NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDCD/
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders : Biographical Sketch of NIDCD Director
James F. Battey, Jr., M.D.
Dr. Battey became acting NIDCD director on September 13, 1997. He is responsible for
the planning, implementation and evaluation of institute programs to conduct and support
biomedical and behavioral research, research training, and public health information in
He received his education at the California Institute of Technology, where he earned
his B.S. with honors in physics. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in biophysics at Stanford
University where he had residency training in pediatrics. His postdoctoral fellowship at
Harvard Medical School was under the direction of the eminent scientist, Dr. Philip Leder.
While working with Dr. Leder, he was part of a team that cloned the genes encoding the IgE
immunoglobulin constant region domains. In addition, he isolated and characterized the
human c-myc gene, a key growth regulatory nuclear proto-oncogene that contributes to
cancer formation when inappropriately expressed.
Dr. Battey has been with NIH since 1983, first on the staff of NCI where he rose from
senior staff fellow to senior investigator. In his work at the NCI-Navy Medical Oncology
Branch, he collaborated in the isolation and characterization of human N-myc and L-myc,
two additional members of the human myc gene family, important in human neoplasms. He
became interested in neuropeptides and their receptors at this time because of their dual
function as growth factors and regulatory peptides. His group isolated cDNA and genomic
clones for mammalian bombesin-like peptides, key regulators of secretion, growth and
In 1988 he moved to NINDS as chief of the molecular neuroscience section in the
Laboratory of Neurochemistry. In 1992 he returned to the NCI to head the molecular
structure section of the Laboratory of Biological Chemistry where his laboratory cloned
and characterized the genes for three subtypes of mammalian receptors for bombesin-like
peptides. His team at NCIs Laboratory of Biological Chemistry was among the first to
clone the gene encoding cdk5, a member of the cyclin-dependent kinase family, where
important proteins are involved in cell cycle control.
Dr. Battey was appointed as director of the Intramural Research Program for NIDCD in
1995 by Dr. Snow, the first NIDCD director. The PHS has honored him with its PHS
Commendation Medal in 1990 and the Outstanding Service Medal in 1994. He is author or
coauthor of over 130 research articles and is coauthor with Leonard Davis and Michael
Kuehl of Basic Methods in Molecular Biology.
Directors of NIDCD