NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Thai Public Health Delegation Pays a Call on NIH

The four men stand in front of a blue background
Stopping for a photo during the visit are (from l) Dr. Nakorn Premsri, director, National Vaccine Institute, Thailand; Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, director general of the Department of Disease Control, Thailand; Dr. Lawrence Tabak, acting NIH director; Dr. Pongkasem Khaimook, deputy permanent secretary, Thailand Ministry of Public Health.


In fiscal year 2022, NIH funded nearly 90 U.S. research awards that included collaborations with Thai organizations, making Thailand one of the top countries in the world for joint activities as part of NIH-funded research projects. 

A delegation from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) visited NIH’s Bethesda  campus on Apr. 20. 

Dr. James Heffelfinger, Thailand country director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and CDC Deputy Country Director Todd Mercer accompanied the delegation led by Dr. Pongkasem Khaimook, Thai deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Health. 

Dr. Christine Sizemore, director of the Division of International Relations at the Fogarty International Center, presented an overview of NIH and its engagements in Thailand. NHGRI Director Dr. Eric Green joined virtually while NHGRI staff presented in person on the clinical implementation of genomics data into health systems. 

Attendees talk around a conference table
At a roundtable briefing are (from l) Tabak; Dr. Christine Sizemore, director, Division of International Relations, Fogarty International Center; Todd Mercer, Thailand deputy country director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Dr. James Heffelfinger, CDC Thailand country director.


NIAID Vaccine Research Center Acting Director Dr. Richard Koup and several of his staff discussed vaccine development as part of pandemic preparedness with the guests who included members of Thailand’s MoPH, National Vaccine Institute and National Institute of Health. The Thai delegation in turn shared an update on their TB vaccine research project. 

Dr. Lawrence Tabak, acting NIH director, also joined the meeting briefly to greet the delegation.

A separate Thai delegation led by H.R.H. Princess Dr. Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand visited the Frederick campus of the NCI Center for Cancer Research the next day. —Judith Coan-Stevens

Thai Princess Visits NCI Frederick Campus

Misteli shakes Mahidol's hand while O'Keefe looks on
NCI’s Dr. Tom Misteli (l) and Dr. Barry O’Keefe greet Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand.

Photo:  Marleen Van Den Neste

Dr. Tom Misteli, director of the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and Dr. Barry O’Keefe, director of the Molecular Targets Program and chief of the Natural Products Branch at CCR, welcomed Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand to NCI’s Frederick campus on Apr. 21. 

CCR staff briefed her on NCI’s ongoing natural products research. Chulabhorn holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and has long been interested in natural products as potential therapies. She has visited NIH periodically since the late 1980s, when she established the Chulabhorn Research Institute in honor of her father, King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday.

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