NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NCI/      

National Cancer Institute: Biographical Sketch of NCI Director

Richard D. Klausner, M.D.

Dr. Klausner was born in New York City on December 22, 1951. He became the 11th director of NCI on August 1, 1995.

Trained as an internist, he combined patient care and basic research in the early days of his career. He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1973 and his M.D. degree from Duke Medical School in 1976. He was a fellow in internal medicine at Duke Medical Center in 1976-1977.

From 1979 to 1981, following additional training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Klausner began his research career at NIH in NCI’s Laboratory of Mathematical Biology. He worked at NIADDK from 1981 to 1984, when he became chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch at NICHD.

He is one of the most frequently cited scientists in the world in cellular and molecular biology. His work elucidated general and novel mechanisms for the regulation of complex genetic networks in human cells. He is a renowned leader in the study of iron metabolism and hematochroma-tosis, a disease of impaired regulation of iron uptake by body tissues, which is associated with subsequent development of cirrhosis and liver cancer. He also illuminated the structure and function of the T-cell antigen receptor, the central molecule of the immune system.

Dr. Klausner is an expert on how certain cell surface receptors enable antigens to activate the immune response, and he has contributed to an understanding of the molecular basis for how the cell recognized abnormal or incompletely synthesized antigens, and retrieves and eliminates them. His studies illuminated novel pathways by which molecules traffic and speak to each other within the cell. Most recently, he has collaborated with NCI scientists to study the VHL gene, a member of a new class of tumor suppressor genes, which play a key role in the development of human kidney cancer.

His research has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation of Clinical Research and the William Damashek Prize for major discoveries in hematology. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1993 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995. He received the 1997-1998 Dickson Prize in Medicine, created to honor the nation’s outstanding leaders in science and medicine, and the 1998 Raymond Bourgine Award, recognizing exceptional scientific achievements.

Dr. Klausner has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals including Chemistry and Biology, Analytical Chemistry, New Biologist, Cell, the Annual Review of Cell Biology, and the Journal of Cell Biology. He is a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and has been chairman of the National Science Education Standards Projects of the National Academy of Science, overseeing the first comprehensive process to provide a vision of scientific literacy in the American educational system and the criteria required to achieve it. He is the author of a textbook of medical immunology and of a widely use textbook of internal medicine.

Directors of NCI

NameDate of Birth Dates of Office
Carl VoegtlinJuly 18, 1879Jan. 13, 1938July 31, 1943
Roscoe Roy SpencerJuly 28, 1988Aug. 1, 1943July 1, 1947
Leonard Andrew ScheeleJuly 25, 1907July 1, 1947Apr. 6, 1948
John Roderick HellerFeb. 27, 1905May 15, 1948July 1, 1960
Kenneth Millo EndicottJune 6, 1916July 1, 1960Nov. 10, 1969
Carl Gwin BakerNov. 27, 1920July 13, 1970May 5, 1972
Frank Joseph Rauscher, Jr.May 24, 1931May 5, 1972Nov. 1, 1976
Arthur Canfield UptonFeb. 27, 1923July 29, 1977Dec. 31, 1980
Vincent T. DeVita, Jr.Mar. 7, 1935July 9, 1980Sept. 1, 1988
Samuel BroderFeb. 24, 1945Dec. 22, 1988Apr. 1, 1995
Richard D. KlausnerDec. 22, 1951Aug. 1, 1995------


National Institutes of Health