News Release

Monday, September 20, 2010

NIGMS director Jeremy Berg receives award for public service

Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), is the recipient of the 2011 Howard K. Schachman Public Service Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

The annual award recognizes exemplary dedication to public service in support of biomedical science. The award is named after the eminent scientist who chaired the ASBMB’s Public Affairs Advisory Committee from 1989-2000.

ASBMB President Suzanne Pfeffer, Ph.D., cited Berg for his tireless support of investigator-initiated, fundamental research and his efforts on behalf of individual basic scientists.

William Merrick, Ph.D., current chair of the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee, said that Berg takes a "common-sense approach to difficult and challenging problems" and that he "has invited the research community to be a part of the dialogue about how to make the most of … NIH dollars."

Previous winners of the Schachman Public Service Award include Senators Arlen Specter and Tom Harkin; former Representatives John Porter and Robert Michel; NIH’s Ruth Kirschstein, M.D.; philanthropist John Whitehead; and the Research!America organization.

Berg will receive the award at an ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee meeting in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 20.

Jeremy M. Berg became the NIGMS director in Nov. 2003. He oversees a $2 billion budget that funds basic research in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology. The institute 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.

Prior to his appointment as NIGMS director, Dr. Berg directed the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, where he also served as professor and director of the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry. In addition, he directed the Markey Center for Macromolecular Structure and Function and co-directed the W.M. Keck Center for the Rational Design of Biologically Active Molecules at the university.

Berg received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from Stanford University in 1980 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1985.

For more on Berg, see

To arrange an interview with NIGMS Director Dr. Jeremy Berg, 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

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