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Vol. LVIII, No. 16
August 11, 2006

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Michelson Named NHLBI Associate Director for Basic Research

Dr. Alan M. Michelson has been named associate director for basic research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He will be responsible for basic science policies, the development and integration of basic science initiatives and coordination of these policies and programs with other NIH institutes and federal agencies.

NHLBI director Dr. Elizabeth Nabel described Michelson as a recognized national leader and expert in genetics, systems biology, developmental biology and signaling pathways. According to her, his skills will be invaluable in the new position as it will require broad integrative scientific and policy knowledge encompassing NHLBI's goals in heart, lung, blood and sleep research.

Dr. Alan M. Michelson  
Michelson's research focuses on characterization of transcriptional networks involved in heart and muscle development in Drosophila. The prospect of further developing his research program was a major attraction of the job, said Michelson, but the deciding factor was the opportunity to join Nabel's staff. "It's the chance to combine the conduct of my own laboratory research with the ability to help shape science policy."

According to Michelson, his broad mandate will be to identify critical areas of contemporary research in the basic sciences and to implement innovative programs that will help the institute fulfill its mission in these areas.

"I am especially committed to the support of new initiatives that promote interdisciplinary research, with a focus on a systems biology approach to biomedical problems," he said. "The institute is in an ideal position to encourage and 'jump-start' such interactions among individuals with diverse expertise.

"My role will be to catalyze new initiatives by identifying key scientific problems, and then to focus, promote and shape discussion and collaboration among the relevant participants. I hope to facilitate the forging of novel and effective connections among different disciplines, with the ultimate goal of promoting the kinds of science that will have the greatest impact on the mission of the NHLBI."

Prior to joining NHLBI, Michelson was at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the division of genetics in the department of medicine of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. A member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, he also provided faculty leadership to the M.D./Ph.D. training program at Harvard Medical School.

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