photo of Dr. Gary Gibbons, M.D, Director of NHLBI, with text 75 Years Bringing Research to Life
Director's Messages

75 Years of Celebrating Excellence and Anticipating Opportunities


For 75 years NHLBI has been committed to the perennial pursuit of enhanced health for all. Amidst rapid scientific, technological, and social change, the Institute has been nimble and resilient, rising to the challenge of acute, chronic, and emergent health threats, expanding scientific frontiers, and developing transformative technologies. Through it all, NHLBI has remained steadfast in its mission to reduce the global burden of heart, lung, blood, and sleep (HLBS) disease. 

NHLBI-funded science spans the research spectrum and reflects our mission of catalyzing discovery and improving public health. The Institute’s commitment to fundamental discovery science has yielded insight into human biology and has provided us with tools to fight the maladies that beset us. NHLBI counts among its funded researchers, individuals whose discovery science has transformed clinical medicine. A shining example is Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR). Knowledge and study of these receptors have led to therapeutic interventions for many diseases across multiple systems. For instance, GPCR-targeted therapies are among the most commonly prescribed agents for heart failure (HF) and have significantly improved prognosis for those with the disease. Dr. Lefkowitz trained at the NIH in the Public Health Service and has been continuously funded by NHLBI since 1974. He exemplifies the value of NHLBI’s commitment to nurturing talented clinician-scientists as their research powers new discoveries across biomedicine serving to bring better health and longer lives to people around the world. Learn more about Dr. Lefkowitz and the cycle of innovation in the presentation below by Dr. Gibbons.

NHLBI’s 75th anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on and leverage our successes to chart the future and refresh our evergreen vision. We embrace the opportunity to address health disparities by supporting initiatives like the Disparities Elimination through Coordinated Interventions to Prevent and Control Heart and Lung Disease Risk (DECIPHeR), the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) Cohort Study, and a new cohort study focusing on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI). We anxiously anticipate the opportunities to tackle old diseases using new tools.

Newer age technologies like gene editing and AI/ML put within our grasp an era of precision medicine and a future free of sickle cell disease, heart failure, and asthma. Importantly, we remain dedicated to nurturing a talented, diverse cadre of research scientists through vital initiatives like the NHLBI Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE);  Stimulating Access to Research in Residency Transition Scholar (StARRTS); and the NHLBI Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity in Biomedical Research (K01). For three-quarters of a century, NHLBI has been at the forefront of science that has transformed our understanding, treatment, and prevention of HLBS disease. Powered by the scientific excellence and innovation of our investigators, the dedication and exemplar work of our public servants, and working hand-in-hand with our community partners and other stakeholders, we will continue to push forward the frontiers of biomedicine and accelerate its translation into better health and longer lives for people everywhere.

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