The Institute plans, conducts, fosters, and supports an integrated and coordinated program of basic research, clinical investigations and trials, observational studies, and demonstration and education projects. Research is related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases, and sleep disorders. The NHLBI plans and directs research in development and evaluation of interventions and devices related to prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients suffering from such diseases and disorders. It also supports research on clinical use of blood and all aspects of the management of blood resources. Research by scientific institutions and individuals is supported by research grants and contracts through the NHLBI Extramural Program, while the NHLBI Division of Intramural Research conducts state-of-the-art research on the NIH Bethesda campus in its own laboratories.
For health professionals and the public, the NHLBI conducts educational activities, including development and dissemination of materials in the above areas, with an emphasis on prevention.
The NHLBI supports research training and career development of new and established researchers in fundamental sciences and clinical disciplines to enable them to conduct basic and clinical research related to heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases, sleep disorders, and blood resources through individual and institutional research training awards and career development awards.
The NHLBI coordinates relevant activities in the above areas, including the related causes of stroke, with other research institutes and federal health programs. Relationships are maintained with institutions and professional associations, and with international, national, state, and local officials as well as voluntary agencies and organizations working in the above areas.
The NHLBI Division of Intramural Research (DIR) in Bethesda conducts research and training in a wide variety of areas broadly related to the mission of the institute, both clinical research and basic science research. There are 60 investigators, each of whom runs their own research program. They are supported by a group of core services that implement state-of-the-art techniques available to all NHLBI investigators. The NHLBI was home to Marshall Nirenberg, Nobel laureate for his part in the discovery of the genetic code. The DIR also has a large training component, with opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and medical students as well as post-doctoral training.
The NHLBI sponsors National Wear Red Day and the Heart Truth campaign, a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease.