Center for Information Technology (CIT)


The Center for Information Technology (CIT) provides the NIH community with a secure and reliable IT infrastructure and a variety of IT and scientific computing services that support its mission-critical research and administrative activities. Among its activities, CIT provides the following:

  • a robust and secure enterprise network service for NIH staff
  • state-of-the-art, high-performance scientific computing platforms and applications
  • secure access to IT systems, including computers and applications
  • data-processing, hosting, and storage facilities
  • cloud computing infrastructure, tools, technologies, and other related services
  • advanced algorithms and data visualization applications
  • access to discounted software products and applications information, expertise, and training.

Important Events in CIT History

1954 — A central data-processing facility is established in the NIH Office of the Director, combining EAM (punched card) equipment and biometric expertise.

1958 — NIH installs its first electronic digital computer as an experimental device.

October 1961 — NIH installs its first "second generation" computer.

April 1963 — The Division of Computer Research and Technology (DCRT) is established.

1966 — Dr. Arnold W. Pratt is named DCRT's first Director.

April 1966 — Components of the "third-generation" computer system are installed.

June 1969 — Minicomputers designed by DCRT are installed in NIH laboratories.

August 1969 — DCRT introduces WYLBUR, to provide new computing capabilities to the administrative and scientific communities.

May 1979 — An interagency agreement establishes the NIH Central Computer Utility as a Federal Data Processing Center.

1981 — DCRT designs and implements NIH Extended WYLBUR, providing text-editing capabilities used for NIH publications, grants guidance and summary statements, and research papers.

April 1983 — The Personal Workstation Project forms to determine how NIH personnel can use personal computers.

1988 — The Convex Unix-based super mini-computer is installed and the network task group is created.

1990 — Extensive networking (NIHnet) is installed at NIH, providing connectivity for 60 local area networks.

November 1990 — Dr. David Rodbard is named DCRT Director.

June 1992 — The NIH Director approves creation of the Office of Information Resources Management (OIRM) in the NIH Office of the Director.

September 1993 — The Information Systems Security Officers committee is established to handle NIH IT security issues.

April 1996 — William L. Risso is named Acting DCRT Director.

1997 — A review of the Director of NIH’s administrative structure recommends that NIH implement IT recommendations by appointing a permanent CIO and establishing a CIO organization.

March 1998 — The Center for Information Technology (CIT) is formed, combining the functions of the DCRT, OIRM, and the Telecommunications Branch. Alan S. Graeff is named NIH’s first CIO and Director of the newly formed CIT.

2003 — The CIT help desk is formally established as the NIH IT Help Desk.

2005 — Dr. John F. Jones, Jr. is named Acting CIT Director.

2007 — CIT designs a new system for the, a general purpose scientific platform that hosts applications in response to technology needs of the NIH research community.

2008 — The Office of the CIO (OCIO) is created as a new organization in the NIH Office of the NIH Director (OD). Dr. John F. Jones, Jr. is named NIH CIO (OD) and Acting CIT Director.

June 2008 — CIT deploys the NIH Federated Authentication Identity Service (NIH Federated Login).

August 2008 — CIT announces the first online Service Catalog, providing customers with a single, online authoritative source of service information.

June 2010 — CIT adds compute nodes to the NIH Biowulf Cluster (one of its main high-performance computing systems), greatly increasing compute power for a wide range of biomedical research applications, including those in genomics, imaging, molecular dynamics, and statistical analysis.

February 2011 — Thomas G. Murphy is named Acting CIT Director.

October 2011 — Andrea T. Norris is named CIT Director and Acting NIH CIO.

August 2012 — CIT Director Andrea T. Norris is named NIH CIO.

2013 — The NIH Administrative Data Council is established by the NIH Director to recommend policies and strategies for trans-NIH information, information technology and to provide recommendations and oversight of strategic IT investments.

2014 — The NIH network is modernized to accommodate 10 times its capacity, or 100 Gbps, to meet the increasing big data needs of NIH research and to improve communication and collaboration between on and off campus research facilities and to the Internet 2.

February 2017 — CIT unveils its state-of-the-art Technology Operations Center, which modernizes NIH’s ability to monitor critical IT services and ensure rapid incident response and quality services for the NIH community. 

November 2017 — HPC Biowulf was ranked #66 on TOP500’s list of top supercomputers in the world. NIH’s modernized high performance computing (HPC) capabilities are enabling innovations in scientific research in several areas, including genomics, computational chemistry, and most recently, cryo-electron microscopy imaging.

July 2018 — On July 24, 2018, at the Google Cloud NEXT conference, NIH launched the STRIDES (Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability) Initiative and announced Google Cloud as its first industry partner. The STRIDES Initiative, one of many NIH-wide efforts to implement the NIH Strategy for Data Science, harnesses the power of the commercial cloud in support of biomedical research. Its goal is to accelerate biomedical advances by reducing economic and technological barriers to data and resources.   

September 2018 — CIT’s Training Program celebrates 50 years of providing training services to the NIH community. 

October 2018 — Amazon Web Services (AWS) joins the STRIDES Initiative.  

January 2019 — NIH IT Service Desk celebrates 25 years of providing IT services and support to NIH ICs and select Operating Divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services.

