Dr. Dorit Zuk recently joined NIGMS as new director of its Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology (GDB). She is a molecular biologist whose research has focused on muscle development and RNA metabolism. She also has a strong background in science policy and communications.
The GDB division funds basic research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie inheritance, gene expression and development, laying the foundation for advances in diagnosing, preventing, treating and curing a wide variety of diseases.
“GDB-funded researchers pursue questions about fundamental biological processes ranging from how cells repair DNA to how microbial diversity affects human health,” said NIGMS director Dr. Jon Lorsch. “Dr. Zuk’s expertise in genetics, developmental biology and other scientific fields, knowledge of many policy areas and ability to engage effectively with scientists and other stakeholders make her an ideal choice for this key position.”
Before coming to NIGMS, Zuk was director of the NCATS Office of Policy, Communications and Strategic Alliances. She previously served as science policy advisor to the NIH deputy director for extramural research. In this role, she developed, coordinated and disseminated policies and procedures on issues such as financial conflicts of interest and the future of the biomedical research workforce.
Zuk came to NIH in 2007 as an AAAS science and technology policy fellow. In 2008-2009, she served as a program officer for science policy and Hellman fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She began her policy career after working in scientific publishing, serving as deputy editor of Cell from 2000 to 2002 and as editor of Molecular Cell from 2003 to 2007.
“I am excited to join NIGMS and the GDB division and look forward to working with the program staff and the extramural community to stimulate outstanding science that expands our knowledge of molecular mechanisms and developmental and cellular pathways,” said Zuk.
Zuk earned a B.Sc. in biology from Tel Aviv University and an M.Sc. in biology and a Ph.D. in cell biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her honors include numerous NIH Director’s Awards, most recently for her work on an Ebola drug repurposing screening project.
New appointments have been made to the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council, NICHD’s advisory body. Shown are (front, from l) Dr. Aaron Lopata, chief medical officer, maternal and child health, Health Resources and Services Administration; Dr. Constantine Stratakis, NICHD scientific director; Dr. Catherine Spong, NICHD acting director; and Lesli Rotenburg, general manager, children’s programming, marketing and communications, PBS. In back are (from l) Dr. Timothy Shriver, chair and CEO, Special Olympics; Dr. Della Hann, NICHD associate director for extramural research; Dr. Atul Butte, director, Institute for Computational Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco; Dr. DeWayne Pursley, associate professor of pediatrics, department of neonatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Richard Krugman, distinguished professor, pediatrics/child abuse, University of Colorado School of Medicine.