National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has announced the selection of Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He has served as Acting Director of the NINDS since October, 2014.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Koroshetz has accepted the enormous responsibility of being the NINDS Director,” said Dr. Collins. “His deep grounding in clinical neurology and basic neuroscience research makes him the ideal candidate to lead NINDS into the future and to fulfill the Institute’s mission to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.”
In announcing the appointment, Dr. Collins recognized Dr. Koroshetz’ role in the creation of the StrokeNet, a national clinical trial network for research in stroke treatment, prevention, and recovery as well as his role as point person for traumatic brain injury research at the NIH, and Co-founder of the NIH-Uniformed Services Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (TBI research center).
Dr. Koroshetz serves as co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. He was instrumental in establishing the NIH Office of Emergency Research. He is the NINDS representative to the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee; Chair of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and the NIH Pain Consortium, and Co-chair of the Common Fund Undiagnosed Disease program.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead the NINDS when there is such an enormous potential for unlocking the mysteries of brain function. Since the President’s announcement of the BRAIN Initiative, all eyes have been on the efforts to uncover the circuits and connections in the brain that make us who we are. NINDS grantees are passionate about understanding how the brain develops and functions to enable human behavior, and learning how to treat disabling disorders,” said Dr. Koroshetz. “I could not ask for a more professional and dedicated staff to help me along this journey, as well as the support of tremendous partnerships with patient and professional advocacy groups.”
As the new Director of the NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz will oversee an annual budget of $1.6 billion and 1141 scientists, physician-scientists, and research administrators. The Institute supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in its intramural laboratories and branches in Bethesda, Maryland. Since 1950, the Institute has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts in brain research, with studies in areas ranging from the structure and function of single brain cells to research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and, most recently, the translational research that is helping to bridge the gap.
Before coming to NIH as the NINDS Deputy Director in 2007, Dr. Koroshetz was a Harvard Professor of Neurology, Vice Chair of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care, and a member of the Huntington’s disease unit. He was also a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH from 1990 until 2007.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his M.D. from the University of Chicago. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and in both internal medicine and neurology at MGH, after which he did postdoctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department.