Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

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This article is about the U.S. Army medical research institute (not the hospital). Otherwise, see Walter Reed (disambiguation).
"Building 40" of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center complex, Washington, DC — home to the WRAIR from 1953 to 1999.
The "Daniel Inouye Building" (Building 503), Forest Glen Annex, Silver Spring, Maryland — home to the WRAIR since 1999.

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is the largest biomedical research facility administered by the U.S. Department of Defense. The institute is centered at the Forest Glen Annex, part of the unincorporated Silver Spring urban area in Maryland just north of Washington, DC, but it is a subordinate unit of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), headquartered at nearby Fort Detrick, Maryland. At Forest Glen, the WRAIR has shared a laboratory and administrative facility — the Sen Daniel K. Inouye Building, also known as Building 503 — with the Naval Medical Research Center since 1999.

Official mandate[edit]

Basic and applied medical research supporting U.S. military operations is the focus of WRAIR leaders and scientists. Despite the focus on the military, however, the institute has historically also addressed and solved a variety of non-military medical problems prevalent in the United States and the wider world.[citation needed]

Divisions and Subordinate Units of the WRAIR[edit]

Divisions at the Daniel K. Inouye Building[edit]

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research hosts two Centers of Excellence for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience and for Infectious Disease Research which are headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience

  • Behavioral Biology
  • Blast Induced Neurotrauma
  • Brain Trauma Neuroprotection and Neurorestoration
  • Military Psychiatry
  • Research Transition Office

Center for Infectious Disease Research

Office of Science Education and Strategic Communications:

  • Research Marketing
  • Gains in Education of Mathematics & Science (GEMS)
Students in 7th to 12th grade get an opportunity to participate in an internship for one to four weeks in an Army laboratory and learn technical skills. Advanced courses in subsequent years build upon prior experience.
  • Science & Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP)
A cooperative education (work/study) program for high school students looking at a possible career in science and engineering. The program offers hands-on experience and mentoring in Army research and development activities in an actual Army laboratory.
  • Science & Engineering Apprentice Program-College Qualified Leaders (SEAP-CQL)
Paid internships for undergraduates seeking experience in Army research.

The WRAIR supports and collaborates on all other Army Educational Research Programs including the Mobile Discovery Center, the Junior Solar Spring, eCybermission, Uninitiates Introduction to Engineering (UNITE), Research & Engineering Apprentice Program (REAP), International Science & Engineering Fair (INTEL-ISEF), Internships Science & Engineering Program (ISEP), Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (JSHS), Women in Science Project (WISP), Career Related Experience in Science & Technology (CREST), Consortium Research Fellows Program (CRFP), and Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Defense Scholarshop for Service Program (SMART).

Research Support:

  • Preventive Medicine and Pathology
  • Pilot Bioproduction Facility
  • Clinical Trials Center
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Division of Human Subjects Protection
  • DMAVS, Library and Statistical Services
  • Information Management
  • Logistics
  • Office of Quality Activities
  • Operations and Security
  • Personnel
  • Resource Management
  • Safety

WRAIR Pilot Lot Production Facility[edit]

The Pilot Bioproduction Facility (PBF) was established in 1958 as the Department of Biologics Research and is now located at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The PBF mission is research, development, production, and testing of vaccines for human use.[1] The PBF at the Forest Glen Annex is a multi-use facility designed and operated for production of vaccines in compliance with the current Good Manufacturing (cGMP) regulations. Compliance with cGMP ensures that products prepared in the facility will be safe, potent, and reproducible.

Since inception, the PBF has specialized in developing vaccines for Department of Defense mission-related disease threats. The PBF follows all federal regulations that apply to biological products and has expertise in the development and production of vaccines for the prevention of a variety of infectious diseases. Projects for public and private partners are accomplished through inter-agency and cooperative agreements.

Vaccines are produced that will protect Soldiers against diseases that they might encounter in areas of deployment. These include vaccines to prevent dengue fever, malaria, meningitis, cholera, shigellosis, hepatitis A, and HIV. The PBF places compliance, cleanliness, and safety as top priorities in the production process of a vaccine. Once the vaccine is tested for safety, potency, and identity, the vaccine is released for use in approved human clinical studies. Several of the PBF's experimental vaccines have progressed on to advanced clinical testing.

Global Platforms[edit]

History of the WRAIR[edit]

For the pre-1953 history of WRAIR's predecessor institutions, see Army Medical School.

The WRAIR traces its institutional heritage back to the Army Medical School, founded by U.S. Army Surgeon General George Sternberg in 1893, by some reckonings the first school of public health and preventive medicine in the world. The organization name was officially changed to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in 1953.

Through the 20th century, medical discoveries continued to be found by Army researchers from the Army Medical School as U.S. military presence grew across the globe. Between 1900 and World War I (WWI), they showed that the cause of dengue fever was a filterable virus. They showed that parasites cause amebic dysentery and discovered a treatment for it. A vaccine against typhoid and a simple test for syphilis were developed. Chlorination as a method to disinfect drinking water was invented by Institute researchers. These and other advances in medicine, sanitation and hygiene were used by troops during WWI. By WWI, Army researchers from the Army Medical School were working in Asia and the Americas.[2]

Into World War II (WWII), investigations into dengue, malaria, combat stress, wound treatment, chemical weapons, and military dentistry continued in preparation for the US military to meet new challenges and threats. One such threat was Japanese encephalitis and the Institute was responsible for developing the first vaccine to combat it.

Since the end of WWII, WRAIR has evolved to continue serving Soldiers. The risks of nuclear weapons and chemical or biological warfare were added as new military health threats in the post-WWII era. As well, WRAIR researchers have contributed considerable gains in global medicine. For example, the Institute is responsible for the development of vaccines to prevent hepatitis A, meningococcal meningititis, and adenovirus that caused respiratory disease. In addition, WRAIR researchers have produced two highly effective antimalarial drugs and are currently working on an effective malaria vaccine.[3] WRAIR's medical contributions protect military and civilian populations worldwide.

Notable staff[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^

External links[edit]

This article contains information that originally came from US Government publications and websites and is in the public domain.

Coordinates: 39°0′18″N 77°3′14.5″W / 39.00500°N 77.054028°W / 39.00500; -77.054028