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Opening Plenary Session:
The NIH at 125: Today's Discoveries, Tomorrow's Cures

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 — Opening Plenary Session

10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Masur Auditorium, Building 10


  • Antonello Bonci, NIDA
  • Constantine Stratakis, NICHD


Cholera, plague, smallpox and yellow fever. These were the four epidemic diseases subject to quarantine that most concerned Joseph James Kinyoun, the founder and, for several years, sole employee of the Laboratory of Hygiene in the U.S. Marine Hospital Service. The NIH traces its roots to Kinyoun's one-room laboratory established in August 1887. At the 2012 NIH Research Festival we celebrate our quasquicentennial by honoring Kinyoun's legacy, reflecting on NIH successes, and contemplating at the potential of the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) in the years to come.

Where have we been, and where are we going? Smallpox has been eradicated, but much difficult work lies before us. Our 2012 Festival artwork, in fact, depicts MRSA bacteria, an emerging threat. This year's plenary session opens with three "big vision" talks about possible futures for the NIH. Then, if travel permits, we will hear a lecture from the late Joseph Kinyoun himself, who surely will have much to say, having died 93 years ago. Kinyoun's talk is followed by a panel discussion with NIH luminaries offering a personal and historical perspective of the IRP. The opening plenary can be viewed via videocast at

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks - NIH Director Francis Collins
  • The Social Significance of Science: A Systems Approach to Health Inequities - NHLBI Director Gary Gibbons
  • Navigating the Cellular Landscape With New Optical Probes, Imaging Strategies and Technical Innovations - Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz (NICHD)
  • Fantastic Voyage Rebooted: A Visual Journey into the Dynamic Life of the Immune System - Ron Germain (NIAID)
  • Uneasy Death: Three Things That Haunt Me 93 Years After My Passing - Joseph Kinyoun, Founder, Laboratory of Hygiene
  • Office of History, NIH Panel Discussion - NIAMS Director Stephen Katz, William Paul (NIAID), and Judy Rapoport (NIMH)

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