Naval Medical Research Center (Silver Spring, MD)

Naval Medical Research Center

Program Dates: TBD

You must be a U.S. citizen or a dual citizen and at least 16 years of age within a week of the start date to participate at this laboratory.


Mission: To conduct research, development, tests and evaluations to enhance the health, safety and readiness of Navy and Marine Corps personnel in the effective performance of peacetime and contingency missions, and to perform such other functions or tasks as may be directed by higher authority.

The NMRC is composed of several research Directorates. Below are the Directorates accepting interns:

Infectious Diseases Research Directorate

The Infectious Diseases Research Directorate (IDD) conducts research on diseases that are considered to be significant threats to our deployed sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen. Significant are infectious diseases that have the potential to incapacitate a large number of deployed forces over a short time period thus hindering the ability of the warfighters to accomplish their mission. The geographical distribution of a disease; the lack of an effective vaccine, treatment or other control measures; the mode of transmission; and the historical impact during past wars are all factors that determine the importance of a disease to the US military.

Malaria Research Department: The primary objective of the Navy's Malaria Program is to develop a vaccine that kills the parasite during its first few days of development in the liver, before it breaks out into the blood. If this approach is successful, it will prevent the clinical manifestation of malaria, which occurs only in conjunction with blood stage infection and not with the liver stage. Such a vaccine would benefit deployed military personnel as well as travelers and other non-immune populations. At the same time, the program is investigating vaccines that would target blood stage infection to limit the severity of symptoms associated with this stage. Both liver and blood stage vaccines, if deployed in endemic areas, could alleviate much of the suffering caused by this parasite in tropical countries. 

Enteric Diseases Department: Infectious diarrhea has historically been a substantial cause of morbidity for deployed U.S. military personnel and continues to the present day in those deployed in the global war on terrorism. Pathogenic bacteria, including Campylobacter, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), and Shigella are principal causative agents. These pathogens are also major causes of travelers' diarrhea in civilian populations and endemic diarrheal diseases in young children in resource-limited regions of the globe. The department is organized into four closely integrated branches: Molecular Biology, Immunoloy, Biochemistry, and Clinical Trials. Principal investigators within the program work with a number of extramural academic, industry, and government partners to achieve the goal of developing new-generation vaccines against bacterial diarrhea.

Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department: The Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department is divided into two divisions, Viral Disease and Rickettsial Disease Division. Because of the historic and current military impact of dengue virus infections, the key focus of the Viral Diseases Division is on the development of a vaccine to prevent dengue fever. An additional focus of the department is to develop and evaluate field-deployable diagnositc assays for the rapid and accurate detection of dengue virus (antigen or viral RNA) and dengue-specific antibodies in human clinical samples using innovative immunlogical or molecular approaches. 

Rickettsiae are arthropod-transmitted bacteria that cause a number of diseases capable of debilitiating deployed military personnel. Four of the diseases (murinetyphus, epidemictyphus, scrubtyphus, and trench fever) have had major historical impacts on military operations during wartime. Numerous episodes of rickettsia-like illnesses have also been encountered in the past few years in peacetime military operations. Rickettsial diseases are re-emerging infectious diseases, causing signfiicant medical problems for military personnel deployed throughout the world. A primary objective of the Rickettsial Diseases Division is to develop a scrubtyphus vaccine. Additionally, the division is actively developing new diagnostics for rickettsial diseases. 

Wound Infection Department: The Wound Infections Department (WID) was established in September 2011 in response to the Navy Surgeon General's call for research activities that will provide direct benefit to our wounded warfighters. The primary mission of the WID is to develop and evaluate novel and alternative treatment and prevention strategies for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) associated with multi drug-resistant organisms, which have increasingly afflicted U.S. military members wounded in combat. 

Operational and Undersea Medicine

The Operational and Undersea Medicine Directorate conducts medical research, development, testing, and evaluation to develop new information and technologies to enhance the health, safety, performance, and deployment readiness of Navy and Marine Corps personnel. The Directorate consists of three departments: NeuroTrauma, Undersea Medicine, and Regenerative Medicine. 

Undersea Medicine Department:The Undersea Medicine Department focuses on interventions to imporve performance and reduce injury in depoloyed Naval forces engaged in undersea occupations. The undersea medicine program has a unique mission area providing the capability to perform advanced undersea medicine research using animal models. Undersea medicine develops cutting-edge technologies to prevent and treat decompression sickness as well as pulmonary and central nervous system toxicity associated with exposure to hyperbaric oxygen. 

NeuroTrauma Department: The NeuroTrauma Department is actively involved in developing novel strategies to prevent and treat combat causalties with particular attention given to developing early, far forward interventions. This includes the Polytrauma Program, which studies traumatic brain injury (TBI) alone or in combination with hemorrhage or other injuries. The Operational Medicine program is primarily focused on emergent combat injury issues, mainly blast-induced TBI, the imortance of which has been spotlighted through the OIF/OEF experience due to the increased use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These research efforts include the study of blast biophysics, the pathophysiological responses to blast, neurocognitive and behavioral consequences of blast exposure and treatments for blast injury. 

Regenerative Medicine Department: NMRC's Regenerative Medicine Department maintains active research efforts in a composite tissue transplantation, stem cell biology, and translational medicine. Department scientists achieved the first successful, heterologous, full skin transplant in a primate model without the use of conventional immunosuppressive drugs. We are also examining the role of mesenchymal stem cells in tissue regeneration and transplantation. The Translational Medicine program conducts both basic and clinical studies in wound healing and tissue regernation. By identifying the protein and gene expression patterns invovled in wound healing, we are working to develop advanced diagnostics and treatment protocols to enhance overall outcomes for combat wounds.