Incoming NHLBI director Dr. Gary H. Gibbons (r) is welcomed by NHLBI acting director Dr. Susan Shurin and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins at a recent NIH lecture, where Gibbons gave a presentation on “Cardiovascular Health Disparities: Integrating Genomic and Social Determinants.”
On Apr. 5, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins announced the selection of Dr. Gary H. Gibbons as new director of NHLBI. Gibbons is founder and current director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the department of physiology and professor of physiology and medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. He expects to start his new position in the summer.
Gibbons’ institute at Morehouse is recognized for its science related to the cardiovascular health of minority populations. His laboratory is focused on discovering novel mediators of vascular disease. His program involves collaborative efforts to study the functional significance of genomic variation and changes in gene activities due to epigenetic modifications of DNA that do not involve a change in the genetic code as factors that enhance susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Susan Shurin will continue as NHLBI acting director until Gibbons arrives, at which point she will resume her role as deputy director. “I want to extend my deep gratitude to Susan for her strong leadership in this role,” said Collins.
Gibbons will oversee NIH’s third largest institute, with an annual budget of more than $3 billion and a staff of 917 employees. He will also direct his own NIH lab, focusing on predictive health and genomic medicine in minority populations.
“It’s an honor to join NIH and lead NHLBI,” said Gibbons. “The globally recognized research and training supported by NHLBI continues to advance biomedical knowledge in fields related to heart, lung and blood diseases. I look forward to working with the institute staff and with the many researchers supported by the institute to foster multidisciplinary approaches to improve disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment that will advance the health of all Americans.”
Gibbons has served as a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council since 2009, a position he resigned after being selected as director of NHLBI. He was also a member of the NHLBI board of extramural experts. He has received 15 NHLBI-supported grants since 1997.
Originally from Philadelphia, Gibbons earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Prior to joining Morehouse in 1999, he was a member of the faculty at Stanford University from 1990 until 1996, and Harvard Medical School from 1996 until 1999.
Gibbons has received numerous honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences; selection as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Faculty Development Fellowship awardee; selection as a Pew Biomedical Scholar by the Pew Charitable Trusts; and recognition as an established investigator of the American Heart Association.