Dr. Janine Austin Clayton has been named director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health and NIH associate director of research on women’s health. She served as ORWH acting director since the retirement of Dr. Vivian Pinn in August 2011. Prior to that, Clayton served for 3 years as ORWH deputy director. She currently co-chairs the NIH working group on women in biomedical careers.
“Dr. Clayton’s demonstrated leadership over the past year, her scientific acumen and commitment to this important area of research made her my first choice for the position. We are so fortunate that she will join the OD leadership team. I applaud her dedication in developing a comprehensive research agenda to inform sex-based personalized medicine,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, who announced the appointment.
“I am delighted to assume the position of ORWH director at such an extraordinary time for women’s health and sex differences research at NIH,” said Clayton. “There are many opportunities to enhance the value and extend the implications of scientific investigation by incorporating a sex and gender perspective in study design, conduct and analysis. Any research focused on informing human biology has the potential to explore sex differences by comparing and contrasting findings in male and female cells, tissues, organs and organisms. Without such comparisons, we run the risk of making erroneous conclusions and failing to uncover sex differences in toxicity or efficacy, which can have far-reaching ramifications.”
Under Clayton’s leadership, in collaboration with NIH institutes and centers, ORWH will seek to expand the scope of studies focused on women’s health and sex differences research and to maximize the value of these research investments.
“The challenges science faces today require collaborative strategies and thoughtful, rigorously applied, data-driven approaches that will amplify the value of scientific endeavors, particularly where women’s health and sex differences research is concerned. These investments offer great potential for improved health for all,” said Clayton.
Prior to joining ORWH, Clayton was deputy clinical director of the National Eye Institute. A board-certified ophthalmologist, she is interested in autoimmune ocular diseases, specifically ocular surface disease. She discovered a novel form of disease associated with premature ovarian insufficiency that affects young women. Since 1996, she has been an attending physician and a clinical investigator in cornea and uveitis at NEI. Her clinical research has ranged from randomized controlled trials of novel therapies for immune-mediated ocular diseases to studies on the development of digital imaging techniques for the anterior segment. She is the author of more than 80 scientific publications, journal articles and book chapters.
Clayton is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. She currently serves on the FDA advisory panel for ophthalmic devices; the medical and scientific advisory board of Tissue Banks International; and the editorial board of The Ocular Surface. She was selected as a Silver Fellow by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and is a recipient of the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
A native Washingtonian, Clayton received her undergraduate degree with honors from Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine. She completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Medical College of Virginia and fellowship training in cornea and external disease at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and in uveitis and ocular immunology at NEI.