ACD Working Group on Catalyzing the Development and Use of Novel Alternative Methods to Advance Biomedical Research

NIH will hold a virtual workshop on August 21, 2023, on approaches, challenges, and opportunities relating to the development of Novel Alternative Methods (NAMs). The workshop will also feature discussion on identifying incentives and barriers to successful implementation of NAMs technologies. More information can be found at:

The NIH has posted a Request for Information (RFI) for the community to share insights on challenges and opportunities for the further development and use of novel alternative methods (NAMs) in biomedical research. Input received from this request will inform the NIH and the development of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD)’s recommendations on high-priority areas for future investment in NAMs. Please consider sharing and responding to the RFI, which closes on September 5, 2023. Note this has been updated to reflect a new closing date of September 5, 2023 (Original Date: August 16, 2023).


Biomedical researchers rely on a combination of innovative methods, models, and technologies to answer complex questions about human health and disease. The use of any given approach is based on its ability to answer the research question under study. While animal research remains researchers' best resource for addressing the complexity of human biology, rapid advances in technology are catalyzing the development and use of complementary, nonanimal based approaches. The development of these "novel alternative methods" hold tremendous promise for increasing the tools available to achieve the NIH mission and potentially reduce and refine the future use of animals in some areas of research in the future.

NIH investment in alternative methods, including in chemico, in vitro, and in silico approaches, has increased dramatically over the past 15 years. They have proven beneficial tools across basic and clinical research studies, being developed and applied to interrogate cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, infectious disease, rare diseases, and more. Each approach has strengths and limitations that varies depending on the specific research question being addressed, and utility may be variable in terms of insight that can be provided into certain aspects of human biology, behavior, and disease. NIH is seeking the assistance of the ACD in identifying areas in which the development and use of novel alternative methods provide the most value to biomedical research.


  • Identify the types of alternative methods being developed for use in biomedical research and assess their general strengths and weaknesses for studying human biology, circuits, systems, and disease states
  • Characterize the types of research, condition, or disease for which alternative methods are most applicable or beneficial
  • Articulate high-priority areas for NIH investment in the use and development of novel alternative methods with human applicability to:
    • Advance progress into understanding specific biological processes or states
    • Augment the tools and capabilities for biomedical research to complement and/or potentially replace traditional models


  • Antonio Baines, PhD
    North Carolina Central University & University of North Carolina
  • Szczepan Baran, DVM
    VeriSIM Life
  • Wendy Chapman, PhD
    University of Melbourne
  • Myrtle Davis, DVM, PhD
    Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Linda Griffith, PhD
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ranu Jung, PhD
    University of Arkansas
  • Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD
    University of California, San Francisco
  • Nancy Lane, MD
    University of California, Davis
  • Kelly Metcalf Pate, DVM, PhD
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sergiu Pasca, MD
    Stanford University
  • Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD
    Columbia University


  • Howard Chang, MD, PhD
    Stanford University
  • Lyric Jorgenson, PhD
    National Institutes of Health


  • Namandjé Bumpus, PhD
    U.S. Food & Drug Administration
  • Maureen Gwinn, PhD
    Environmental Protection Agency
  • Danilo Tagle, PhD
    National Institutes of Health


  • Brittany Chao, DPhil
    National Institutes of Health
  • Jessica Creery, PhD
    National Institutes of Health

This page last reviewed on December 16, 2022