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Description of the New NHGRI Organization

Current NHGRI Organization

View full-size chart of the current organization

The current organization of NHGRI has three principal components: The Office of the Director, which includes several functional offices, the Division of Extramural Research and the Division of Intramural Research.

The Office of the Director oversees all activities within the Institute, including the two research divisions. The Office of the Director also includes several offices that carry out functional responsibilities on behalf of the Institute, including:



The Division of Extramural Research (DER) played a key leadership role in the Human Genome Project and continues to provide intellectual vision to the field of genomics. DER currently comprises a single organization with numerous functions, from announcing funding opportunities to organizing collaborative agreements between Institute program managers and research organizations to conducting peer review management and issuing grants. DER also manages the meetings of NHGRI's National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research.

The Division of Intramural Research (DIR) conducts scientific studies in NHGRI's labs on and around the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Founded in 1993, DIR comprises seven branches focused on specific areas of genomics research and includes roughly 50 investigators and hundreds of postdoctoral fellows and other trainees, as well as technical and scientific staff. DIR leadership is guided by an external Board of Scientific Counselors and maintains managerial responsibility for several affiliated centers, including the Center for Inherited Disease Research, the Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health and the National Institutes of Health Intramural Sequencing Center.

New NHGRI Organization


View full-size chart of the proposed organization

The reorganization of NHGRI would involve the establishment of six new divisions. Four of the new divisions will constitute NHGRI's Extramural Research Program:


  • The Division of Genome Science will oversee basic genomic research and technology development, as well as major activities such as large-scale genome sequencing.
  • The Division of Genomic Medicine will lead the institute's efforts to move genomic technologies and approaches into clinical applications and care. The Institute's Office of Population Genomics, which currently sits within the Office of the Director, will be subsumed into this new Division.
  • The Division of Genomics and Society will carry out an expanded program of research related to the many societal issues relevant to genomics research. This Division will incorporate and extend the activities of the institute's Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) program.
  • The Division of Extramural Operations will manage the myriad operational aspects of the institute's Extramural Research Program to ensure the integrity of the institute's grant-making mission, including conducting the review of grant applications and grants management.

In addition, two current NHGRI offices within the Office of the Director will be converted into divisions:

  • The Division of Policy, Communications, and Education will manage a wide range of activities from policy setting and legislative affairs to media relations and educational outreach to students, healthcare professionals, and members of the public at large.
  • The Division of Management will oversee all administrative management services within the Institute, from budget planning to purchasing and space management to personnel.

The existing Division of Intramural Research will remain a division, with minor modifications to its internal organization.

Learn more about the proposed reorganization at Frequently Asked Questions

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Last Updated: August 20, 2018