National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
The mission of the NIEHS is to "reduce the burden of human illness and disability by understanding how the environment influences the development and progression of human disease". NIEHS focuses on basic science, disease-oriented research, global environmental health, clinical research, and multidisciplinary training for researchers. NIEHS researchers and grantees have shown the deadly effects of asbestos exposure, the developmental impairment of children exposed to lead and the health effects of urban pollution. This is the laboratory of the 1994 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine, Dr. Martin Rodbell. Here scientists that same year had a key role in identifying the first breast cancer gene, BRCA1, and, in 1995, identified a gene that suppresses prostate cancer. Here is where genetically altered mice have been developed—to improve and shorten the screening of potential toxins and to help develop aspirin-like anti-inflammatory drugs with fewer side effects.
The Institute funds centers for environmental health studies at universities across the United States.
In 1966, the U.S. Surgeon General created a Division of Environmental Health Sciences within the NIH. Three years later, the division became its own institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Past directors include Paul Kotin, David Rall, Kenneth Olden, and David A. Schwartz.