Office of NIH History

Office of NIH History The Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum tells the stories of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health.

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A smiling Dr. Harvey Alter holds his 2020 Nobel Prize, which will go well with his 2000 Lasker Award. Alter’s work on he...
11/23/2021

A smiling Dr. Harvey Alter holds his 2020 Nobel Prize, which will go well with his 2000 Lasker Award. Alter’s work on hepatitis, particularly the discovery of hepatitis C, led to the virtual elimination of hepatitis acquired through the blood supply. Thanks for keeping us safe when we get transfusions!

A smiling Dr. Harvey Alter holds his 2020 Nobel Prize, which will go well with his 2000 Lasker Award. Alter’s work on hepatitis, particularly the discovery of hepatitis C, led to the virtual elimination of hepatitis acquired through the blood supply. Thanks for keeping us safe when we get transfusions!

Every now and then you can hear the laughter of a child as you walk past the Children’s Inn at NIH. The Inn provides a h...
11/18/2021

Every now and then you can hear the laughter of a child as you walk past the Children’s Inn at NIH. The Inn provides a homey space for families of children participating in clinical trials and investigations. Some of the families need to stay for months and many come from far away. We’re thankful for the existence of the Children’s Inn and the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge, which offers the same service for families of adults. And we love to hear that laughter.

Every now and then you can hear the laughter of a child as you walk past the Children’s Inn at NIH. The Inn provides a homey space for families of children participating in clinical trials and investigations. Some of the families need to stay for months and many come from far away. We’re thankful for the existence of the Children’s Inn and the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge, which offers the same service for families of adults. And we love to hear that laughter.

A license plate may seem like an unlikely symbol of our gratefulness for the hundreds of NIH staff who have contributed ...
11/16/2021

A license plate may seem like an unlikely symbol of our gratefulness for the hundreds of NIH staff who have contributed to the fight against the AIDS pandemic. Initially, an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence for all infected. Forty years later, in large part due to the tremendous investment NIH has put into HIV/AIDS research, those with HIV may live a normal lifespan. And the license plate? “Fusin” is what Dr. Edward Berger and his co-workers called the coreceptor they discovered that helped HIV infect cells. The name was changed when more was learned about it. https://onih.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/B4CF7974-5485-423F-B69F-075579194894

A license plate may seem like an unlikely symbol of our gratefulness for the hundreds of NIH staff who have contributed to the fight against the AIDS pandemic. Initially, an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence for all infected. Forty years later, in large part due to the tremendous investment NIH has put into HIV/AIDS research, those with HIV may live a normal lifespan. And the license plate? “Fusin” is what Dr. Edward Berger and his co-workers called the coreceptor they discovered that helped HIV infect cells. The name was changed when more was learned about it. https://onih.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/B4CF7974-5485-423F-B69F-075579194894

While all NIH staff members are committed to enhancing the health of all Americans through their work on NIH’s campuses,...
11/11/2021

While all NIH staff members are committed to enhancing the health of all Americans through their work on NIH’s campuses, Public Health Service (PHS) officers also dedicate their service wherever they are called to duty. During the pandemic, many PHS officers have been deployed around the country to aid hospitals and nursing homes. Nadra Tyus, a health scientist administrator at NIMHD, helped set up community testing in Dallas. On this Veterans Day, we want to thank everyone who has been deployed throughout America’s history to attend to medical crises at home and abroad.

While all NIH staff members are committed to enhancing the health of all Americans through their work on NIH’s campuses, Public Health Service (PHS) officers also dedicate their service wherever they are called to duty. During the pandemic, many PHS officers have been deployed around the country to aid hospitals and nursing homes. Nadra Tyus, a health scientist administrator at NIMHD, helped set up community testing in Dallas. On this Veterans Day, we want to thank everyone who has been deployed throughout America’s history to attend to medical crises at home and abroad.

