News Release

Monday, June 13, 2011

Greenberg named acting director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Judith H. Greenberg, Ph.D., will become acting director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) early next month. NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., today named her to replace departing NIGMS Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., while the search continues for a permanent director.

"NIGMS will be in very able hands during this transition period with Dr. Greenberg as acting director. Not only does she have a long history of exceptional leadership at the NIGMS and NIH levels, she has already capably served a previous tour of duty in the acting director position," said Collins.

Greenberg will oversee the institute’s $2 billion budget, which primarily funds basic research in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology. NIGMS supports more than 4,500 research grants—about 10 percent of the grants funded by NIH as a whole—as well as a substantial amount of research training and programs designed to increase the diversity of the biomedical and behavioral research workforce.

"I look forward to continuing our efforts to capitalize on exciting scientific opportunities, get input on and respond to the needs of the research community, and build in other ways on the considerable progress we’ve made during Dr. Berg’s tenure," Greenberg said.

"In the months ahead, we will also be focusing on implementing our new strategic plan for research training. And we very much look forward to a major milestone in 2012, when NIGMS marks its 50th anniversary," she added.

A developmental biologist by training, Greenberg has directed the NIGMS Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology since 1988. In fiscal year 2010, the division’s budget was $566 million.

Since 1984, Greenberg has been the project officer for the Human Genetic Cell Repository, which provides cell lines and DNA samples to scientists studying genetic diseases. She has been instrumental in overseeing the evolution of the collection to anticipate and meet the needs of the human genetic research community.

She served as NIGMS acting director from May 2002 to November 2003.

Greenberg’s other leadership roles at NIGMS include overseeing the development of the institute’s strategic plan issued in 2008 and its strategic plan for research training issued earlier this year. She now chairs the implementation committee for the training strategic plan.

Greenberg has a strong interest in bioethical issues, including those related to community consultation in genetic research, and currently serves on the NIH Bioethics Task Force.

She has also advised NIH on human embryonic stem cells and gene therapy. In addition, Greenberg has served as principal leader of the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award program since 2004 and of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award program since its inception in 2007.

Prior to joining NIGMS as a program administrator in 1981, Greenberg conducted research in the intramural program of what is now NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Her focus was on cell migration and differentiation in early embryonic development.

Greenberg’s honors include a Public Health Service Special Recognition Award in 1991 and a Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award in 1999. Her leadership of the Pioneer and New Innovator Award programs was recognized with NIH Director’s Awards in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

Greenberg earned a B.S. degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. degree in biology from Boston University and a Ph.D. degree in developmental biology from Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

To arrange an interview with Greenberg, contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301 or NIGMS is a part of NIH that supports basic research to increase our understanding of life processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. For more information on the Institute’s research and training programs, see

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®