Chris A. Kaiser Selected as NIGMS Director

Photo of Chris Kaiser, Ph.D.NIH Director Francis Collins today announced his selection of Chris A. Kaiser as the new director of NIGMS. Dr. Kaiser expects to begin his appointment here in the spring of 2012. We are delighted by this news, and we appreciate the efforts of the NIH search committee in identifying and vetting candidates for the position.

A leading cell biologist, Dr. Kaiser has been head of the Department of Biology at MIT since 2004. He joined the MIT faculty in 1991 and became a full professor in 2002.

Dr. Kaiser is not new to the NIGMS community—he has been an NIGMS grantee since 1992 and has served on several NIH review committees. His research uses yeast to study the basic mechanisms of protein folding and intracellular transport, particularly how secreted and other proteins form disulfide bonds. He started this work as a graduate student at MIT in David Botstein’s lab, then expanded on it during a postdoctoral fellowship with Randy Schekman at the University of California, Berkeley. He plans to continue his research at NIH.

In the NIH news release on his selection, Dr. Kaiser said, “In taking this position, I feel a compelling call to duty for national service and to be an advocate for the basic research enterprise.”

We welcome his leadership and vision, and we very much look forward to working with him.

4 comments on “Chris A. Kaiser Selected as NIGMS Director

  1. I am delighted that Chris has been selected to be the next NIGMS director. He is an outstanding scientist and a true believer in the power of fundamental research to drive important advances in biomedicine. I am confident that he will be an outstanding director of NIGMS and an important addition to the NIH leadership team. The selection of Chris is also a remarkable small world moment for me; I have known Chris for almost 40 years (yikes) since we went to junior high school together.

  2. Announcements about the NIGMS director-designate have appeared in various outlets, including Nature, Science and Chemical & Engineering News. Here’s part of Dr. Kaiser’s Q&A with Nature:

    Nature: What’s your take home message for NIGMS extramural investigators?

    Chris Kaiser: We’re going to try to figure out how to deploy the money as wisely as possible. But I think communication with the grantees and grant applicants is really important. This is obviously something that Jeremy Berg did a fantastic job at. And I would like to build on that and try to make the decisions and operations of NIGMS as transparent to the stakeholders as possible. [For instance] I would like to regularly attend society meetings so I have a chance to talk to people.

  3. It’s a testament to the Feedback Loop’s effectiveness in getting the word out in our community that so many readers have already written to me offline with welcoming notes. I really appreciate their expressions of confidence in me and their encouragement. This speaks volumes about the strength and collegiality of the community of NIGMS grantees. The Feedback Loop is now more important than ever, and I look forward to contributing to it in the future, especially continuing the practice of posting explanations of NIGMS funding decisions.

  4. On April 23, 2012, Dr. Kaiser withdrew his candidacy for personal reasons. Dr. Greenberg will continue serving as acting director of NIGMS while a new search for a permanent director takes place.

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