The Porter Neuroscience Research Center on the main NIH campus in Bethesda is home to the majority of NINDS IRP laboratories, as well as those from eight other Institutes. Credit: Bill Branson
NINDS recently convened the first Blue Ribbon Panel review of its Intramural Research Program (IRP). The Panel was chaired by Dr. Robert Darnell (Heilbrunn Professor and Senior Physician, Rockefeller University) and consisted of nine other extramural experts with a broad perspective on basic neuroscience and clinical neurology and considerable knowledge about NINDS. The goal of the review, which examined both scientific achievement and overall program organization, was to provide the IRP with feedback for enhancing the program’s contribution within the larger neuroscience community.
On September 11, 2014, Dr. Darnell presented the Panel’s findings and recommendations and submitted the Panel’s full report to the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The Panel summarized the IRP’s strengths as outstanding leadership, integrative science within NINDS and between IRPs, outstanding support for basic science in the context of clinical neuroscience, and vigilance on opportunities to strengthen and expand the clinical mission. Among the Panel’s recommendations, which will play a significant role in the IRP’s future endeavors, were to recruit up to five top-tier physician-scientists, capture phenotypic, genetic, and biomarker data on all research subjects, develop robust bioinformatics infrastructure, and increase collaboration across the board.