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July 31, 2014
NIH Director’s Statement on Dr. Landis’s retirement
It is with truly mixed emotions that I announce that Story Landis, Ph.D., will be retiring in the next two months from the directorship of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Although I am happy for Story and her family, I also recognize that we are losing one of the true giants at the NIH. Not only has Story led NINDS as its Director ably since 2003 (and before that as Scientific Director), she has had a profound impact on neuroscience across the agency and the broader research community. Story also is one of my closest advisors and “go-to” leaders at the NIH. I have asked her countless times for help and she has always been willing to take on a daunting challenge, launch a new initiative, testify before Congress, or go on national television to represent the NIH. Throughout her research career, Story has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of nervous system development. She has received many honors, is an elected fellow of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. We have had a superstar among us, and she will be sorely missed.
Story hit the ground running when she arrived at the NIH in 1995, coming from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine to be the NINDS Scientific Director. She began immediately to re-engineer the Institute’s intramural research program and bring a sense of unity and common purpose to 200 neuroscience laboratories from eleven NIH Institutes and Centers. Story also was a founding co-chair of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, a highly successful effort to support trans-NIH activities in the brain sciences. In 2007, she was named Chair of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force. And just last year, in 2013, she was integral to the launch of the BRAIN Initiative, and went on to co-lead the NIH component with NIMH Director Tom Insel. This was in addition to her day job of running a $1.5 billion research portfolio at NINDS that supports research by investigators in public and private institutions, as well as by scientists in the intramural program. We have been extremely fortunate to have Story on the NIH leadership team. Very few can match her towering intellect, boundless energy, commitment to biomedical research, and scientific expertise. Please join me in congratulating Story on her stellar career at the NIH, thanking her for all of her tremendous contributions, and wishing her the best as she begins this new chapter.
Following Story’s departure and while we conduct a national search for a new Director, Walter Koroshetz, M.D., will serve as Acting Director. Formerly professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, Walter joined NINDS as Deputy Director in 2007 and has worked closely with Story in guiding the Institute’s scientific and administrative functions. He is a renowned neurologist and an experienced laboratory and clinical investigator. His research has spanned the spectrum from basic electrophysiology studies to clinical research focused on identifying treatments for stroke and Huntington’s disease. I deeply appreciate Walter’s willingness to lead NINDS in this transition period.
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health