Starting a New Chapter

On August 1st, I will begin a new adventure. Having been at NIH for 4½ years and affiliated with NINDS for all that time, I will begin serving as NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, a position from which I will facilitate the performance of research throughout NIH. I see this change as an opportunity to view NIH science from a higher platform and to leverage that view to create new collaborations, synergies, training opportunities, and … well …. science and medicine.

The institutes and centers of NIH are variably constituted, charged, and focused. Some, like NINDS, are focused on particular organ systems and the disorders that affect them. Some, like the National Institute on Aging, are focused on a particular time of life or population. Still others, like the National Cancer Institute, are focused on a particular group of diseases. But real people stay healthy because all of their organ systems work together in interdependent ways throughout the lifecycle and adapt with growth, development, and aging, to changes in their function and environment. And real disorders of real people often involve the whole body or multiple components of it.

From my new position, I will be poised to bring scientists together across the age group, population, disorders, and organ system divides. I hope to enhance the ability of our training programs to prepare our students and fellows for the biomedical science of tomorrow – a biomedical science that takes place in laboratories, clinics, industry, and nonprofit and governmental agencies and that must talk articulately and audibly to policymakers, families, corporations, and educators.

This would be an impossible task were it not for the extraordinary foundation laid by the immediate past NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, Dr. Michael Gottesman, and his dedicated and superbly capable colleagues in the NIH Office of Intramural Research. All of them have already been so very generous in educating and mentoring me and in welcoming me to this new role at NIH. I am excited to serve both NIH and my country in this new way and to share bidirectionally with this extraordinary scientific community in service of greater understanding and improved health for all people. This will be the last issue of The Schor Line. But, in my new position, I will continue to write on science at NIH in The NIH Catalyst.