Before Dr. Roscoe Brady and his NINDS team designed a blood test in the 1960s to detect a genetic disorder called Gauche...
11/09/2021

Before Dr. Roscoe Brady and his NINDS team designed a blood test in the 1960s to detect a genetic disorder called Gaucher’s Disease, people had to endure the uncomfortable, invasive procedure of bone marrow sampling. Gaucher’s Disease is a rare genetic disorder where those affected do not have the enzymes to break down fats. Brady and his team had identified the missing enzyme and genetic defect and went on to develop prenatal test kits and pioneered enzyme replacement therapies for Gaucher’s and other diseases. We’re thankful that NIH provides hope and leadership in rare disease research.

Before Dr. Roscoe Brady and his NINDS team designed a blood test in the 1960s to detect a genetic disorder called Gaucher’s Disease, people had to endure the uncomfortable, invasive procedure of bone marrow sampling. Gaucher’s Disease is a rare genetic disorder where those affected do not have the enzymes to break down fats. Brady and his team had identified the missing enzyme and genetic defect and went on to develop prenatal test kits and pioneered enzyme replacement therapies for Gaucher’s and other diseases. We’re thankful that NIH provides hope and leadership in rare disease research.

Chemo in most people’s minds is a standard, often successful treatment when it comes to fighting cancer, but this wasn’t...
11/08/2021

Chemo in most people’s minds is a standard, often successful treatment when it comes to fighting cancer, but this wasn’t always the case. As the first director of NCI’s chemotherapy research program, Dr. Kenneth Endicott helped revolutionize cancer treatment throughout the world. Thanks to the efforts of NCI researchers like Endicott, we have the chance to spend more time with many of our loved ones today.

Cooler days and changing leaves usher in the season where Americans reflect upon and express their gratitude. This month...
11/02/2021

Cooler days and changing leaves usher in the season where Americans reflect upon and express their gratitude. This month we’ll feature a few of the many individuals, programs, and discoveries that we are thankful for each day.

During the pandemic, NIH staff screened and tested patients and colleagues and administered COVID-19 vaccines, not only sacrificing their time but also putting themselves at risk. We salute all NIH staff such as these volunteers at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory campus in Hamilton, Montana, who protect the NIH workforce and patients and their families.

Cooler days and changing leaves usher in the season where Americans reflect upon and express their gratitude. This month we’ll feature a few of the many individuals, programs, and discoveries that we are thankful for each day.

During the pandemic, NIH staff screened and tested patients and colleagues and administered COVID-19 vaccines, not only sacrificing their time but also putting themselves at risk. We salute all NIH staff such as these volunteers at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory campus in Hamilton, Montana, who protect the NIH workforce and patients and their families.

You think that we’d have something about Halloween today, but this day is an important anniversary for NIH. President Fr...
10/31/2021

You think that we’d have something about Halloween today, but this day is an important anniversary for NIH. President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the NIH campus in Bethesda on this date 81 years ago. His closing remarks still hit home: “Today the need for the conservation of health and physical fitness is greater than at any time in the Nation's history. In dedicating this institute, I dedicate it to the underlying philosophy of public health, to the conservation of life, to the wise use of the vital resources of our Nation. I voice for America, and for the stricken world, our hopes, our prayers, our faith, in the power of man's humanity to man.”

You think that we’d have something about Halloween today, but this day is an important anniversary for NIH. President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the NIH campus in Bethesda on this date 81 years ago. His closing remarks still hit home: “Today the need for the conservation of health and physical fitness is greater than at any time in the Nation's history. In dedicating this institute, I dedicate it to the underlying philosophy of public health, to the conservation of life, to the wise use of the vital resources of our Nation. I voice for America, and for the stricken world, our hopes, our prayers, our faith, in the power of man's humanity to man.”

Jagged fangs made from an NIH Clinical Center screened sticker marks October 31, 2020. An NIH staff member embellished h...
10/28/2021

Jagged fangs made from an NIH Clinical Center screened sticker marks October 31, 2020. An NIH staff member embellished her calendar with the stickers on the days she worked. They are a colorful addition to a calendar filled with crossed-out birthday parties and vacations. Let’s hope that in 2022, the only frightening things are in our collection.

Jagged fangs made from an NIH Clinical Center screened sticker marks October 31, 2020. An NIH staff member embellished her calendar with the stickers on the days she worked. They are a colorful addition to a calendar filled with crossed-out birthday parties and vacations. Let’s hope that in 2022, the only frightening things are in our collection.

