National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Division of Intramural Research
Scientific Director: Kathryn C. Zoon, Ph.D.
The NIAID Division of Intramural Research (DIR) conducts basic and clinical research in a wide range of disciplines related to immunology, allergy, and infectious diseases. DIR scientists study all aspects of infectious diseases such as AIDS, malaria, and influenza, including the causative agent, vectors, and pathogenesis in the human host. The purpose of the DIR is to make scientific discoveries that promote the development of new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to improve human health. Toward this goal, the DIR works to:
- Expand knowledge of normal immune system components and functions
- Define mechanisms responsible for abnormal immune function (immunodeficiency, allergy, and autoimmunity)
- Understand the biology of infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites) and the host response to infection
- Develop strategies to prevent and treat immunologic, allergic, and infectious diseases
A strong clinical research component is integral to the DIR, allowing key lab discoveries to be rapidly translated into methods to prevent, diagnose, or treat disease.
Scientific Director: John R. Mascola, M.D.
The NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) conducts research that facilitates the development of effective vaccines for human disease. The primary focus of research is the development of vaccines for HIV/AIDS. VRC activities include the following:
- Basic research to establish mechanisms of inducing long-lasting protective immunity against HIV and other pathogens that present special challenges to vaccine development
- Conception, design, and preparation of vaccine candidates for HIV and related viruses
- Laboratory analysis, animal testing, and clinical trials of vaccine candidates
The VRC conducts a comprehensive program of research on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, and works with scientists in academic, clinical, and industrial laboratories through a program of national and international collaborations. The VRC actively seeks industrial partners for the development, efficacy testing, and marketing of vaccines and focus the development of new methodologies and training opportunities to benefit all HIV vaccine researchers. These scientific advances, methodologies, and resources help form the basis for research on vaccines for other diseases.