The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research.
The NIH’s research is divided into two parts: the NIH Extramural Research Program is responsible for the funding of biomedical research out
side the NIH, while the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) is the internal research program of the NIH, known for its synergistic approach to biomedical science. With 1,200 principal investigators and more than 4,000 postdoctoral fellows in basic, translational, and clinical research, the IRP is the largest biomedical research institution on earth. The unique funding environment of the IRP facilitates opportunities to conduct both long-term and high-impact science that would otherwise be difficult to undertake.
Currently the NIH is under the directorship of Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. In that role he oversees the work of the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. Dr. Collins is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project, which culminated in April 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book. He served as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH from 1993-2008.
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