Could we control our own evolution? Should we? Join us for our Biomedical History Lecture tomorrow at noon with Professo...
10/27/2021

Could we control our own evolution? Should we? Join us for our Biomedical History Lecture tomorrow at noon with Professor Nathaniel Comfort, Johns Hopkins University. https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=44029

Could we control our own evolution? Should we? Join us for our Biomedical History Lecture tomorrow at noon with Professor Nathaniel Comfort, Johns Hopkins University. https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=44029

Someone is peering out of…what? A time machine? Or perhaps he was created in a lab? Or maybe he was frozen and awaits de...
10/26/2021

Someone is peering out of…what? A time machine? Or perhaps he was created in a lab? Or maybe he was frozen and awaits defrosting in some utopian future? Nope. He’s a volunteer in a metabolism study in the 1950s at NIH.

Someone is peering out of…what? A time machine? Or perhaps he was created in a lab? Or maybe he was frozen and awaits defrosting in some utopian future? Nope. He’s a volunteer in a metabolism study in the 1950s at NIH.

Needles are scary enough for some people, but the caption of this 1938 photo of a nurse injecting the then-new antibioti...
10/21/2021

Needles are scary enough for some people, but the caption of this 1938 photo of a nurse injecting the then-new antibiotic sulfanilamide into a patient is quite unsettling: “Like any other substance that spells death to germs, the new drugs may spell death to humans if they are not handled just right. There is no adequate substitute for skilled medical care; drugs are doctors' allies, not their successors.”
Photo taken at NIH, May 1938, by the Science Service.

Needles are scary enough for some people, but the caption of this 1938 photo of a nurse injecting the then-new antibiotic sulfanilamide into a patient is quite unsettling: “Like any other substance that spells death to germs, the new drugs may spell death to humans if they are not handled just right. There is no adequate substitute for skilled medical care; drugs are doctors' allies, not their successors.”
Photo taken at NIH, May 1938, by the Science Service.

How many times are our heroes threatened with dental instruments in action movies? Tooth many! We have our own large col...
10/19/2021

How many times are our heroes threatened with dental instruments in action movies? Tooth many! We have our own large collection of dental picks, files, cleavers, scalers, pliers, hatchets, trimmers, chisels, pluggers…and forceps. These extracting forceps are particularly graceful. They all belonged to Dr. H. Trendley Dean, who joined the NIH as its first dental scientist in 1931.

How many times are our heroes threatened with dental instruments in action movies? Tooth many! We have our own large collection of dental picks, files, cleavers, scalers, pliers, hatchets, trimmers, chisels, pluggers…and forceps. These extracting forceps are particularly graceful. They all belonged to Dr. H. Trendley Dean, who joined the NIH as its first dental scientist in 1931.

Imagine turning around in the dark attic of an old laboratory building to see disembodied arms floating in the dim beam ...
10/14/2021

Imagine turning around in the dark attic of an old laboratory building to see disembodied arms floating in the dim beam of your flashlight. You might jump a foot or two. That’s what happened in the NIH’s Building 1 attic to our curator. The arms turned out to be an exhibit created for Dr. James Leake in the 1920s or 1930s about reactions to small pox vaccines. The crate had been stuck up in the attic and forgotten about for decades. Now it’s part of our collection.

Imagine turning around in the dark attic of an old laboratory building to see disembodied arms floating in the dim beam of your flashlight. You might jump a foot or two. That’s what happened in the NIH’s Building 1 attic to our curator. The arms turned out to be an exhibit created for Dr. James Leake in the 1920s or 1930s about reactions to small pox vaccines. The crate had been stuck up in the attic and forgotten about for decades. Now it’s part of our collection.

Creepy-crawly things like spiders and other insects give us…the creepy crawlies! This mite could also give you Rickettsi...
10/12/2021

Creepy-crawly things like spiders and other insects give us…the creepy crawlies! This mite could also give you Rickettsialpox. It fed on mice in an apartment house in Queens, New York, and then fed on the humans who lived there, making them sick. NIH researchers and self-taught entomologist Charles Pomerantz discovered the disease in 1946. But don’t worry, Rickettsialpox is easily treated. This mite is just one insect in our collection.

