Overview

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) supports basic research that increases our understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. NIGMS-funded scientists investigate how living systems work at a range of levels—from molecules and cells to tissues and organs—in research organisms, humans, and populations. Additionally, to ensure the vitality and continued productivity of the research enterprise, NIGMS provides leadership in training the next generation of scientists, enhancing the diversity of the scientific workforce, and developing research capacity throughout the country.

NIGMS is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal medical research agency of the federal government and a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With a budget of $3.0 billion, NIGMS supports more than 5,500 investigators and 5,000 research grants. The Institute has a strong track record of funding scientists who go on to receive Nobel Prizes, including 47 in Chemistry and 43 in Physiology or Medicine.

All NIH institutes and centers support basic research that’s relevant to the diseases, organ systems, stages of life, or populations within their mission areas. In contrast, NIGMS supports fundamental research that doesn’t focus on those specific areas. Its research mission is aimed at understanding the principles, mechanisms, and processes that underlie living organisms, often using research models. NIGMS also supports the development of fundamental methods and new technologies to achieve its mission. Supported research may utilize specific cells or organ systems if they serve as models for understanding general principles. Research with the overall goal to gain knowledge about a specific organ or organ system or the pathophysiology, treatment, or cure of a specific disease or condition will, in most cases, be more appropriate for another institute or center. See the NIH listing of institutes, centers, and offices to learn more about their specific missions.

NIGMS also supports research in specific clinical areas that affect multiple organ systems: anesthesiology and peri-operative pain; sepsis; clinical pharmacology that is common to multiple drugs and treatments; and trauma, burn injury, and wound healing.

The Institute is organized into the following divisions that support research, research training, and capacity building in a range of scientific fields.