Tumminia Named NEI Deputy Director
Dr. Santa Tumminia was appointed deputy director of the National Eye Institute on Nov. 12.
“Dr. Tumminia brings to the deputy post a deep understanding of vision research and a wealth of experience managing science programs at the national level,” said NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving. “The NEI has already benefitted greatly from her steadfast dedication to supporting the highest quality science.”
Tumminia earned her Ph.D. in biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1991, she joined NEI as a senior staff fellow in the Laboratory of Mechanisms of Ocular Diseases. She then spent 5 years with the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the largest private funding source for retinal degeneration research, where she oversaw a $12 million vision research grant portfolio.
After returning to NIH in 2003, she served as a special assistant to the NEI director and was promoted in 2013 to associate director for science strategic initiatives and programs. She provides ongoing oversight of key NEI biomedical initiatives such as eyeGENE, a pioneering public-private genomic medicine initiative that ties advances in ophthalmic disease gene identification and disease phenotype to clinical care.
A long-time mentor to NIH staff in administrative, scientific and clinical careers, Tumminia was honored with an NIH Director’s Award for mentorship in 2018. She also served on numerous trans-NIH committees, including the NIH-wide strategic plan working group.