Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D.

Deputy Director for Extramural Research, October 30, 2003 - October 31, 2008

Dr. Ruiz Bravo began her tenure as NIH deputy director for extramural research on November 16, 2003, after her appointment was announced by the Director of NIH on October 30, 2003. She oversees the NIH external grants and awards program—a portfolio totaling approximately 83% of the NIH budget—providing trans-NIH coordination and directing the development of policies, standards, guidelines, and staff training for extramural research.

A biologist by training, Dr. Ruiz Bravo earned her Ph.D. degree in 1983 from Yale University. Her postdoctoral tour included completion of an NSRA Fellowship that began at the Johns Hopkins University and ended at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology. She then held a research faculty position at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center and a tenure-track faculty position at Baylor College of Medicine.

In 1990, Dr. Ruiz Bravo joined the NIH as a scientific review administrator in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Office of Review Activities. During the years that followed, she actively pursued and was appointed to numerous special assignments. Some of these included: acting deputy director, NIGMS Division of Minority Opportunities in Research; special assistant, NIGMS Office of Extramural Activities; and, scientific review administrator at the National Center for Human Genome Research. She was concurrently a program director in the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology, where she managed an active portfolio of grants in the field of transcriptional mechanisms.

In early 1997, Dr. Ruiz Bravo transferred her scientific, managerial, and administrative expertise to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where she served as deputy director and then acting director for the Division of Cancer Biology.

She returned to the NIGMS in late 1999 as deputy associate director for extramural activities, and in 2000 was appointed associate director for extramural activities. In this role, Dr. Ruiz Bravo oversaw the $1.7 billion (FY2003) NIGMS budget for research, and research training grant programs supporting basic biomedicine. She was a principal advisor to the NIGMS director, providing counsel for strategic planning, development, and management of Institute grant activities.

Involved in leadership activities trans-NIH, Dr. Ruiz Bravo currently chairs the Extramural Program Management Committee, co-chairs the Extramural Activities Working Group, and is a member of the Information Technology Working Group. The Working Groups are subcommittees of the NIH Director’s Steering Committee, the NIH’s governance body. Formerly, she participated in a variety of service committees, chaired the Office of Research Services Advisory Committee, was the chair and co-founder of the Extramural Information Systems Advisory Group at NCI and chaired the Staff Training in Extramural Programs Committee. In addition to her trans-NIH leadership activities, Dr. Ruiz Bravo co-chairs the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Subcommittee on Research Business Models, a trans-agency group tasked with facilitating research by harmonizing policies and regulations across the government. She is a former member of the NSTC’s Working Group on Aligning Mechanisms with Scientific Opportunity. Dr. Ruiz Bravo is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Cell Biology, and the Society for Developmental Biology.

This page last reviewed on August 7, 2015