Schor, Rutter Appointed
Key NIH Positions Officially Filled
Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, performing the duties of NIH director, recently filled two key NIH positions.
On Nov. 6, Dr. Nina F. Schor officially began her tenure as NIH deputy director for intramural research (DDIR). She had been serving as acting DDIR since Aug. 1. On Nov. 8, Dr. Joni L. Rutter was named director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). She had served as NCATS acting director since April 2021.
As DDIR, Schor leads the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) and facilitates collaboration among the 24 institutes and centers that are a part of NIH’s research community. In addition, she is responsible for selection and approval of new NIH principal investigators, human subjects research protection, research integrity, technology transfer and animal care and use for the IRP.
Schor will also spearhead efforts to train the next generation of biomedical and behavioral researchers at NIH, as well as foster a diverse and inclusive culture across the IRP.
With extensive experience as an educator, scientist, clinician and administrator, she joined NIH in January 2018 as deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); in May 2021, she also assumed the role of NINDS acting scientific director.
Prior to joining NIH, Schor worked at the University of Rochester, where for nearly 12 years she served as chair of the department of pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Before that, she spent 20 years building her academic and scientific career at the University of Pittsburgh, culminating with appointments as associate dean for medical student research and chief of the division of child neurology in the departments of pediatrics and neurology.
Schor earned her Ph.D. in medical biochemistry from Rockefeller University and her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. She completed residency and postdoctoral fellowship training in pediatrics, child neurology and molecular biochemistry and pharmacology at Harvard University Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. There she began her three-decades-long NIH-funded research efforts focused on targeted therapy for neuroblastoma, a type of pediatric cancer, and neuronal cell death caused by oxidative stress, which occurs when harmful forms of oxygen molecules damage cells.
As NCATS director, Rutter oversees a diverse portfolio of research activities focused on improving the translational process of turning scientific discoveries into health interventions.
In addition, she directs innovative research to advance diagnoses and treatments, including gene therapies, for some of the more than 10,000 known rare diseases. She leads labs that drive team science with the private sector to create and test innovations for improving drug development.
Rutter joined NCATS in 2019 as deputy director. She has championed approaches for leveraging real world data and artificial intelligence/machine learning to address public health questions rapidly.
Rutter led an initiative that used data from health care systems to calculate approximate health care costs for the millions of people with rare diseases. This and related initiatives prompted recommendations to reduce the economic and medical burdens facing this community.
Taking the NCATS helm during the most critical public health challenge of our time, Rutter also led the National Covid Cohort Collaborative from inception; it is now one of the largest collections of secure and deidentified clinical data in the United States for Covid-19 research.
Rutter spearheads efforts to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility among the translational science workforce and makes efforts to reduce health disparities through translational science approaches.
Prior to joining NCATS, she established the scientific programs within the NIH All of Us Research Program to advance precision medicine. She also served as a division director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Rutter earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from Dartmouth Medical School. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship on gene-environment interactions in breast, ovarian and melanoma cancers at the National Cancer Institute.