March 2020 — CIT provides unprecedented access to virtual meeting and collaboration tools and resources to support the start of maximum telework for NIH staff during the Coronavirus pandemic.

August 2020 — CIT’s Office of Intramural Research restructures into the Office of Scientific Computing Services.  

July 2021 — Microsoft Azure joins the STRIDES Initiative.  

October 2022 — Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) launched as a pilot for the NIH community. VDI enables staff to access the NIH network from any personal, university, or contractor computer or location, providing a secure connection to many of NIH’s resources and applications without the need for government-furnished equipment (GFE). First developed as a proof of concept by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 2017, VDI was leveraged in 2021/2022 to offer a remote version of NIH’s popular Summer Internship Program (SIP) before being transferred to CIT in late 2022 to test as an NIH-wide enterprise service.

January 2023 — Ivor D’Souza is named Acting CIT Director.

January 2023 — Dennis Papula is named Acting NIH CIO (OD).

March 2024 — Sean Mooney, PhD, FACMI is named CIT Director.

 Biographical Sketch of CIT Director Dr. Sean Mooney

Dr. Sean Mooney serves as the Director, Center for Information Technology (CIT) at NIH.

Sean Mooney, Ph.D. Sean Mooney, Ph.D.

As the Director for CIT, he is responsible for managing a broad range of NIH-wide information and information technology services, including a new state-of-the market high-speed research network infrastructure, a high-performance scientific computing system ranked as one the top supercomputers in the world by Top500, cloud-based collaboration and communication platforms and tools, bioinformatics research programs, data center services, business solutions and applications, and 24/7 operations of NIH’s distributed IT environment.

Before joining CIT, Dr. Mooney served as a Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine. He also served as Chief Research Information Officer of UW Medicine, Interim Director for the UW Institute for Medical Data Science, Associate Director of the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center, and Director of Informatics for the UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences.

Dr. Mooney has a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of California, San Francisco and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was also the American Cancer Society John Peter Hoffman Fellow in the Department of Genetics and Stanford Medical Informatics and a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.

CIT Directors

Name In Office from To
James King (Acting) N/A N/A
Dr. Eugene Harris (Acting) N/A August 1966
Dr. Arnold W. Pratt August 1966 May 1990
Dr. David Rodbard November 1990 April 1996
William L. Risso (Acting) April 1996 March 1998
Alan S. Graeff March 1998 November 2005
Dr. John F. Jones, Jr. (Acting) November 2005 February 2011
Thomas G. Murphy (Acting) February 2011 October 2011
Andrea T. Norris October 2011 December 2022
Ivor D’Souza (Acting) January 2023 March 2024
Dr. Sean Mooney March 2024 Present


The Center for Information Technology (CIT) supports mission-critical research by delivering IT and scientific computing services and products through a network of service leads and their associated groups described below.

  • Office of the Director: Directs and evaluates the Center's programs, policies, and procedures and provides analysis and guidance in the development of services and systems.
    • Office of IT Services Management: Provides a variety of IT services to maximize agility and promote responsiveness in support of NIH IT
      • Network Services: Provides a high-speed, robust computer network for the NIH community that connects facilities both on and off campus to each other, to the Internet, and to Internet2.
      • Unified Communication and Collaboration Services: Manages and delivers integrated voice, video, and messaging for NIH.
      • Business Application Support Services: Develops and operates enterprise business systems and IC-specific applications and tools.
      • Facility and Infrastructure Services: Provides and maintains the infrastructure and cabling services that support data, voice, and video and cellular connectivity across NIH.
      • Hosting and Storage Services: Provides secure, highly available, enterprise Windows, Unix, Linux, Database, and mainframe hosting and data storage options to NIH ICs via on-campus and nearby data centers.
      • Identity and Access Management: Maintains the policy and infrastructure required to provide secure access to NIH networks, computers, applications, files, websites, and other IT resources.
      • IT Support Services: Provides a full scope of day-to-day IT services, spanning desktop, conferencing, mobile devices, and others for specific ICs and programs.
      • Operations Management Services: Directs and supports the CIT’s daily IT service management functions, including overseeing the Technology Operations Center--a state-of-the-art facility that allows NIH to monitor critical IT services and ensures rapid incident response for the NIH community.
      • Service Desk Services: Manages the NIH Call Center and provides IT support for all NIH ICs, including VPN account management and troubleshooting and support for email, wireless, mobile devices, and enterprise applications.
    • Office of Administrative Management: Provides support in the areas of finance, human resources, contracts, acquisition, procurement, communications, and administration.
    • Office of Scientific Computing Services: Provides advanced computing technologies to the NIH research community to support and enable research.
      • Cloud Computing Services: Manages cloud computing infrastructure, tools, technologies, and other related services. Additionally, this service area provides support and training for NIH data science activities and the NIH research community.
      • Scientific Application Services: Develops and implements advanced algorithms and data visualization applications to quickly and efficiently meet the biomedical imaging and informatics needs of the broader NIH research community.
      • High-Performance Computing Services: Provides NIH's core enterprise-wide, high-performance computational environment—such as Biowulf, NIH’s supercomputer—training, and technical expertise to the NIH research community.

This page last reviewed on April 24, 2024