Division of Intramural Research

The mission of the NHLBI Division of Intramural Research (DIR), otherwise known as the Bethesda Labs, is to perform robust scientific and clinical research that leads to a better understanding of biology and clinical pathology. To attain this goal, we have built a strong basic science foundation and coupled it closely with innovative technology development and outstanding clinical research, both at the NIH Clinical Center and in partnership with local hospitals. 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.

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Division Leadership

What We Do

Biochemistry and Biophysics Center

The Biochemistry and Biophysics Center carries out research that brings chemical and physical approaches to the study of biological problems. The principal investigators of the Center focus on topics that range from DNA transcription to cellular degeneration. To understand the mechanisms involved in these diverse processes, the investigators develop instruments and techniques to resolve, quantify, model, manipulate, and simulate biological mechanisms at molecular and cellular levels. The focus of Center research is to develop both experimental and theoretical models of biomolecular structure, and use these models to discover the link between the structure, function, and regulation of biologically active molecules and processes.

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Cardiovascular Branch

The Cardiovascular Branch conducts research on diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. Specific projects aim to answer clinically relevant questions using methods ranging from molecular level studies to clinical projects in diagnostics, therapeutics, and interventions. The Branch places a strong emphasis on creating an environment where scientists and physician scientists can work together on disease-specific issues using the most appropriate approaches available in the spectrum between the bench and the bedside.

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Cell and Developmental Biology Center

The Cell and Developmental Biology Center aims to understand the molecules and the molecular interactions inside cells that build the organelle systems that support basic and specialized functions to control cell fate and behavior. This Center studies how cell behavior guides normal development, including the creation and maintenance of tissues and organs. Researchers combine biochemical, molecular, cellular, genetic, and quantitative approaches to investigate fundamental biological processes across a range of organisms, including fish, flies, mammals, microbes, and viruses. This Center also seeks to apply its basic cell and developmental biological research to the understanding and treatment of human diseases.

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Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics Branch

The Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics Branch, one of the newest branches of the NHLBI, helps to accelerate the translation of basic discovery to therapeutic application. Branch investigators are leading experts on transplantation immunology, regenerative therapies for inherited blood disorders, and early sickle mortality prevention, all of which claim international stature and recognition for advancing the field of hematology.  

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Epidemiology and Community Health Branch

The mission of the Epidemiology and Community Health Branch (ECHB) is to deploy innovative multimodality ascertainment and analytical approaches with a unifying focus on the phenotypic expressions of heart, lung, blood and sleep (HLBS) diseases, their occurrence and outcomes in populations.

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