The Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) was established in 1942 as an independent not-for-profit research organization affiliated with the New York City Department of Health. Dr. Ralph Muckenfuss, director of the Bureau of Laboratories of the Department of Health, was designated as the first director of the Institute. The mission of the Institute was to conduct research in areas related to the public health problems of New York City. The Institute had three divisions—Infectious Disease, Applied Immunology, and Nutrition and Physiology. The institute was originally housed in simple quarters at 16th Street and the East River. As it grew in size the Institute eventually moved to a new building at 26th Street and First Avenue, across the street from the original Carnegie Laboratory of New York University. The Institute maintained close connections with NYU with most of the staff holding faculty appointments at the university.