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Sep 11, 2012

NHGRI Reorganizes with Genomics Research Expansion in Mind

  • NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) says a reorganization that takes effect Oct. 1 will better enable it to accommodate broad changes in its mission stemming from the expanding scope of genomics research.

    NHGRI will carry out a key component of a strategic plan released last year when it divides its Extramural Research Program into four new divisions, and elevates to division status its offices for administration and management; and for policy, communications, and education.

    Laura Lyman Rodriguez, Ph.D., will head the new Division of Policy, Communications and Education; while Executive Officer M. Janis Mullaney will lead the new Division of Management with Ellen M. Rolfes as deputy executive officer.

    The Extramural Research Program will be divided into divisions of:

    • Genome Sciences, which will oversee basic genomics research and technology development, as well as large-scale genome sequencing and other major activities. Jeffery A. Schloss, Ph.D., has been named director and Peter J. Good, Ph.D., deputy director.
    • Genomic Medicine, which will promote efforts to advance the application of genomics to medical science and clinical care. The division will also incorporate NHGRI’s current Office of Population Genomics. Teri A. Manolio, MD, Ph.D., will serve as director, and Bradley A. Ozenberger, Ph.D., deputy director.
    • Genomics and Society, which will oversee an expanded program related to societal issues relevant to genomics research. The division will incorporate and extend the activities of NHGRI’s Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications research program, and work to integrate various activities in these areas across the institute. Bettie J. Graham, Ph.D., is director, and Rudy O. Pozzatti, Ph.D., deputy director.
    • Extramural Operations, which will manage grants management and scientific reviews, and other operational aspects of NHGRI’s current Extramural Research Program. The institute’s deputy director Mark Guyer, Ph.D. will lead the division on an acting basis pending completion of a search for a permanent director.

    Directors and deputies will all serve in an acting capacity until the appointments are formally approved.

    The reorganizational changes begin with the Oct. 1 start of the 2013 federal fiscal year, and come more than a year after NHGRI released a strategic plan, Charting a Course for Genomic Medicine from Base Pairs to Bedside. It envisioned the institute focusing on five research domains: understanding the structure of genomes; understanding the biology of genomes; understanding the biology of disease; advancing the science of medicine; and improving the effectiveness of healthcare. The plan’s release was pegged to the 10th anniversary of the first analysis of the human genome sequence.

    "The mission of the institute has dramatically evolved from the singular focus on the Human Genome Project, for which NHGRI was created, to pursuing an exciting and broad set of opportunities for using genomics to advance medical science and improve human health. NHGRI needs an organizational structure concordant with this expanded mission," NHGRI Director Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D, said in a statement.

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