Regulatory Research Agencies


Last updated: August 3, 2014

Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, NIEHS is one of 27 institutes or centers of the National Institutes of Health, within the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). NIEHS was established in 1966 with the mission “to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives.” Like all US government bodies, NIEHS and its programs are funded by appropriations from Congress. NIEHS provides a list of the many laws that are relevant to their environmental and public health initiatives.

In 2012, NIEHS released a new 5-year strategic plan (2012-2017), which identified 11 goals/priority areas. Their overall goal is to make NIEHS, including the National Toxicology Program, “the foremost trusted source of environmental health knowledge, leading the field in innovation and the application of research to solve health problems.”

Organization and Programs

The Branches & Laboratories at NIEHS are organized within the Intramural Research Division and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Division, as follows:

Intramural Research Division:

  • Biostatistics Branch
  • Clinical Research Program Comparative Medicine Branch
  • Epidemiology Branch
  • Molecular Carcinogenesis Laboratory
  • Molecular Genetics Laboratory
  • Neurobiology Laboratory
  • Reproductive & Developmental Toxicology Laboratory
  • Respiratory Biology Laboratory
  • Signal Transduction Laboratory
  • Structural Biology Laboratory
  • Toxicology & Pharmacology Laboratory

National Toxicology Program Division:

  • Biomolecular Screening Branch
  • Cellular & Molecular Pathology Branch
  • NTP Laboratory
  • Program Operations Branch
  • Toxicology Branch

The NTP also has five Offices:

  • Office of the Report on Carcinogens
  • NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM)
  • Office of Nominations and Selection
  • Office of Liaison, Policy, and Review
  • Office of Health Assessment and Translation

In addition to its in-house programs, the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research & Training provides funding for environmental health sciences research by universities, hospitals, and other institutions through traditional NIH funding mechanisms, small business grants (SBIR), and various environmental health centers/programs (Landmark Programs).

National Toxicology Program (NTP)The NTP is located at and primarily funded by NIEHS. The NTP is an interagency program that coordinates toxicological testing programs among: NIEHS, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NIOSH/CDC), and the National Center for Toxicological Research/Food and Drug Administration (NCTR/FDA).

The goals of NTP are coordinating government agency toxicology studies, toxicological methods development and validation, developing approaches and data for risk assessments, and communicating these results to stakeholders. These kinds of toxicology research and testing programs involve the extensive use of laboratory animals.

Two NTP programs that involve research, development, and/or validation of toxicological methods with the potential to refine, reduce, or replace (3Rs) the use of animals are Tox21 and the work of NICEATM and ICCVAM. These initiatives are described further on the NTP page of AltTox.
For more on NTP:

NIEHS Animal Alternatives Policies & Actions
As home to the NTP, NIEHS provides funding and infrastructure support for the NTP’s Tox 21 high throughput screening program and other 3Rs initiatives, while also providing administrative and infrastructure support, as NICEATM, to the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM). These programs are described at: