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NIH Record

NIAID's Stephen Straus To Direct NCCAM

Dr. Stephen E. Straus was named Oct. 6 as the first director for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. An internationally recognized expert in clinical research and clinical trials, he has served since 1991 as chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Straus has basic and clinical research experience related to many diseases for which there are alternative remedies, including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Lyme disease, AIDS/HIV, chronic hepatitis B virus and genital herpes infections and chronic post-herpetic pain. He is widely regarded for his studies involving patients with CFS, which began in 1979, even before the syndrome was named.

Dr. Stephen E. Straus

These studies have extended from efforts to identify viral etiologies in the syndrome to his more recent immunologic, neuroendocrine and neuropsychologic studies of the disorder. He also has a strong background in investigations of the molecular biology, pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of human viral infections.

"The American public is increasingly interested in complementary and alternative therapies, and it is critical that NIH put its scientific expertise to work to help determine which therapies are safe and effective," said NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus. "The appointment of Dr. Straus, with his experience in alternative therapies and his expertise in clinical evidence, will result in significant expansion of clinical research in this field. He brings to this position a clear sense of leadership, strong management and organizational expertise, and superb communications skills."

Straus' scientific training began at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where in 1968 he obtained his bachelor of science degree in life sciences. In 1972, he received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. After his internship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Straus' first NIH experience began in 1973, when he accepted a research associate position in NIAID's Laboratory of the Biology of Viruses. Returning to Barnes for his residency, he earned a fellowship in infectious diseases at Washington University, which he completed before he returned to NIAID as a senior investigator.

Throughout his career, Straus has received many honors and much recognition for his research contributions. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and edited several books.

NCCAM — formerly called the Office of Alternative Medicine — was established by law on Oct. 21, 1998, and was appropriated $50 million in FY 1999.

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