New Director Named for NIEHS

The next director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) will be Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., who is currently a senior adviser with EPA but previously worked at NIEHS for a decade. Dr. Raynard S. Kington, acting director of the National Institutes of Health, announced her appointment Wednesday. Birnbaum will start in January; she previously spent 16 years as director of EPA's Experimental Toxicology Division and was president of the Society of Toxicology in 2004-05.

NIEHS has a $730 million budget to fund biomedical research programs, prevention, and intervention efforts. It is located in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and currently is funding more than 1,240 research grants, according to the NIH announcement. "I am excited about serving as the director of NIEHS at a time when integration across disciplines is essential, from molecular biology to pharmacology and physiology to epidemiology. Complex environmental issues require individual and team efforts to address the interactions between the environment and human health," Birnbaum said in that announcement. "Chronic exposures and chronic diseases can have multiple causative factors. A broad array of scientific expertise is needed to understand such problems in order to prevent disease. I am eager to translate the work of the basic scientist and epidemiologist into improvements for the health of our citizens and communities."

Birnbaum is the author of more than 600 peer-reviewed publications who has received numerous awards during her career, including the Women in Toxicology Elsevier Mentoring Award, the Society of Toxicology Public Communications Award, EPA's Health Science Achievement Award and Diversity Leadership Award, and 12 Science and Technology Achievement Awards.

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