The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the world's foremost biomedical research centers, and is the federal focal point for health research. An agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, NIH is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, a half-hour drive from College Park. Its mission is the pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. More than 3,000 Ph.D. scientists are employed at NIH and the cooperative program with the Chemical Physics Program provides vast opportunities for Ph.D. research in biophysics and related areas.