| David A. Schwartz, M.D., Named New Director
of NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Bethesda, Maryland National Institutes of Health
Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today announced the appointment
of David A. Schwartz, M.D., as the new director of the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National
Toxicology Program (NTP). Dr. Schwartz is currently director of
the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division and Vice Chair
of Research in the Department of Medicine at Duke University. At
Duke, Dr. Schwartz played a principal role in developing three interdisciplinary
Centers in Environmental Health Sciences, Environmental Genomics,
and Environmental Asthma.
"Dr. Schwartz is one of the nation's outstanding researchers in environmental
health," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G.
Thompson said. "He will play a key scientific leadership
role at NIH, since environmental exposures account for a substantial
proportion of the causes of many of the common diseases in
Dr. David A. Schwartz
"We are extremely fortunate to have David join us,"
added Dr. Zerhouni. "Environmental health sciences are
playing an increasingly critical role in our understanding
of many diseases. His interdisciplinary approach, involving
human and molecular genetics, the medical sciences, and environmental
genetics and genomics, will help lead us to well conceived
strategies for preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease."
Dr. Schwartz will replace Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., who successfully
led NIEHS since 1991, and stepped down last year. Dr. Olden agreed
to remain in the position until a successor was named. Dr. Olden
will remain at NIEHS as a researcher in the intramural program.
Dr. Schwartz will join NIH on April 4, 2005.
As NIEHS director, Dr. Schwartz will oversee a $711 million budget
that funds multidisciplinary biomedical research programs, prevention,
and intervention efforts that encompass training, education, technology
transfer, and community outreach. NIEHS is located in Research Triangle
Park, near Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. NIEHS
currently supports more than 850 research grants.
"I am delighted and honored to join NIH", said Dr. Schwartz.
"My vision for NIEHS is to improve human health by supporting
integrated research and career development in environmental sciences,
environmental medicine, and environmental public health. Given recent
advances in biomedical research and computational biology, NIEHS
is well positioned to use its expertise in toxicology to understand
human biology, disease pathogenesis, and the unique distribution
of disease in different populations."
Dr. Schwartz's research focuses on the genetic and biological determinants
of environmental lung disease and host defense. These efforts have
provided new insights into the pathophysiology and biology of asbestos
induced lung disease, interstitial lung disease, environmental airway
disease, and innate immunity. This research has identified endotoxin
or lipopolysaccharide as an important cause of airway disease among
those exposed to organic dusts, and that a specific mutation in
the Toll-4 gene is associated with a diminished airway response
to inhaled LPS in humans. Recent work is focusing on the genes that
regulate the innate immune response in humans, genes involved in
the fibroproliferative response in the lung, and the genetic regulation
of environmental asthma.
Dr. Schwartz received his B.A. Degree in Biology from the University
of Rochester in 1975, his M.D. from the University of California-San
Diego in 1979, and his M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health
Dr. Schwartz is a co-author of more than 150 research papers, 38
book chapters, and a textbook. He has served on numerous study sections,
is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and
the Association of the American Physicians, and in 2003, received
the American Thoracic Society Scientific Achievement Award.
NIEHS has supported Dr. Schwartz's research since 1990.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission
of NIEHS is to reduce the burden of human illness and dysfunction
from environmental causes by understanding each of these elements
and how they interrelate. More information about NIEHS can be found
The National Toxicology Program serves the federal regulatory
health agencies with its findings and the publication of the federal
Report on Carcinogens, on behalf of the Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS).
The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes
and Centers and investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for
both common and rare diseases. The Office of the Director is the
central office at NIH, and is responsible for setting policy for
NIH and for planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and
activities of all the NIH components. The NIH is a component of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.