Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Black background. Up close bright blue orb

Health

Overview

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 and JIMB dedicated to authoritative characterization of benchmark human genomes. Sign up for General GIAB and Analysis Team email

Additional Resources Links

News

a man and a woman walking toward one another with exposure notification system bracelets on. "Waves" coming off the bracelets show that they are coming too close to one another.

Developing an Exposure Notification System to Blunt the Spread of COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

I am part of a grassroots effort at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that is developing an exposure notification system for pandemics in general, though we hope it could be used in at least a limited fashion during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are fortunate at NIST to have all the expertise required to tackle this multidisciplinary problem, solutions to which have the
A woman wearing a mask stands over a yellow sphere at a lab bench.

NIST-Led Study Finds Variations in Quantitative MRI Scanners’ Measurements

VSD inset illustration

New Standard for Vaccine Fridges Unveiled

A woman wearing purple gloves adjusts tubing inside a scientific device.

Spotlight: Screening for Kidney Disease With Accurate Measurements

Stay in Touch

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest research, trends, and news for Health.