News Release

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dr. Rajesh Ranganathan named director of NINDS Office of Translational Research

Rajesh Ranganathan, Ph.D., a leading scientific expert in translational research, has been named director of the Office of Translational Research (OTR) at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

As director of translational research, Dr. Ranganathan will lead the institute's efforts to convert basic and clinical research results into new treatments for patients more quickly and effectively. Dr. Ranganathan was formerly a senior advisor in the NIH Office of the Director where he led the effort to assess the translational medicine pipeline across the NIH and helped develop a strategy, which led to the formation of the new NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. He also helped to strengthen NIH’s relationships with private and public sector collaborators.

Prior to coming to NIH, Dr. Ranganathan was the global head of the Education Office and a director in the Program Office at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, in Cambridge, Mass., from 2005-2010. In that position he held responsibility for global postdoctoral training, scientific strategic planning, and scientific review.

"Advancing fundamental research into new ways to prevent, treat, and possibly cure neurological disorders is one of the primary goals of NINDS," said Story C. Landis, Ph.D., director of NINDS. "Dr. Ranganathan's experience with both public and private sector research will be key to fostering partnerships and collaborative relationships as NINDS continues to build its translational research program."

Dr. Ranganathan received his undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry at Amherst College, Amherst, Mass. He received his Ph.D. in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, where he worked on genetics of behavior modulation in the roundworm, C. elegans, with Nobel Laureate H. Robert Horowitz, Ph.D. Dr. Ranganathan completed postgraduate training with Linda Buck, Ph.D., also a Nobel Laureate, at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where he studied sensory mapping of neural circuits involved in mammalian pheromone regulation.

As director of NINDS OTR, Dr. Ranganathan will oversee several NINDS initiatives that support translational research. He also will play a key role in NIH-wide translational research activities. These include the NINDS Cooperative Program in Translational Research, which funds the preclinical optimization and testing of lead compounds into new drugs, NIH Roadmap and NIH Blueprint initiatives, and NIH biodefense programs.

NINDS is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease — a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.

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