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NIST provides measurement assurance for biomedical stakeholders through the development of measurement tools for medical devices, clinical diagnostics, imaging tools and the characterization of complex biotherapeutics.

Key Accomplishments

  • Face coverings: In an effort to improve the fabric masks that people wear to slow the spread of COVID-19, NIST scientists have measured how well various fabrics filter out aerosols that might contain the virus. This research contributed to standards for fabric face masks that will give people information on how well their masks work.
  • Biopharmaceuticals: The NIST Monoclonal Antibody reference material is an intensively analyzed protein of over 20,000 atoms that researchers and manufacturers use when developing vaccines and treatments for cancer and other diseases. Also called the NISTmAb, this material promotes innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry and helps ensure the quality and safety of our drug supply.
  • Nutrition labeling: To help ensure the accuracy of nutrition labels, NIST manufactures over 30 food-based reference materials, including infant formula, baking chocolate, spinach and food oils. Labs use these reference materials to calibrate their instruments for measuring the carbohydrates, proteins, calories and other values listed on nutrition labels.
  • MRI calibration: The NIST phantom helps ensure that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines produce accurate results. Also called the “phannie,” this plastic sphere is about the size of a person’s head and contains contrast-enhancing agents and other materials that aid in calibrating MRI instruments.

The Research

Projects & Programs

Genome in a Bottle

Consortium hosted by NIST dedicated to authoritative characterization of benchmark human genomes. Sign up for General GIAB and Analysis Team email lists

Additional Resources Links


I’m Using Measurement Science to Test Antibodies and Protect Us From Viruses

Imagine if for the next dangerous virus, we could quickly and easily test everyone’s levels of defenses — known as antibodies.

From Pandemics to Pedicures: NIST Rebuilds World-Class UV Calibration System

NIST Partners With the Gates Foundation to Develop Breathalyzers for Malaria and Tuberculosis

Research Finds Dolphins With Elevated Mercury Levels in Florida and Georgia

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