New Scientific Directors, and More to Come

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

We’ve had a few changes on our Board of Scientific Directors in the past year, so I thought I’d give you an update. Each NIH Institute or Center (IC) with an intramural program has a scientific director (SD). The NCI, NIAID, NLM, and NIEHS are programmatically diverse and require additional leaders with SD functions. So, although 24 ICs have principal SDs, there are actually 30 people who function as scientific directors.

These SDs are responsible for the intramural budgets of their institutes. Most run their own labs. They also have numerous other responsibilities, which include:

  • oversight of scientific organization, setting of overarching research priorities, and allocation of resources within the IC’s intramural research program
  • recruitment and review of principal investigators and other key staff
  • oversight of scientific mentoring and training activities within the IRP
  • compliance with safety, ethics, and other legal and policy requirements
  • clearance of manuscripts and other publications
  • assurance of deposition of data and published manuscripts in appropriate public databases (e.g., PubMed Central,
  • contribution to the development and support of trans-NIH initiatives
  • active participation in the governance of the NIH IRP

Meet the NIH Scientific Directors and their programs —

With such pressing responsibilities, you could say that even the “acting” scientific directors (there are three) can’t just act the part. There are real and important decisions to be made.

Among the new SDs is the full trio from the NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR): Tom Misteli as CCR Director; Glenn Merlino as Scientific Director for Basic Research; and William L. Dahut as Scientific Director for Clinical Research. Steve Holland, who has served in many leadership roles, is now SD for NIAID. Jim Ostell, an NIH Distinguished Investigator, is now acting SD for NLM’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). And Anna María Nápoles, new to the NIH from UCSF, was named NIMHD SD in November; she is NIH’s first Latina scientific director. Also in the new-ish category is Steve Chanock, the SD for NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) for over a year now.

A few SDs will be retiring from the NIH or stepping down as SDs in 2018. They have served the NIH community well for many years, and we at NIH are grateful for their dedicated service. If you are interested in taking on the challenge of a leadership role as an SD and committed to the ongoing development of an outstanding diverse scientific workforce at NIH, follow our Faculty-Level Careers page for future opportunities.

Category: Careers