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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

Ostell Named NCBI Director

Dr. James Ostell

Dr. James Ostell

Dr. James Ostell has been named director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Library of Medicine. He has been with NCBI since its inception in 1988 and has helped shape it into one of the most widely used biomedical resources in the world. 

NCBI, established by Congress in 1988, supports and maintains a series of biomedical databases including PubMed, GenBank, BLAST, Entrez, RefSeq, dbSNP, PubMed Central and dbGaP. It also provides researchers with access to analysis and computing tools to better understand genes and their role in health and disease. 

“We at NLM, as well as the world research community at large, are fortunate to have Dr. Jim Ostell as director of NCBI,” said NLM director Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan, who made the appointment. “He brings not only a wealth of insight and experience, but also vision, creativity and a deep commitment to public service. He holds the respect of the entire NCBI workforce as he shepherds NCBI into a model organization embracing discovery and excellence in technical development. His appointment will ensure the continued preeminence of NCBI and perpetuate its outstanding record of achievement.”

Prior to his appointment, Ostell served as chief of NCBI’s Information Engineering Branch. In that role, he was responsible for designing, developing, building and deploying production resources at NCBI.

In 2007, Ostell was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine). In 2011, he was named an NIH distinguished investigator, an honor reserved for senior investigators at the highest level of career accomplishment. 

Ostell earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Harvard University. Before joining NCBI, he developed commercial molecular biology software. 

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