It is an honor to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), known to many as NIH's "basic research institute." Since 1962, we have supported highly creative people committed to building a broad and deep foundation of discovery. Shared with and applied by scientists around the world, these findings have led to new diagnostics, new therapies, and new ways to prevent a wide range of diseases.
Among the advances that scientists have made with NIGMS support are:
- Discovering a gene-silencing process called RNA interference, or RNAi, that is both a powerful research tool and a promising new approach for treating diseases.
- Revealing how a protein's shape affects its function, which plays a key role in health and disease and also informs the design of new drugs.
- Increasing survival from burn injury, in part by improving methods of wound care, nutrition, and infection control.
- Explaining how genes affect the way a person responds to drugs, including those to treat cancer and prevent blood clots.
- Shedding light on the critical functions of carbohydrates, sugar molecules found on all living cells that are vital to fertilization, inflammation, blood clotting, and viral infection.
- Modeling infectious disease outbreaks and the impact of interventions through computer simulations to provide valuable information to public health policymakers.
- Developing new methods to look inside cells and other living systems. These approaches have advanced what we know about basic life processes in a range of organisms.