All living things are made of cells. Thus, cellular malfunction plays a critical role in many diseases, ranging from cancers resulting from abnormal cell growth, to neurodegenerative disorders that result from nerve cell death. Cell biological research in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) reflects this spectrum, with concentrated expertise in six key areas that span multiple biological systems:
The cellular basis of life may seem obvious in the modern era of biology, but before the development of the first microscopes in the early nineteenth century, it could only be a matter of speculation. The size of a typical human cell is about five times smaller than anything we can see with the naked eye. Therefore, advances in our understanding of the inner workings of cells—including cellular pathophysiology—have gone hand-in-hand with advances in the technology available to visualize and study them.
As part of our ongoing commitment to uncovering the secrets of the living cell, we have formed a trans-NIH Imaging Initiative. Bringing together the biological and technical expertise of investigators from across the IRP (and, in particular, from the NIBIB Intramural Program), we aim to improve resolution for molecular and cellular imaging by developing better technologies and novel chemical probes.
To learn more about the IRP researchers engaged in cell biological research, visit the NIH Cell Biology Interest Group Web site.