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The goal of the National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) Division of Intramural Research is to advance the frontiers of genetics and genomics.


We aim to be world leaders in the translation of genomic knowledge into tools and approaches for improving the treatment, prognosis, and prevention of rare and common diseases. The study of genomic variation and its effects on phenotype at the species, population, and individual levels is central to our scientific pursuits. NHGRI researchers view the genome as a window to understanding the human condition, including factors influencing human history and health, disease susceptibility, and common principles of biology.


The NHGRI Intramural Program is a broad and highly integrated research enterprise that aims to explore human and model organism biology at all levels of organization using state-of-the-art approaches. These efforts involve genome-wide comparisons at the species level, studies of healthy and diseased populations, and phenotype-genotype comparisons. We pursue ambitious interdisciplinary projects because of our strengths in basic, clinical, social, and behavioral research. Achieving our goals requires innovative and, at times, high-risk strategies that utilize a wide range of genomic, genetic, computational, and high-throughput methodologies. Our ability to rapidly pursue cutting-edge research initiatives allows us to tackle the most compelling biomedical problems of our time.

The NHGRI Intramural Program has become a model for successfully translating genetic and genomic discoveries into the clinical care arena. We study an array of disorders - rare as well as common, simple as well as complex - selected for their tractability and applicability to broader problems in biology. Our social and behavioral research is further integrating genomic medicine into community and individual health care. This type of work is critical for realizing the benefits of personalized medicine, addressing health disparities, and improving global health.

Our research is grounded by a number of fundamental tenets. For example, a full understanding of genetic and genomic variation extends from the principles of evolutionary biology, since we believe that the experiments of nature are as important as our own. Similarly, a detailed understanding of genome architecture and function is central to our mission. Finally, studies of development biology, animal models, and basic molecular mechanisms are critical for testing our scientific hypotheses and setting the stage for translational endeavors.

We effectively capitalize on the unique environment provided by the broader NIH Intramural Program and its more than 1,000 investigators who possess remarkable depth and breadth of expertise. In particular, the NIH Clinical Research Center provides an unparalleled infrastructure for supporting our diverse set of clinical research projects. We further contribute to the NIH and larger scientific community by generously disseminating genomic, computational, and high-throughput technologies to others. Finally, an important hallmark of our program is the inclusion of high-risk, imaginative, and potentially high-impact projects in our research portfolio, studies that would be difficult to pursue elsewhere.


A core set of values guide the NHGRI Intramural Research Program:

Being international leaders in genomics and associated translational, social, and behavioral research. We lead by encouraging our talented investigators to pursue a range of projects that span multiple scientific disciplines.

Fostering trans- and multi-disciplinary research. We value collaborations among scientists in different disciplines to build the strongest possible research teams and to maximize the impact of their resulting discoveries.

Training researchers and clinicians. We support the education and training of basic, translational, behavioral, social, and clinical investigators in genomics, genetics, and related areas.

Maximizing data sharing. We strive to share data with other investigators and the general public in a timely, accessible, and appropriate fashion.

Promoting diversity. Diversity among the scientific staff, trainees, and research subjects is critical for enhancing the research process and the implementation of scientific findings.

Reducing health disparities and improving global health. We seek to use genomic- and genetic-based strategies to reduce health disparities and improve the health of people around the world.

Serving the public interest. We believe that, as public servants, we are obligated to study scientific and medical problems for which genomic approaches can improve health and the quality of life.

Educating the general public. Effective communication about the implications of genetic and genomic discoveries is essential for improving health literacy and informed decision-making.

Conducting ethical research. We are leaders in the ethical treatment of human subjects, the humane treatment of research animals, and the conduct of science with the highest possible integrity.

Last updated: December 22, 2015