Creepy-crawly things like spiders and other insects give us…the creepy crawlies! This mite could also give you Rickettsialpox. It fed on mice in an apartment house in Queens, New York, and then fed on the humans who lived there, making them sick. NIH researchers and self-taught entomologist Charles Pomerantz discovered the disease in 1946. But don’t worry, Rickettsialpox is easily treated. This mite is just one insect in our collection.

There should be nothing scary about asking for help. It’s been a long 18 months. Celebrate Mental Health Day by checking...
10/10/2021

There should be nothing scary about asking for help. It’s been a long 18 months. Celebrate Mental Health Day by checking out the resources at the National Institute of Mental Health, including how to talk to your health care provider. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health

There should be nothing scary about asking for help. It’s been a long 18 months. Celebrate Mental Health Day by checking out the resources at the National Institute of Mental Health, including how to talk to your health care provider. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health

What is this mad scientist creating in his lab? Thanks to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel about a monster created by Dr. Frank...
10/07/2021

What is this mad scientist creating in his lab? Thanks to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel about a monster created by Dr. Frankenstein, the mad scientist is a worn cliché in horror movies. But we think that mouth pipetting is the horrifying image in this photo! Dr. Hugo Bauer was working on the antibiotic sulfanilamide in the 1938 Science Service photo in our collection.

What is this mad scientist creating in his lab? Thanks to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel about a monster created by Dr. Frankenstein, the mad scientist is a worn cliché in horror movies. But we think that mouth pipetting is the horrifying image in this photo! Dr. Hugo Bauer was working on the antibiotic sulfanilamide in the 1938 Science Service photo in our collection.

What are some spooky, creepy, or just cringe-inducing items in our collection? October seems a good time to explore that...
10/05/2021

What are some spooky, creepy, or just cringe-inducing items in our collection? October seems a good time to explore that question. For some reason, children and children’s songs play a role in many scary movies, but it’s the lack of children on this NIH playground that is eerie. The photo was taken in the 1970s.

What are some spooky, creepy, or just cringe-inducing items in our collection? October seems a good time to explore that question. For some reason, children and children’s songs play a role in many scary movies, but it’s the lack of children on this NIH playground that is eerie. The photo was taken in the 1970s.

Dr. R. R. Hayward, a local physician (in a white lab coat), administered the Rocky Mountain spotted fever vaccine to a m...
09/30/2021

Dr. R. R. Hayward, a local physician (in a white lab coat), administered the Rocky Mountain spotted fever vaccine to a man as the residents of Darby, Montana waited for their turn. The town of Darby had lost Arthur Kerlee to the disease when he was working at the Canyon Creek Schoolhouse Laboratory. Kerlee had received only one of the required vaccination shots when he was infected. The schoolhouse was a laboratory for just seven years (1921-1928); it later became a museum and is now a playhouse. And the laboratory went from being a field station of the Public Health Service to being the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories of today, where research on infectious diseases continues.
https://go.usa.gov/xMqVT

Dr. R. R. Hayward, a local physician (in a white lab coat), administered the Rocky Mountain spotted fever vaccine to a man as the residents of Darby, Montana waited for their turn. The town of Darby had lost Arthur Kerlee to the disease when he was working at the Canyon Creek Schoolhouse Laboratory. Kerlee had received only one of the required vaccination shots when he was infected. The schoolhouse was a laboratory for just seven years (1921-1928); it later became a museum and is now a playhouse. And the laboratory went from being a field station of the Public Health Service to being the NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories of today, where research on infectious diseases continues.
https://go.usa.gov/xMqVT

Such a small case for such a huge topic! But don’t worry, we’ve got more collections to share about NIH & COVID-19. Some...
09/28/2021

Such a small case for such a huge topic! But don’t worry, we’ve got more collections to share about NIH & COVID-19. Some will appear later in this physical display in Building 31, and some will be in our online version, now in development. So if you work at NIH and have something scientific/clinical/personal related to the pandemic to donate, let us know. [email protected]

