Public Health Research Institute

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The Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) was established in 1942 as an independent not-for-profit research organization affiliated with the New York City Department of Health.[1] Dr. Ralph Muckenfuss, director of the Bureau of Laboratories of the Department of Health, was designated as the first director of the Institute. The mission of the Institute was to conduct research in areas related to the public health problems of New York City. The Institute had three divisions—Infectious Disease, Applied Immunology, and Nutrition and Physiology (which later became the Division of Biochemistry). The institute was originally housed in simple quarters at 16th Street and the East River. As it grew in size the Institute eventually moved to a new building at 26th Street and First Avenue, across the street from the original Carnegie Laboratory of New York University. The Institute maintained close connections with NYU with most of the staff holding faculty appointments at the university.

PHRI was unique in being the only basic medical research organization in the nation that received substantial municipal support. Originally the City contributed $100,000 per year. Over time this increased to $350,000 per year with New York State contributing the same amount. This arrangement continued until the financial crisis of 1977 forced both the city and the state to end their funding for the institute. The Institute survived this loss of funding and continued to operate with funding from the National Institutes of Health and other research funders.

In 2002, PHRI became associated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and moved to the International Center for Public Health in Newark, New Jersey, a building which it shares with the UMDNJ Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and the National Tuberculosis Center. PHRI operated independently until 2006 when it merged with UMDNJ and was established as a research center of the University and New Jersey Medical School. PHRI researchers now hold faculty positions in the departments of medicine, microbiology, biochemistry and molecular genetics of New Jersey Medical School.[2] In 2013, UMDNJ and Rutgers merged to form Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.


  1. ^ Heyman, D. M. (1942). Annual Report of the Public Health Research Institute of the City of New York, Inc. July 1, 1941 - June 30, 1942.
  2. ^

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