| NIH Appoints Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D.
to be Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute
BETHESDA, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 — After an extensive national
search, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the appointment of
Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D., to be director of the National Human
Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the 27 institutes and
centers that comprise NIH. It is the first time an institute
director has risen to lead the entire NIH and subsequently picked
his own successor.
Dr. Green is currently the NHGRI scientific director and director
of the NHGRI Division of Intramural Research; he will become
NHGRI director on Dec. 1. Dr. Collins led NHGRI from April 1993
until August 2008. Alan Guttmacher, M.D., NHGRI's deputy director,
has served as acting NHGRI director since Dr. Collins's departure
in August 2008.
"Dr. Green is the perfect choice to be NHGRI director.
He grew up professionally with the genome era and has been on
the cutting edge of genomics research for more than two decades," Dr.
Collins said. "As NHGRI scientific director, Dr. Green has
overseen spectacular growth and diversification of the Institute's
intramural research program. Some of his notable contributions
include founding and ably directing for over a decade the NIH
Intramural Sequencing Center, establishing the Social and Behavioral
Research Branch and the NIH Center for Research on Genomics and
Global Health, and helping to launch innovative programs such
as the Undiagnosed Diseases Program."
In addition to directing NISC and the NHGRI intramural research
program, Dr. Green has been chief of the Genome Technology Branch
and head of that Branch's Physical Mapping Section. Since the
early 1990s, Dr. Green's research program has been at the forefront
of efforts to map, sequence, and understand complex genomes.
His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in
the Human Genome Project. More recently, Dr. Green established
a program in comparative genomics that involves the generation
and analyses of sequences from targeted genomic regions in evolutionarily
diverse species. The resulting data have provided new insights
about vertebrate genome organization and evolution, and revealed
how conserved sequences can be used to identify important functional
"I am deeply honored to be selected as the NHGRI director at
a time when the field has myriad exciting opportunities to advance
numerous areas of biomedicine and to revolutionize medical care," Dr.
Green said. "I am very fortunate to be given the opportunity
to lead NHGRI while its previous director leads all of NIH —
and in an Administration that has tremendous support and appreciation
for scientific research."
In addition to basic genomics research, his laboratory also
investigates genetic contributions to human illness. His group
has identified several human disease-related genes, including
those implicated in certain forms of hereditary deafness, vascular
disease, and inherited peripheral neuropathy. Most recently,
Dr. Green is leading a number of efforts that utilize contemporary
strategies for large-scale DNA sequencing to study genomic variation
among humans, especially those contributing to common diseases,
and is involved in an NIH-based consortium that aims to understand
the microbial communities that exist on human skin and how they
contribute to health and disease.
"The Human Genome Project was a tremendous success and the
research vision the NHGRI laid out at its completion in 2003
identified the key next steps to capitalize on the new knowledge
about the human genome and to begin building a better foundation
for using genetics to improve human health," Dr. Green said. "We
are now reaping the bounty of that investment, gaining unprecedented
insights about how the genome works in health and illness. My
job going forward is to push the application of genomics into
all areas of biomedical research, beyond NHGRI's boundaries,
and find effective ways to collaborate with a wide range of researchers
to translate genomic discoveries into medical advances."
Dr. Green has received numerous awards, including induction
into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2002
and into the America Association of Physicians in 2007. He is
an author on more than 240 scientific papers, is a founding editor
of Genome Research in 1995, edited a series called Genome Analysis:
A Laboratory Manual, and, since 2005, is co-editor of the Annual
Review of Genomics and Human Genetics.
Dr. Green is married and has two children. Though he now lives
in Bethesda, Md., Dr. Green's deep St. Louis roots keep him an
ardent St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan.
A high-resolution portrait of Dr. Green is available
NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the NIH, an
agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The NHGRI
Division of Intramural Research develops and implements technology
to understand, diagnose and treat genomic and genetic diseases.
The NHGRI Division of Extramural Research supports grants for
research and for training and career development at sites nationwide.
Additional information about NHGRI can be found at its Web site, www.genome.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its
programs, visit www.nih.gov.