Our History

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research—originally known as South Jersey Medical Research Foundation and then as the Institute for Medical Research—was founded by famed virologist Dr. Lewis L. Coriell in 1953. Dr. Coriell was a scientific pioneer, making invaluable contributions to biomedical research through advances in aseptic cell culture techniques and cryopreservation of cell lines.

The ability to sustain living human cells in culture—and keep them from being contaminated—led to a key breakthrough in polio research: it enabled scientists to grow the polio virus and work toward the first vaccine. But perhaps Dr. Coriell’s most enduring legacy was his generosity in knowledge and his ability to bring scientists together to explore research questions and collaborate on solutions.

In pursuit of our mission to prevent and cure disease, Coriell scientists work to accelerate scientific discovery by generating world-class biomaterials and conducting groundbreaking research in biobanking and epigenetics.

Our mission to understand human genetic disease is being pursued on several fronts. Coriell’s biobank manages the world’s most diverse collection of cell lines, DNA, and other biomaterials gathered and distributed for use by the international biomedical research community. In fact, Coriell was one of the first two official cell banks recognized by the National Institutes of Health in 1960. Coriell researchers are also pursuing their own research into the myriad ways our DNA plays a role in cancer, aging, and more. 

At Coriell, we approach each day with an entrepreneurial energy and confront challenges with agility and focus. Staff and scientists collaborate on ideas that support our shared vision. By taking these scientific ideas and turning them into medical advances, Coriell’s innovation today is a testament to its pioneering past. More importantly, Coriell’s innovation today is a commitment to your future.