Such a small case for such a huge topic! But don’t worry, we’ve got more collections to share about NIH & COVID-19. Some will appear later in this physical display in Building 31, and some will be in our online version, now in development. So if you work at NIH and have something scientific/clinical/personal related to the pandemic to donate, let us know. [email protected]

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Creepy-crawly things like arthropods give us…the creepy crawlies! This mite could also give you Rickettsialpox. It fed on mice in an apartment house in Queens, New York, and then fed on the humans who lived there, making them sick. NIH researchers and self-taught entomologist Charles Pomerantz discovered the disease in 1946. But don’t worry, Rickettsialpox is easily treated. This mite is just one of many in our collection at Office of NIH History. #NIH
Creepy-crawly things like arthropods give us…the creepy crawlies! This mite could also give you Rickettsialpox. It fed on mice in an apartment house in Queens, New York, and then fed on the humans who lived there, making them sick. NIH researchers and self-taught entomologist Charles Pomerantz discovered the disease in 1946. But don’t worry, Rickettsialpox is easily treated. This mite is just one of many in our collection at Office of NIH History. #NIH
A new exhibit, “NIH & COVID-19,” that showcases NIH’s role in the fight against COVID-19, includes handcrafted flowers made from Clinical Center COVID-19 screening tags as part of the sampling of objects, images, and interviews in the display collected through Office of NIH History ’s “Behind the Mask: Real Stories from NIH Staff About Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic” initiative. https://go.usa.gov/xM7cp
The Office of NIH History is sharing some of the "spooky" photos in its collection this October including this eerie photo of an empty NIH playground.
Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., co-winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, will speak about the transformational training he received from 1968 to 1970 in the NIH Associates Training Program and his subsequent research career. The lecture, titled "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm," is Thursday, May 27, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. at https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=42077. Sign language interpreters can be provided for these History Office lectures. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate in these events should contact the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum, [email protected], or the Federal Relay, 800-877-8339.
NCATS Director of Strategic Alliances Lili Portilla, M.P.A., was interviewed for the Office of NIH History’s Behind the Mask series. Hear her discuss the NCATS-hosted #N3C Data Enclave, the importance of team science and her personal experiences during #COVID19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvh3v3_mNnM
Covid Unmasked! Dozens of NIH employees have contributed their stories and art to the Office of NIH History's project, “Behind the Mask.” https://go.usa.gov/xAh4A
The Office of NIH History launched the "Behind the Mask" project to gather stories, documents, and photographs showing how life for those working at #NIH has changed during the #COVID19 pandemic. Check out a sampling of their collection on the IRP blog! https://irp.nih.gov/blog/post/2020/10/behind-the-mask
As part of our #MuseumsThankHealthHeroes today, your social media team did one of our favorite things: we dug around in some archives. And guess what we found? We found out that you can download oral history interviews with one of our favorite #healthheroes, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. Thanks to the museum and library staff at the Office of NIH History for collecting & preserving the primary source material that tells our history--and thanks to Dr. Fauci for his important work. Read Dr. Fauci's oral histories here: https://history.nih.gov/NIHInOwnWords/docs/page_10.html
Since trying to trace in the largest cities I imagine would be difficult. Why not take the tracing technologies and economic boost to less populated areas of the country. Especially the states that are projected by the WH to be hardest hit by the downturn in these difficult times. The research would improve the ability for the second wave of this Covid-19 pandemic. All without overreacting.
Dr. Alessandra Rovescalli wanted to take her endocrinology research to the next level—the molecular level—so she left Italy to join the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Marshall Nirenberg at NHLBI in 1991. Nirenberg had helped to break the genetic code and then switched to neurobiology. They conducted important work on how the nervous system develops and functions. After Nirenberg’s death, Rovescalli donated many of their instruments to our collection. See some https://bit.ly/3a2c7oK. She now works at NIH Center for Scientific Review. #Womenshistorymonth Office of NIH History
In 1958, Marshall Nirenberg broke the genetic code, but how? The Office of NIH History exhibit “Deciphering the Genetic Code - Marshall Nirenberg” answers these questions and more. http://bit.ly/2mqNjDp