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Vol. LXII, No. 18
September 3, 2010

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August Appointments: Collins Chooses Two Deputies
Tabak Named Principal Deputy Director, Rockey In as Deputy for Extramural Research

On the front page...

Bldg. 1 has finally collared for keeps the services of NIDCR director Dr. Lawrence Tabak as NIH principal deputy director, a title he once held with “acting” in front of it. Another familiar face, Dr. Sally Rockey, also accepted a full deputy directorship, becoming deputy director for extramural research. She had held the post on an acting basis since October 2008.

On Aug. 19, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins announced that Tabak would assume his new role on Aug. 23. Tabak succeeds Dr. Raynard Kington, who left last month to assume the presidency of Iowa’s Grinnell College. Rockey’s new post was effective Aug. 15.

“I am delighted to have Dr. Tabak as deputy director during this critical time for biomedical research,” said Collins. “His outstanding service in numerous activities across the NIH and combination of skills and experience will help the NIH move forward in these revolutionary times for the biomedical sciences.”


  New NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak  
  New NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak  

Tabak has been director of NIDCR since September 2000. He came to NIH from the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester, where he had been senior associate dean for research, director of the Center for Oral Biology, professor of dentistry and professor of biochemistry and biophysics. So he already had experience in wearing multiple hats.

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work more closely with Dr. Collins and his leadership team to contribute to NIH’s continued success in supporting biomedical research, career development and training,” said Tabak. “While I will surely miss my day-to-day interactions with my colleagues at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and the members of the dental, oral and craniofacial research community, it will be a great privilege to serve NIH in this new way.”

In addition to his versatility as an administrator, Tabak has never abandoned his own research on the biosynthesis and function of mucin-glycoproteins. He has long maintained an active research lab within NIDDK.

Dr. Sally Rockey is NIH’s new deputy director for extramural research.  
Dr. Sally Rockey is NIH’s new deputy director for extramural research.  

Tabak was acting principal deputy NIH director from November 2008 to August 2009, and recently served as acting director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives.

For the 3 years before taking on the role of acting NIH deputy director for extramural research, Rockey had served as deputy director of the Office of Extramural Research.

In a note to top staff on Aug. 10, Collins summarized Rockey’s professional accomplishments: “An insect physiologist by training, Sally has been a leader in Federal Assistance and research administration for almost 25 years. Before joining the NIH, she led the U.S. Department of Agriculture Extramural Competitive Research Program at the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. While in that position she was called on because of her strong executive skills to serve as the chief information officer as well.

  Dr. Isabel Garcia has taken the acting directorship at NIDCR.
  Dr. Isabel Garcia has taken the acting directorship at NIDCR.

“Throughout her federal career, Sally has been a leader in research ethics, particularly in the area of conflicts of interest and research misconduct management, and she continues to serve as the NIH agency extramural research integrity officer. She chairs or is an active member of numerous federal committees related to science and research. She also collaborates closely with the academic, scientific and business communities. She has strong leadership and management qualities, is a true problem-solver and maintains productive relationships among the NIH extramural programs, our stakeholders and the grantee community.”

Collins said Rockey “demonstrated her outstanding leadership during the NIH’s implementation of ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act]. I am delighted that she will continue to serve as DDER and lead OER.”

Dr. Isabel Garcia, Tabak’s deputy director at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, will now lead NIDCR on an acting basis.

Garcia, who holds the rank of rear admiral in the Public Health Service, joined NIDCR in 1995 as a special assistant for science transfer from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where she was a health scientist administrator. She later directed NIDCR’s Office of Science Policy and Analysis before being appointed deputy director of the institute. NIHRecord Icon

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