NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 11, 2001

Contact:
Judith Stein
(301) 496-5248
jas@nei.nih.gov

Anne Thomas
(301) 496-5787

Photo of Dr. Sieving is available in downloadable, camera-ready format on the NEI website at http://www.nei.nih.gov/photo/Sieving/index.htm or by calling 301-496-5248. This press release also can be accessed on the NEI website at http://www.nei.nih.gov/news/011101.htm.

Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., Named Director, National Eye Institute

Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., acting director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the appointment of Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., as director of the National Eye Institute (NEI). Dr. Sieving is currently the Paul R. Lichter Professor of Ophthalmic Genetics and director, Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration, at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor. He will join the NEI in late spring.

"I am delighted that Dr. Sieving will be assuming the directorship of the NEI," said Dr. Kirschstein. "As the nation's population ages, blinding eye diseases will reach epidemic proportions. Dr. Sieving, as an internationally recognized researcher and clinician, will provide dynamic leadership in our efforts to prevent blindness and visual loss. His experience as a senior administrator in a large academic medical center will be invaluable when he joins the NIH."

As the NEI's second director, Dr. Sieving will oversee a budget of $510.6 million, a staff of 300 scientists and administrators on the NIH campus, and approximately 1,600 research grants and training awards made to scientists at more than 250 institutions across the country and around the world. NEI conducted and supported research has led to a better understanding of the eye and visual system, sight-saving treatments, reduced visual impairment, and improvements in quality of life for people of all ages. The NEI's mission also extends to public education, including the National Eye Health Education Program, coordinated by the NEI in partnership with more than 60 national organizations.

"I am honored to be joining the NEI at this important moment when scientific opportunities have never been greater," said Dr. Sieving. "I look forward to working with the NEI staff, the vision research community, and the public to improve eye health for all and quality of life for those with vision impairments."

Dr. Sieving's research at the University of Michigan investigates the genetic basis for retinal and macular degenerations and the basic biology of the retinal cells that degenerate and lead to vision loss. He also conducts clinical investigations with individuals who have these conditions and their families, and studies treatments that might slow the degeneration.

An honors graduate of Valparaiso University in history and physics, Dr. Sieving completed an M.S. in physics at Yale University and a year at Yale Law School. He went on to receive an M.D. from the University of Illinois Medical School and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Illinois Graduate School. He did his post-doctoral fellowship in retinal physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, with the late Dr. Roy H. Steinberg, and his medical fellowship in inherited retinal degenerations at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, with Dr. Eliot L. Berson.

Dr. Sieving has received many awards and honors, including the Senior Scientific Investigator Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, the Alcon Award from the Alcon Research Institute, and he is listed as one of the "Best Doctors in America." He has served on several NIH study sections to review grant applications, and on numerous editorial and advisory boards. He has received grant support from NIH and various foundations since 1982 to further his research.