NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Biden Nominates Bertagnolli as Next NIH Director

Bertagnolli in a brown jacket with American flag in background
Dr. Monica Bertagnolli

Photo:  NCI

President Biden announced his intent on May 15 to nominate NCI Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as director of the National Institutes of Health. A world-renowned surgical oncologist, cancer researcher, educator and physician-leader, Bertagnolli began working as the 16th director—and first woman to serve as director—of the National Cancer Institute in October 2022.

“Dr. Bertagnolli has spent her career pioneering scientific discovery and pushing the boundaries of what is possible to improve cancer prevention and treatment for patients, and ensuring that patients in every community have access to quality care,” Biden said in a statement. “As [NCI director], Dr. Bertagnolli has advanced my Cancer Moonshot to end cancer as we know it. She has brought together partners and resources from different sectors to launch groundbreaking efforts in cancer prevention and early detection, a national navigation program for childhood cancers, and additional programs to bring clinical trials to more Americans. [She] is a world-class physician-scientist whose vision and leadership will ensure NIH continues to be an engine of innovation to improve the health of the American people.”

Before coming to NCI, Bertagnolli had served as the Richard E. Wilson professor of surgery in the field of surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment and Sarcoma Centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a past president and chair of the board of directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and has served on the board of directors of the American Cancer Society and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. 

Bertagnolli grew up on a ranch in southwestern Wyoming, the daughter of first-generation Italian and French Basque immigrants. She graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor of science in engineering degree and attended medical school at the University of Utah. She trained in surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and was a research fellow in tumor immunology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Read more about Bertagnolli in the May 12, 2023 issue of the Record: Enthused to Lead NCI, Bertagnolli Has a Plan.

Appointment to the position of NIH director requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate. No timeline had been set for the confirmation process.  


The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)