In announcing the appointment, Marvin Cassman, Ph.D., director of NIGMS, said, "Dr. Shafer is
highly regarded within NIH and in the extramural community. She has performed many of the
functions of a deputy director for some time, and this appointment just confirms her crucial role in the
NIGMS supports basic biomedical research that is not targeted to specific diseases, but that
increases understanding of life processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis,
treatment, and prevention.
Dr. Shafer came to NIH in 1974 as a health scientist administrator in the Cellular and Molecular Basis
of Disease Program of NIGMS. In 1978, she became chief of the instrumentation section of the
NIGMS Physiology and Biomedical Engineering Program. Her section's mission was enlarged in
1980 to include biomedical engineering.
In 1983, Dr. Shafer joined what is now the NIH National Center for Research Resources as chief of
the Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, and in 1987 she moved to the National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, serving first as deputy director of the Division of Basic Research and
then as the division's acting director. She returned to NIGMS in 1989.
Dr. Shafer received a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a
doctoral degree in developmental biology from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Her
postdoctoral work included serving as a research associate in the department of zoology at the
University of Florida and as a lecturer at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
Throughout her government career, Dr. Shafer has had a strong interest in the instrumentation needs
of the biomedical research community and has worked to increase the number of minority scientists
engaged in biomedical research. She has also been a leader of and an active participant in a variety of
training forums for scientists and administrators at NIH; the former Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental
Health Administration; and academic institutions. Among her honors are a Department of Health and
Human Services Executive Management Award, two NIH Director's Awards, and an NIH Quality of
Work Life Award. She is a member of the Society for Developmental Biology and the American
Society for Cell Biology, where she serves as chair of the Women in Cell Biology Committee.
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