Harold Varmus, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced the appointment of Gerald T. Keusch, M.D., to serve jointly as Associate Director of NIH for International Research and Director of the Fogarty International Center (FIC), the NIH component devoted to advancing health through international scientific cooperation. Dr. Keusch succeeds Philip Schambra, Ph.D., who is retiring from NIH after more than 30 years of distinguished government service, the last 10 years as FIC Director.
Dr. Keusch is currently Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the Tufts University School of Medicine and New England Medical Center where he has established a major research and training program in infectious diseases and international health. He also serves as Scientific Director of the Health Group at the Harvard Institute for International Development, where he oversees long-term projects to increase research capacity in developing countries.
As NIH Associate Director for International Research, Dr. Keusch will be a principal advisor to Dr. Varmus and senior NIH staff on international research policies and programs. As Director of the FIC, he will oversee an annual budget of approximately $30 million that supports research and training grants and fellowships with over eighty nations.
"I am delighted that Dr. Keusch will be joining us" noted Dr. Varmus in announcing the appointment. "We will gain the benefit of his many years of basic and clinical investigation into health problems such as HIV, malnutrition and diarrheal diseases that exact such a huge human toll, especially abroad."
Dr. Keusch is an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases. Among other areas, his research has focused on molecular pathogenesis of enteric infections and vaccine development and on the effects of malnutrition on immune response and host defenses. He has conducted studies in Central America, Asia, and Africa, where he directed one of the NIH-supported International Collaboration on AIDS Research projects on the epidemiology and natural history of chronic diarrhea and wasting syndrome ("slim disease").
"I am very grateful for the decades of support NIH has provided to me and my colleagues for international work, and I look forward to helping the agency advance its international scientific objectives," Dr. Keusch said. "I hope to pursue several goals, such as bringing more young scientists into the field of international health and promoting interdisciplinary approaches. My own studies on bacterial and protozoal diarrhea have shown me the importance of closely linking basic and clinical research pursuits in international health. I also hope to create new partnerships among institutions involved in international health to help ensure that our research efforts translate into public health tools and interventions."
Dr. Keusch is a member of various professional organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Microbiology. He is chair of the U.S.- Japan Malnutrition Panel Advisory Committee and has been a member and chair of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Consultative Group on Vaccine Development. He has served on committees and boards of the National Academy of Sciences, including the Food and Nutrition Board, and of the Institute of Medicine, including the Committee on Issues and Priorities for New Vaccine Development.
A graduate of Columbia College in 1958, Dr. Keusch earned an M.D. from Harvard University Medical School in 1963. Following a medical internship and residency at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he spent two years in Bangkok, Thailand, working at the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) Medical Research Laboratory as a Research Associate under the NIH International Research Career Development Program. Dr. Keusch was Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital and School of Medicine in New York from 1970-1979, when he came to Tufts University School of Medicine and New England Medical Center in Boston to establish the Division of Geographic Medicine. He became Chief of the combined Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases in 1986.
Dr. Keusch will join the NIH on October 1, 1998.