News Release

Monday, September 10, 2012

NHGRI reorganized to meet expanding research mission

Multi-divisional structure enhances ability to deliver on strategic vision at NIH institute.

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health will complete a major reorganization to accommodate broad changes in its mission, Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D., NHGRI’s director, announced today. The reorganization will become effective on Oct. 1, 2012, the start of the 2013 fiscal year.

The reorganization includes dividing the institute’s Extramural Research Program into four new divisions and promoting to division status the office overseeing policy, communications, and education and the office overseeing administration and management.

NHGRI announced the reorganization during public meetings in January and February. The reorganization was approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on June 26 and was announced at the 66th meeting of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research on Sept. 10.

"This reorganization reflects the expanding scope of genomics research, as described in NHGRI’s new strategic vision published in Nature last year," Dr. Green said. "The mission of the institute has dramatically evolved from the singular focus on the Human Genome Project, for which NHGRI was created, to pursuing an exciting and broad set of opportunities for using genomics to advance medical science and improve human health. NHGRI needs an organizational structure concordant with this expanded mission."

The reorganization will include establishment of four divisions that will constitute NHGRI’s Extramural Research Program:

  • The Division of Genome Sciences will oversee basic genomics research and technology development, as well as major activities such as large-scale genome sequencing.
  • The Division of Genomic Medicine will promote the institute’s efforts to advance the application of genomics to medical science and clinical care. The institute’s Office of Population Genomics will be subsumed into this division.
  • The Division of Genomics and Society will be responsible for an expanded program related to societal issues relevant to genomics research, incorporating and extending the activities of the institute’s Ethical, Legal and Social Implications research program and working to integrate the many NHGRI-wide activities in these areas.
  • The Division of Extramural Operations will manage grants management and scientific reviews, as well as other operational aspects of the institute’s Extramural Research Program.

The divisions will be led by the following individuals, initially in an acting capacity until the appropriate approvals are obtained:

In addition, the institute’s Office of Policy, Communications and Education will become the Division of Policy, Communications and Education. Led by Laura Lyman Rodriguez, Ph.D., this division will manage a wide range of activities from policy development and legislative affairs to media relations and educational outreach for students, health care professionals and members of the public at large.

The Office of Administrative Management will become the Division of Management. Leading this division will be Executive Officer M. Janis Mullaney, M.B.A., and Deputy Executive Officer Ellen M. Rolfes, M.A. The division oversees a wide range of institute activities, such as financial management, administrative services and information technology.

Jane L. Peterson, Ph.D., will be a senior advisor to the NHGRI Office of the Director Vence L. Bonham, J.D., will be a senior advisor to the NHGRI Director on genomics and health disparities, and Karen H. Rothenberg, J.D., M.P.A., will be a senior advisor to the NHGRI Director on genomics and society.

While not changing in organizational structure, the NHGRI Division of Intramural Research will continue under its scientific director, Daniel L. Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., who joined the institute in October 2010. Dr. Kastner appointed Paul P. Liu, M.D., Ph.D., last year to be the NHGRI Deputy Scientific Director. Drs. Kastner and Liu will continue to guide all the programmatic activities of the institute’s Intramural Research Program.

NHGRI received an annual budget of roughly $512 million in fiscal year 2012, of which approximately 70 percent was distributed through research grants and contracts.

NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at

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®