National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has announced the selection of Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., as Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Dr. Lorsch is expected to join the NIH this summer.
“With his reputation of being a broad-minded and visionary thinker with strong management skills, I am confident that Jon will lead NIH’s basic science flagship to keep the U.S. at the forefront of biomedical research,” said Collins.
As NIGMS director, Dr. Lorsch will oversee the institute's $2.4 billion budget, which primarily funds basic research in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, biomedical technology, bioinformatics and computational biology.
The institute also supports a substantial amount of research training as well as programs designed to increase the diversity of the biomedical and behavioral research workforce.
Dr. Lorsch comes to the NIH from Johns Hopkins University, where he is a Professor in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry.
He earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at Stanford University.
During his postdoctoral work at Stanford, Dr. Lorsch began studying the mechanism by which molecular machines locate the beginning of the protein coding region of an RNA molecule, called “translation initiation.”
At Hopkins, his group, in close collaboration with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, developed a fully reconstituted yeast translation initiation system and used it to dissect the molecular mechanisms of each stage of the process.
Dr. Lorsch also has received grants from NIGMS, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Collins added, “I would also like to recognize the enormous contributions from Dr. Judith H. Greenberg, NIGMS’s Acting Director since July 2011. I cannot thank her enough for her tireless efforts to keep the Institute at the forefront of basic research and training.”
NIGMS supports basic research to increase our understanding of life processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.