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Vol. LXI, No. 25
December 11, 2009

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Guttmacher to NICHD
Green Named NHGRI Director

On the front page...

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins has named Dr. Eric D. Green as the new leader of the National Human Genome Research Institute. For the past 7 years, Green has been NHGRI’s scientific director.

“Dr. Green is the perfect choice to be NHGRI director,” said Collins. “He grew up professionally with the genome era and has been on the cutting edge of genomics research for more than two decades. As NHGRI scientific director, Dr. Green has overseen spectacular growth and diversification of the institute’s intramural research program.”

Collins led NHGRI from April 1993 until August 2008. This is the first time an institute director has risen to lead the entire NIH and picked his own successor.

Upon Collins’s departure, Dr. Alan E. Gutt-macher, former NHGRI deputy director, stepped in to serve as NHGRI’s acting director. Guttmacher was recently named acting director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Until replacements are chosen, Green will serve as NHGRI’s acting deputy director and acting scientific director in addition to his duties as NHGRI director.


  Dr. Eric Green has risen from scientific director of NHGRI to director of the institute.  
  Dr. Eric Green has risen from scientific director of NHGRI to director of the institute.  
“I’m deeply honored to be selected as the NHGRI director at a time when the field has myriad exciting opportunities to advance numerous areas of biomedicine and to revolutionize medical care,” said Green, who assumed the post Dec. 1. “I’m also very fortunate to be given the opportunity to lead NHGRI while its previous director leads all of NIH—and in an administration that has tremendous support and appreciation for scientific research.”

Since the early 1990s, Green’s research program has been at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence and understand complex genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project. More recently, he established a program in comparative genomics that involves the generation and analyses of sequences from targeted genomic regions in evolutionarily diverse species. The resulting data have provided new insights about vertebrate genome organization and evolution and revealed how conserved sequences can be used to identify important functional elements in the genome.

Besides basic genomics research, his laboratory also investigates genetic contributions to human illness. His group has identified several human disease-related genes, including those implicated in certain forms of hereditary deafness, vascular disease and inherited peripheral neuropathy. Most recently, Green has led a number of efforts that utilize contemporary strategies for large-scale DNA sequencing to study genomic variations among humans, especially those contributing to common diseases. He is also involved in an NIH-based consortium that aims to understand the microbial communities that exist on human skin and how they contribute to health and disease.

“The Human Genome Project was a tremendous success and the research vision the NHGRI laid out at its completion in 2003 identified the key next steps to capitalize on the new knowledge about the human genome,” Green said. “We are now reaping the bounty of that investment, gaining unprecedented insights about how the genome works in health and illness. My job will be to push the application of genomics into all areas of biomedical research and find effective ways to encourage a wide range of researchers to translate genomic discoveries into medical advances.”

Green’s past contributions to the NIH research community include founding and directing the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center, establishing the NHGRI Social and Behavioral Research Branch, creating the NIH Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health and helping to launch innovative clinical programs such as the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program.

An author or co-author of more than 240 scientific papers, Green is a founding editor of Genome Research and co-editor of the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics. He was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2002 and into the American Association of Physicians in 2007. He is married, has two children and lives in Bethesda. NIHRecord Icon

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