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Objective 1: Advance Fundamental Science and Methods Development


Fundamental scientific inquiry is essential to the progress of biomedicine by enhancing the understanding of how living systems work. This understanding serves as a foundation for translational and clinical studies that can lead to improved approaches to the management, treatment, and prevention of diseases and symptoms.

Fundamental science plays a key role in fulfilling NCCIH’s mission. The Center provides strong support for basic and mechanistic research on complementary health approaches. NCCIH’s basic research is aimed at understanding the nature of complementary health approaches such as their biology, physiology, and physical, chemical, and behavioral properties. NCCIH also supports the development of tools, models, and methodologies for studying these approaches. NCCIH’s mechanistic research is focused on identifying and understanding the active components of a complementary health approach and how those components produce effects. Depending upon the question, basic and mechanistic studies may be performed in vitro, in animals, or with human volunteers.

NCCIH also supports research studies characterizing the active elements of complex interventions. These studies often require multidisciplinary expertise and frequently use state-of-the-art techniques in areas such as neuroscience, immunology, pharmacognosy, proteomics, genetics, and epigenomics. Understanding the mechanisms by which complex complementary or integrative interventions exert their effects is critical for the development of optimized interventions.