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NIH Record

Nathanson To Direct AIDS Research Office

Dr. Neal Nathanson has been named new director of the Office of AIDS Research. A world leader in viral pathogenesis, he has a broad background in virology, epidemiology and public health, and is a member of the NIH AIDS vaccine research committee.

Dr. Neal Nathanson

"Dr. Nathanson brings a powerful scientific intellect, great compassion, and long administrative experience to the task of leading the NIH AIDS research program at this critical time," said NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus, who made the appointment. "He will have a central role in our continuing efforts to develop an effective vaccine, improve treatments for HIV disease, and prevent transmission of HIV."

The previous OAR director, Dr. William E. Paul, returned last November to the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to continue the search for an effective HIV vaccine. Dr. Jack Whitescarver has been serving in the interim as OAR acting director.

OAR is responsible for coordinating the scientific, budgetary, legislative and policy elements of the NIH AIDS research program, as well as the promotion of collaborative research activities in domestic and international settings. OAR conducted the first comprehensive evaluation of the NIH AIDS research program. The final report, known as the "Levine Report," provided a blueprint for restructuring the program.

OAR has made HIV vaccine development a high priority. Varmus said, "The recruitment of Dr. Nathanson will further enhance our deep commitment to vaccine research."

Nathanson received both a B.S. and an M.D. degree at Harvard, followed by clinical training in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and postdoctoral training in virology at Johns Hopkins University. Early in his career, he spent 2 years at the Centers for Disease Control where he headed the polio surveillance unit. Later he joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, where he became professor and head of the division of infectious diseases in the department of epidemiology. He then moved to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, where he chaired the department of microbiology for 15 years, finally serving for 2 years as vice dean for research and research training.

In recent years, his NIH-sponsored work has included studies in the mechanisms by which HIV causes disease.

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