First Director Appointed at NIH Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

bridges vol. 35, October 2012 / Noteworthy Information

NCATS Facebook Twitter LogoOn September 14, 2012, NIH Director Francis S. Collins announced the appointment of Christopher P. Austin, M.D., as director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

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Austin, who has served as director of the NCATS Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation since the Center's creation in December 2011, will lead NCATS in its mission to catalyze the generation of innovative methods and technologies that will enhance the development, testing, and implementation of diagnostics and therapeutics across a wide range of human diseases and conditions. Currently, many costly, time-consuming bottlenecks exist in the translational pipeline. Austin will apply his experience with nearly every stage of the research pipeline to build the Center's momentum toward finding innovative ways to reduce, remove, or bypass these bottlenecks and speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices to patients.

Austin came to NIH in 2002 from Merck, where his work focused on genome-based discovery of novel targets and drugs. He began his NIH career as the senior advisor to the director for translational research at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he initiated the Knockout Mouse Project and the Molecular Libraries Roadmap Initiative. His other NIH roles have included serving as director of the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program and of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center, and as scientific director of the NIH Center for Translational Therapeutics. He holds a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and an undergraduate degree in biology from Princeton University.