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NIH Names Dr. Gary H. Gibbons Director of the NHLBI

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National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins M.D., Ph.D., has announced the selection of Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., as the new director of the NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Dr. Gibbons is the founder and current director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the Department of Physiology, and professor of physiology and medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. He expects to start his new position in the summer of 2012.

Gibbons' institute at Morehouse is recognized for its discovery science related to cardiovascular health of minority populations. His laboratory is focused on discovering novel mediators of vascular disease.

His program involves collaborative efforts to study the functional significance of genomic variation and changes in gene activities due to 'epigenetic' modifications of DNA that do not involve a change in the genetic code, as factors that enhance the susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.

"It is my sincere pleasure to welcome Dr. Gibbons to the NIH team," said Collins. His extraordinary scientific skills, tremendous energy and bold vision will be an asset to NHLBI and NIH." Susan B. Shurin, M.D., will continue as acting director of NHLBI until Gibbons joins, at which point she will resume her role as the institute's deputy director.

"I want to extend my deep gratitude to Susan for her strong leadership in this role," added Collins.

Gibbons will oversee the third largest institute at the NIH, with an annual budget of more than $3 billion and a staff of 917 federal employees. Gibbons will also direct his own lab at the NIH, focusing on predictive health and genomic medicine in minority populations.

The NHLBI provides global leadership for research, training, and education programs to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.

"It's an honor to join the NIH and lead the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute," said Gibbons. "The globally recognized research and training supported by the NHLBI continues to advance biomedical knowledge in fields related to heart, lung, and blood diseases. I look forward to working with the institute staff and with the many researchers supported by the Institute to foster multidisciplinary approaches to improve disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment that will advance the health of all Americans."

Gibbons has served as a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) since 2009, a position he resigned after being selected to be director of the NHLBI.

He was also a member of the NHLBI Board of Extramural Experts, a working group of the NHLBAC. Gibbons has received 15 NHLBI-supported grants since 1997.

Under his leadership of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, Gibbons directed NIH-supported research in the fields of vascular biology, genomic medicine, and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases.

During his tenure, the Cardiovascular Research Institute emerged as a center of excellence, leading the way in discoveries related to the cardiovascular health of minority populations.

Gibbons has received several patents for innovations derived from his research in the fields of vascular biology and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases.

Gibbons, who is originally from Philadelphia, earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School in Boston.

He completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Prior to joining the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1999, Dr. Gibbons was a member of the faculty at Stanford University, in Stanford, Calif., from 1990 until 1996, and Harvard Medical School from 1996 until 1999.

Throughout his career, Gibbons has received numerous honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences; selection as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Faculty Development Fellowship awardee; selection as a Pew Biomedical Scholar by the Pew Charitable Trusts; and recognition as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association (AHA).

Dr. Gibbons also serves on several editorial boards for journals in cardiovascular medicine, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the AHA.