As an institute, the NIEHS is uniquely positioned to investigate the interplay between environmental exposures, human biology, genetics, and common diseases that limit our longevity and quality of life. NIEHS research uses state-of-the-art science and technology to understand how environmental factors influence the development and progression of disease, so that we may prevent disease and improve human health.
NIEHS research focuses on diseases that have a strong environmental component and a high or increasing prevalence in the U.S. population. Using integrated teams of scientists from varied and relevant disciplines, we can address complex hypotheses by more effectively identifying environmental health hazards and coupling this information with new tools to better understand the causes of disease. This knowledge is then translated into public health initiatives and policies that can affect immediate and profound impacts on people’s health. Please see NIEHS Research Highlights and Public Health Impacts.
Research at NIEHS
The internal research arm of the NIEHS is housed in the Division of Intramural Research and supported by Core Facilities, Research Faculties, and an Office of Translational Research. Research activities (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/index.cfm) at the NIEHS contribute to the understanding of biological and chemical processes, of the role of environmental agents in human disease and dysfunction, and the identification of the effect of environmental influences on the underlying mechanisms that lead to complex diseases. Research in the Division of Intramural Research is organized into three programs: environmental biology, environmental disease and medicine, and environmental toxicology.
Research Funded by NIEHS
The NIEHS funds a substantial portfolio of environmental health sciences research conducted outside the institute by various independent investigators, agencies, universities, and organizations. These funding grants (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/index.cfm) are administered and evaluated primarily through the Division of Extramural Research and Training. The NIEHS is also committed to developing the next generation of environmental health scientists. Through its grant program, the NIEHS employs strategies to recruit talented young scientists to the field and conducts cross-disciplinary training programs.
Resources for Scientists
The NIEHS creates and makes available resources to help scientists conduct research. These resources (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/index.cfm) include data bases, technology transfer tools, ethics information, scientific reports, symposia and conference reports and more.
The NIEHS clinical research (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/clinical/index.cfm) program seeks to use environmental exposures to strengthen the evidence that a given exposure is toxic, determine how such exposures affect disease etiology and progression, and identify molecular targets to determine susceptibility and develop health interventions. Diseases for which environmental health sciences can provide clinical insight may include neurodegenerative diseases, immune-mediated diseases, cardiovascular disease, reproductive disorders, and respiratory diseases.
National Toxicology Program
The NTP (http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/)is an interagency program housed at the NIEHS whose mission is to evaluate agents of public health concern by developing and applying tools of modern toxicology and molecular biology. The program maintains an objective, science-based approach in dealing with critical issues in toxicology and is committed to using the best science available to prioritize, design, conduct, and interpret its studies.