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Tufts' Keusch Takes Reins at FIC

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Dr. Gerald T. Keusch (pronounced Kersh) has been named new associate director of NIH for international research and director of the Fogarty International Center. He succeeds Dr. Philip Schambra, who is retiring from NIH after more than 30 years, the last 10 as FIC director.


Dr. Gerald T. Keusch

Keusch, who began here Oct. 1, was most recently professor of medicine and chief of the division of geographic medicine and infectious diseases at Tufts University School of Medicine and New England Medical Center, where he established a major research and training program in infectious diseases and international health. He also served as scientific director of the health group at Harvard Institute for International Development, where he oversaw long-term projects to increase research capacity in developing countries.

As director of FIC, he will oversee an annual budget of approximately $30 million that supports research and training grants and fellowships with more than 80 nations.

"I am delighted that Dr. Keusch will be joining us," said NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus, who made the appointment. "We will gain the benefit of his many years of basic and clinical investigation into health problems such as HIV, malnutrition and diarrheal diseases that exact such a huge human toll, especially abroad."

Keusch is an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases. Among other areas, his research has focused on molecular pathogenesis of enteric infections and vaccine development and on the effects of malnutrition on immune response and host defenses.

He has conducted studies in Central America, Asia and Africa, where he directed one of the NIH-supported International Collaboration on AIDS Research projects on the epidemiology and natural history of chronic diarrhea and wasting syndrome ("slim disease").

"I am very grateful for the decades of support NIH has provided to me and my colleagues for international work, and I look forward to helping the agency advance its international scientific objectives," said Keusch. "I hope to pursue several goals such as bringing more young scientists into the field of international health and promoting interdisciplinary approaches. My own studies on bacterial and protozoal diarrhea have shown me the importance of closely linking basic and clinical research pursuits in international health. I also hope to create new partnerships among institutions involved in international health to help ensure that our research efforts translate into public health tools and interventions."

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