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National Institutes of Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2021 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research

Message from the Scientific Director

Chris J. McBain

Our 2021 annual report of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Division of Intramural Research (DIR) is now available to you at

The DIR, like other institutions across the world, has continued to be impacted by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 pandemic. Labs had to put nearly all of their experiments on hold beginning in March 2020 and, while our scientists have been gradually returning to the lab since summer 2020, as of the time of this writing, lab occupancy is still limited. Despite these challenges and delays, our laboratories have remained scientifically engaged and productive.

We invite you to look through the report site, review our medical and scientific discoveries of the past year, see what work a colleague may currently be engaged in, and identify a laboratory to collaborate with or refer a student. The report is fully searchable and offers potential postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and clinical fellows an introduction to the full array of research endeavors in NICHD's DIR.

NICHD intramural investigators comprise a broad array of basic, translational, and clinical researchers. The breadth of our work is reflected in our mission statement:

“To plan and conduct the institute’s laboratory and clinical research programs to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems through basic, clinical, and population-based research, and determine how to apply such knowledge to illuminate developmental origins of health and disease and help ensure that women and men have good reproductive health, that children are born healthy, and that people develop to live healthy and productive lives.”

We use a range of model systems in the areas of developmental biology, molecular and cellular biology, neurosciences, structural biology, imaging, and biophysics. Investigators working with a number of animal models, from fruit flies to rats and mice, are supported by a wide array of core services, including bioinformatics, imaging, molecular genomics, and a large zebrafish core facility. Each investigator participates in at least one, and typically more, affinity groups. These team-based and future-oriented affinity groups build on thematic interests while responding to rapidly shifting scientific priorities as new knowledge is uncovered.

I invite you to read through the selection of our Clinical Research Protocols listed in this flyer and consider how we may collaborate, through the NIH U01 grant mechanism at the NIH Clinical Research Center. Combining our expertise and taking advantage of our NIH infrastructure and patient populations can lead to the next miracle drug or new success in therapeutics for a rare disorder or one of the most persistent problems affecting human health. You can learn more about the U01 opportunities at

The DIR researchers, including those listed in this publication, are committed to are committed to training the next generation of scientists and physician scientists; they include tenure-track investigators who have recently joined us, and accomplished investigators who continue to forge new scientific paths. Visit their sections of the report to learn about their 2021 accomplishments. I also invite you to reach out to me with your ideas and proposals for collaborative initiatives we may undertake together, at

Our drive and purpose, on behalf of the American public and the international community, is to strive to uncover the fundamental principles that underpin reproduction and development, as well as to apply these findings to improve human reproductive health and and promote the healthy growth and maturation of children and adolescents. It is our privilege and responsibility.

Sincerely yours,
Chris J. McBain, PhD
Acting Scientific Director, NICHD, NIH

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