Division of Intramural Research Overview

The Division of Intramural Research (DIR) is a component of NIAID, one of the largest Institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For more than 65 years, DIR has been at the forefront of research on immunologic, allergic, and infectious diseases. Our purpose is to make scientific discoveries that promote the development of new vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics that improve human health. The following are DIR research goals:

  • 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, and parasites) and the host response to infection
  • Develop strategies to prevent and treat immunologic, allergic, and infectious diseases

DIR scientists study all aspects of infectious diseases, including the causative agents, vectors, and pathogenesis in human and animal hosts. Clinical research is integral to the DIR mission, enabling key lab discoveries to be rapidly translated into methods to prevent, diagnose, or treat disease. DIR researchers conduct more than 180 clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center on the Bethesda, Maryland, campus and at collaborating U.S. and international sites.


Researcher prepares a monolayer of Vero cells infected with Dengue virus. Credit: NIAID

Researcher prepares a monolayer of Vero cells infected with Dengue virus. 

Credit: NIAID

DIR has 16 laboratories and one free-standing section that conduct peer-reviewed research and three branches that focus on new research technologies and animal care. DIR staff includes more than 130 Principal Investigators who lead research groups composed of staff scientists, physicians, fellows, technical personnel, and students. DIR investigators are distinguished in their fields, recognized with numerous awards, and include several members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).

In addition to conducting research, DIR also provides many laboratory and clinical research training opportunities for both pre- and postdoctoral physicians and scientists. Trainees compose the largest staff group in DIR.


Most DIR labs are located on the NIH campus in Bethesda and in nearby Rockville, Maryland; our other Maryland facilities are located in Frederick, approximately 40 miles from the main NIH campus. See visitor information.

DIR also has a large research campus in Hamilton, Montana, known as the Rocky Mountain Laboratories.

Additional Information

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