Many scientific advances over the past 50 years were rooted in the basic research supported by the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), so there was much to celebrate during its program of anniversary events.
NIGMS hosted sessions to review accomplishments in numerous scientific meetings during the year, culminating in a day-long symposium on the NIH campus, opened by NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins. "NIGMS has always stood for freedom of the mind in scientific inquiry," he noted, "so happy 50th anniversary!"
Over five decades, the Institute has supported research to discover how cells communicate with each other and their environment, how genes are regulated and how proteins accomplish their varied tasks in the body. This knowledge forms the foundation for new and better ways to improve health and tackle disease. With the fourth-largest budget at the NIH of $2.4 billion, NIGMS funds about 4,700 research grants.
"The basic research we support is a solid foundation for new and better ways to treat and prevent disease and improve health," said NIGMS Acting Director Dr. Judith H. Greenberg.
As NIGMS reflects on its progress over the past five decades, it also looks forward. "Our challenge for the future is to continue to attract and train the best minds and to champion their unfettered creativity," says Greenberg. "And if we do that, we can expect spectacular discoveries ahead."