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NCTR: The First 50 Years


NCTR: The First 50 Years

On August 11, 2021, past and present NCTR leaders and employees—along with FDA leaders—celebrated “NCTR: The First 50 Years.” Since being established in 1971 by President Nixon, NCTR has become an internationally recognized research center and plays a critical role in FDA’s mission. The unique scientific expertise of NCTR’s staff is critical in supporting FDA product centers and their regulatory roles. 


NCTR 50th Anniversary Celebration

Full live-streamed ceremony on August 11, 2021   

Remarks from FDA Leadership and Memorandum-of-Understanding signing between FDA and the State of Arkansas

  • Acting FDA Commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock
  • FDA Chief Scientist, RADM Denise Hinton
Remarks and Memorandum-of-Understanding signing between FDA and the State of Arkansas
Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson
Remarks by current and former NCTR Center Directors
(Click the Center Director name below to see individual video.)
Remarks and presentation of plaque by Chief Scientist Officer, Commission Corp, United States Public Health Service
Captain John Eckert, Ph.D., CIP
Dr. William Slikker, Jr. (Director, NCTR) and Jerry Adams (President, Arkansas Research Alliance) reaffirm a strong partnership in research and discovery.

Signing of Partnership Intermediary Agreement between NCTR and Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA)                         

(L to R) Dr. William Slikker, Jr., Director, NCTR and Jerry Adams, President, ARA (Photo courtesy of ARA)

Congressman Bruce Westerman Delivers Remarks at NCTR's 50th Anniversary

U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman delivers remarks at NCTR's 50th Anniversary Celebration (Photo courtesy of ARA)


Arkansas Research Alliance staff -- Bryan Barnhouse, Jerry Adams, and Art Norris -- with Representative Kenneth Ferguson, the lead sponsor of HR 1047
 Lawmakers Praise Research Facility (arkansasonline.com)

Most Impactful NCTR Accomplishments — First 50 Years

Take a look back with us as we reflect on some of NCTR's most impactful accomplishments in its first 50 years:

  • Addressed 1) mechanisms of toxicity of chemicals/pharmaceutical drugs, 2) risks of chemical/microbial food contamination, and 3) biomarkers for biological/chemical exposure.
  • Received (first FDA laboratory) and have continuously maintained accreditation from the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care for laboratory animal facilities and practices.
  • Defined the metabolic pathways and target tissues for several known and probable human carcinogens using comparative in vitro and in vivo studies.
  • Established interagency agreement with NIEHS to fund NCTR testing of FDA-nominated agents.
  • Assisted Office of Regulatory Affairs to co-locate the Arkansas Regional Laboratory on the NCTR campus, thus creating Jefferson Laboratories.
  • Determined the effect of topical glycolic/salicylic acid on the carcinogenicity of sunlight.
  • Detected antibiotic-resistance markers in diverse bacteria using microarray methods.
  • Developed ArrayTrack bioinformatic tool to store, analyze, and interpret microarray data, which is now being extended to protein and metabolite data for systems biology questions.
  • Established, in collaboration with FDA colleagues, both in vivo and in vitro models to assess the consequences of exposure to commonly used anesthetics on brain development.
  • Developed, in collaboration with CDER, the in-silico tool—FDALabel—to assist reviewers in finding and analyzing drug-label information from tens of thousands of drugs. 
  • Developed a decision-tree adopted by WHO and incorporated into the Veterinary International Conference on Harmonization Guidance #36 and the FDA/CVM Guidance for Industry #159 to evaluate the impact of veterinary drugs on human-food safety. 
  • Established an NCTR/FDA Bioimaging Facility including capability for MRI, CT, and PET to provide minimally invasive biomarkers of toxicity and enhance clinically translatable safety assessment.
  • Developed the FDA Perinatal Health Center of Excellence to advance knowledge concerning the impact of FDA-regulated products during the perinatal period, including pregnancy.
  • Established the Global Coalition for Regulatory Science Research and the annual Global Summit on Regulatory Science to enhance world-wide cooperation to improve public health.
  • Developing/conducting 30+ COVID-19 studies and publishing peer-reviewed manuscripts.

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