastructure Networks (BRIN). A grant for a COBRE enables an institution to attract an established investigator to direct the centers multidisciplinary efforts toward a basic or clinical research theme. BRIN grants help to build a competitive research base within an IDeA-eligible state by bringing together research institutions within a state; funding institutional renovations and the purchase of modern laboratory equipment; and recruiting new research faculty.

Research and Animal Facilities Improvements (RFI and AFI)

RFI grants fund construction that expands, remodels, renovates, or alters existing extramural facilities that are used for biomedical and behavioral research and research training. Through the AFI Program, NCRR provides institutional funding to improve animal research facilities, including facility upgrades and the development of programs and policies related to laboratory animal care and use.

NCRR Information Dissemination

NCRR publishes three research resource directories available to the extramural biomedical research community at no cost. These directories list NCRR-supported biomedical technology, clinical research, and comparative medicine resource centers that can be accessed by biomedical investigators who have their project funding from other sources. Each directory listing provides a point of contact at the center, the center's research emphasis, and the center's resource capabilities available to outside investigators. Biomedical investigators interested in learning more about NCRR-supported resource centers may obtain these directories by contacting the NCRR Office of Science Policy and Public Liaison at: 301-435-0888; fax: 301-480-3558; e-mail:; or by accessing the NCRR Web site:

This page was last reviewed on June 21, 2005 .

[ Q&A About NIH | Jobs at NIH | Visitor Information | FOIA ]
[ Telephone & Service Directory | Employee Information | Información en español ]

[ Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Disclaimers | Accessibility | Site Map | Search ]

N I H logo - link to the National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

    H H S logo - link to U. S. Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Health
and Human Services


  Link to USA Gov Web Site - The U.S. government's official web portal