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Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Howard Hughes Medical Institute

We live in an era of discovery. Each day, scientists bring us closer to understanding fundamental questions about human life. How does the brain process information and store knowledge? How do mutations in key genes cause disease? How do cells communicate? The challenge of solving these and other questions – as well as the promise of what those answers might yield – drives the quest for knowledge at the heart of our work at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

HHMI, a non-profit medical research organization that ranks as one of the nation’s largest philanthropies, plays a powerful role in advancing biomedical research and science education in the U.S. In the past two decades HHMI has made investments of more than $8.3 billion for the support, training, and education of the nation’s most creative and promising scientists. The Institute commits almost $700 million a year for research and distributes more than $80 million in grant support for science education.

HHMI’s flagship program in biomedical research rests on the conviction that scientists of exceptional talent, commitment, and imagination will make fundamental biological discoveries for the betterment of human health if they receive the resources, time, and freedom to pursue challenging questions. Our 303 investigators, selected through rigorous national competitions, include 12 Nobel Prize Winners and 124 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Hughes laboratories, found at 64 distinguished U.S. universities, research institutes, medical schools, and affiliated hospitals, employ nearly 700 post docs and provide training opportunities for more than 1,000 graduate students each year.

The Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., further extends HHMI’s commitment to research and discovery. Janelia Farm will probe fundamental biomedical questions best addressed through a collaborative, interdisciplinary culture. The initial research focus is the identification of general principles that govern how information is processed by neuronal circuits and development of imaging technologies and computational methods for image analysis. Researchers at Janelia Farm – including its most senior group leaders -engage in active bench science and work in small teams that cross disciplinary boundaries that bring chemists, physicists, computational scientists, and engineers into close collaboration with biologists.

The HHMI grants program fuses teaching and research, reflecting the Institute’s commitment to inspiring and educating a new generation of scientists. HHMI funds initiatives with the power to transform undergraduate and graduate education by engaging students in discovery research. We seek opportunities to create connections across a continuum of learning that extends from the primary grades through high school and beyond and includes activities to increase diversity in the scientific workforce and promote scientific literacy in society. HHMI supports highly creative international scientists in key geographical regions and research areas, provides essential funding for physician-scientists early in their careers, and invests in resources that benefit the broader scientific community.

Founded in 1953 by Howard R. Hughes, the aviator and industrialist, HHMI is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and employs more than 2,600 individuals across the U.S. It has an endowment of $18.7 billion.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute:  News and Bulletins


Howard Hughes Medical Institute. (2008). Discovering new knowledge.  Retrieved October 16, 2008, from