NIH News Release
Office of the Director

National Institute of Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Laura Vazquez
(301) 496-5787

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Established
Acting Director Named

NIH Acting Director Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., has announced the appointment of Donna J. Dean, Ph.D., as Acting Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The NIBIB, the newest NIH Institute, was created by statute and was signed into law last December. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson approved the establishment of NIBIB on April 20, 2001.

"Dr. Dean has extraordinary scientific and administrative skills, and I appreciate her willingness to lead NIBIB while we conduct a national recruitment effort to find its first permanent Director," Dr. Kirschstein said. HHS Secretary Thompson will appoint the permanent Director.

The mission of the NIBIB is to support the fundamental research that applies the principles of engineering and imaging science to biological processes, disorders and diseases. The Institute will facilitate the transfer of this basic research to medical application. "As part of the NIBIB mission," Dr. Kirschstein explained, "the new Institute will coordinate the on-going research of the NIH Institutes and Centers and will foster the exchange of information with other Federal agencies."

Dr. Kirschstein added that, "while dedicating an Institute to medical technologies rather than to diseases, organ systems, or populations may seem novel for the NIH, it is truly a reflection of what science is today — and where science will be taking us tomorrow. "

The creation of an agenda for research and research training will be the primary activity for the NIBIB. These efforts will strengthen on-going NIH activities. In Fiscal Year 1999, predating NIBIB, NIH's Institutes and Centers awarded about $447 million for bioimaging research and about $697 million for bioengineering research. The President's budget request for FY 2002 includes $40.2 million for NIBIB. "I expect that the majority of the activity in other Institutes will continue," Dr. Kirschstein explained, "while NIBIB will support important basic and crosscutting research in the bioengineering and imaging sciences."

Dr. Dean has served in the Office of the NIH Director (OD) as a senior scientific advisor for the past three years, and played a lead role in implementing the legislative establishment of NIBIB. In addition to her involvement in various research and policy activities at NIH, she served as NIH liaison to the Congressionally-mandated Commission on the Advancement of Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science, Engineering, and Technology during the past two years. Dr. Dean's experience in the scientific and administrative management of the NIH initial peer review process spans fifteen years.

She received the A.B. degree in chemistry from Berea College in 1969, and the Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Duke University in 1974. After postdoctoral work in cell and developmental biology at Princeton University, she joined the NIH intramural research program as a research chemist in biochemical endocrinology.