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Our Research


The purview of our research is broad, encompassing investigations into the basic principles of molecular, cellular, and organ-level biology and their relationship to disease.  Some current areas of fundamental interest include single molecule structure; protein assembly; molecular and cell biology; cell signaling and motility; membrane trafficking; physiology; systems biology; engineering and technology development. Insights into disease mechanisms derived from basic studies form the basis for translational research into new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

DIR investigators also conduct concept-based clinical studies in the areas of interventional and surgical cardiology; pulmonary medicine; sickle cell anemia; bone marrow transplant; and hematologic disorders. The DIR recruits patients from across the U.S. to enroll in innovative clinical trials at no cost to them.

Principal Investigators
The NHLBI DIR is home to over 60 basic, translational and clinical principal investigators who work independently and collaboratively to make new discoveries, translate findings, develop novel technologies, and conduct clinical research.

Scientific Focus Areas
Principal Investigators in the DIR are pursuing a variety of basic and clinical research to understand better both fundamental biology and clinical pathology. Their research comprises a number of intersecting subject areas at the forefront of biomedicine.

Core Facilities
Core Facilities provide scientific resources, cutting-edge technologies and novel approaches to support DIR scientists. Availability of specialized expertise creates a robust environment for conducting a wide range of studies and accelerates the pace at which scientific discovery can take place.

Programs & Initiatives
The Office of the Scientific Director has established several programs and initiatives centered around a particular modality or disease, with the goal of speeding research discoveries towards clinical application. Current DIR programs focus on medical imaging, cardiothoracic surgery, and sickle cell disease.

DIR News
March 12, 2014
Researchers find reason why many vein grafts fail
January 29, 2014
Correlative super-resolution fluorescence and transmission electron microscopyExternal link Disclaimer
December 23, 2013
President Obama honors outstanding early-career scientists
November 25, 2013
AAAS council elects 388 new AAAS FellowsExternal link Disclaimer
November 21, 2013
A new multilayer-based x-ray grating

View all DIR News
Featured Principal Investigator
investigator thumbnail image

Susan T. Harbison, Ph.D.


Laboratory of Systems Genetics

2013 recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
More about Susan T. Harbison, Ph.D.
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