Tag: NIGMS Staff News

Richard Aragon to Direct Division of Data Integration, Modeling, and Analytics

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Headshot of Dr. Richard Aragon.

I’m pleased to announce that Richard Aragon is the new director of the Institute’s Division of Data Integration, Modeling, and Analytics (DIMA). He has been acting director of DIMA since January 2020.

Richard has ably led NIGMS’ strategic planning and evaluation activities and has served as our Congressional liaison since joining us in 2014 as chief of what was then our Office of Program Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation. In this role, he has evolved and expanded our capabilities to include predictive analytics, budget and fiscal modeling, and the use of artificial intelligence to enhance business processes. As we prepare to the launch the NIGMS 2021-2025 Strategic Plan this spring, Richard’s extensive expertise in spearheading these activities makes him the ideal candidate to lead this critical component of the Institute.

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Dorothy Beckett to Direct BBCB Division

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Headshot of Dr. Dorothy Beckett.

I’m pleased to announce that Dorothy Beckett will join NIGMS on January 19 as the new director of our Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences (BBCB). Dorothy is a molecular biophysicist with extensive expertise in the field. She is a leader in the scientific community and a proponent of expanding opportunities for women and underrepresented groups in science.

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Dorit Zuk Named NIGMS Acting Deputy Director

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Headshot of Dr. Dorit Zuk.

I’m pleased to tell you that Dorit Zuk has agreed to serve as acting deputy director of NIGMS upon Judith Greenberg’s retirement at the end of the month.

Dorit has served in several leadership roles at both NIGMS and NIH. She’s been the director of our Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (GMCDB) since early 2016. Before joining NIGMS, she was director of the former Office of Policy, Communications and Strategic Alliances at NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Prior to that, she was the science policy advisor to the NIH deputy director for extramural research.

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NIGMS Deputy Director Judith Greenberg to Retire

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Headshot of Dr. Judith Greenberg.

I’d like to share with you the bittersweet news that our deputy director, Judith H. Greenberg, is retiring at the end of the month after 45 years of service to NIH, most of which was spent right here at NIGMS. Judith has been a vital part of the NIGMS leadership team and an invaluable advisor to me since I came on board as NIGMS director.

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Erica Brown Named Associate Director for Extramural Activities

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Headshot of Dr. Erica Brown.

I’m pleased to announce that Erica Brown has been named NIGMS associate director for extramural activities and director of our Division of Extramural Activities (DEA). In this role, Erica oversees the receipt, referral, review, and fiscal management of the Institute’s grants. Additionally, she serves as executive secretary of our advisory council and advises senior staff on the planning, development, and administration of Institute grant activities.

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Susan Gregurick to Lead Data Science Activities at NIH

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Headshot of Susan Gregurick.

It’s with profoundly mixed emotions that I tell you that Susan Gregurick has been named the NIH associate director for data science and director of the Office of Data Science Strategy. This new position will allow her to play a key role in shaping data science activities across NIH.

Susan has provided extraordinary leadership to our Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology, and Computational Biosciences (BBCB) for the past 6 years and has been an essential member of the Institute’s senior staff. I’m confident that she’ll bring the same level of enthusiasm, professionalism, judgment, and keen intellect to her new office as she did here at NIGMS. The appointment becomes official on September 15, although Susan will remain here at NIGMS through the end of the month. Deputy Director Judith Greenberg will serve as acting director of BBCB while we search for a permanent replacement.

For more on this appointment, see the statement from NIH Director Francis Collins. Please join me in wishing Susan the best in the next phase of her career. NIGMS’ loss is certainly NIH’s gain!

Change in NIGMS Phone System

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UPDATE: If you are looking for the program director of a specific NIGMS research portfolio, please see our Contacts by Research Area page.

Like most organizations, NIGMS has been modernizing many of its systems. One recent change is our phone system. To increase efficiency and to enable our support staff to handle higher-level responsibilities, we want you to know that the best way to now reach a program director or scientific review administrator is to send him or her an email. If you want the person to call you back, please provide your contact information and grant or application number. If you don’t know the email address of the NIGMS staff member, it can be found easily by entering the name in our Staff Directory. This directory also provides direct phone numbers of each staff member where you can leave a voicemail message.

The NIGMS website provides information that you may find helpful in determining the staff member you want to contact. If you are still uncertain about whom to contact, you may call the main NIGMS phone number (301-496-7301) and leave a message.

NIGMS’ program staff are, as always, interested in hearing from you, answering your questions, and addressing your concerns.

Ming Lei to Direct Research Capacity Building Division

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Headshot of Dr. Ming Lei

I’m pleased to announce that Ming Lei will join NIGMS later this month as the new director of our Division for Research Capacity Building. Ming is a molecular geneticist with extensive experience overseeing fellowship, career development, and training and education grant programs.Ming is currently deputy director of the Center for Cancer Training and chief of the Cancer Training Branch at the National Cancer Institute, which he joined in 2008 as a program director. His experience before that includes leading the Genes and Genome Cluster in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the National Science Foundation, serving as an associate professor of microbiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and working as a research scientist in the Division of Biotechnology at the Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri.

Ming’s expertise in managing far-reaching and complex programs, and his ability to effectively engage with scientists and other stakeholders, make him an ideal choice for this key position and a valuable addition to our senior leadership team.

Please join me in welcoming him to NIGMS.

For more about Ming, see our news announcement.

Remembering Longtime CBB Division Director Catherine Lewis

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Dr. Catherine D. Lewis

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the passing of Catherine D. Lewis, former director of the NIGMS Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics. As previously posted, Cathy retired in January after more than 30 years of service at NIH. Although already on the horizon, her plans for retirement were accelerated by a diagnosis of cancer and the need to focus her energies on trying to beat it. Unfortunately, she died just six months later, on July 12.

As noted already, Cathy made many contributions to the scientific community and over a lifetime made many friends. She regularly participated in meetings of the American Society for Cell Biology and the Biophysical Society, but also in more intimate gatherings of scientists such as FASEB and Gordon Research Conferences. She was always interested to hear about research advances and willing to provide guidance about NIH processes. She was equally comfortable engaging non-scientific audiences about the research supported by her division.

Cathy personally managed a robust grant portfolio of cutting-edge research in the fields of nanoscience and single molecule methods. Earlier in her NIGMS career, she managed grants in genetics and developmental biology, as well as grants in structural biology that led to the first crystal structures of the ribosome. She also helped oversee the Institute’s initiatives aimed at advancing structural genomics, improving methods for cellular imaging, creating a library of cell images and, most recently, supporting resources for cryo-EM and cryo-EM tomography.

Within NIH, Cathy was known for her work ethic and her ability to make people feel at ease. She managed a division responsible for more than 1,300 grants, and did so with grace, patience and a sunny smile.