News Release

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wilder Named OPASI Division Director

Dr. Elizabeth L. Wilder Appointed Director of OPASI’s Division of Strategic Coordination

Elizabeth L. Wilder, Ph.D., has been appointed director of the Division of Strategic Coordination in the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI). Dr. Wilder served as division director in an acting capacity for the last year and a half and officially assumed the post in August.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., established OPASI to identify impor­tant areas of emerging scientific opportunities or rising public health challenges and to help accelerate investments in these areas to make sure new ideas have a chance to develop. OPASI also is dedicated to developing new resources and tools to support the management and assessment of the NIH scientific portfolio.

OPASI’s Division of Strategic Coordination provides increased opportunity for trans-NIH dialogue, decision-making and funding for scien­tific programs that are intended to foster innovation and catalyze research broadly. It is the Division within OPASI that manages the NIH Common Fund ( and oversees the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research ( Other Divisions of OPASI are involved in analysis of the NIH funding portfolio and evaluation of trans-NIH programs.

"I am delighted to have Dr. Wilder in the position of division director," said Zerhouni. "She will have a significant impact at NIH in her work addressing critical research efforts in intersecting areas of NIH priorities."

Wilder graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas in 1984, received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1989, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. In her last position before coming to NIH, she served on the faculty in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She started at the NIH in 2002 as a Program Director at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

"We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Wilder join us in a permanent capacity," said Alan M. Krensky, M.D., Director of OPASI. "She will play a key leadership role as the Division of Strategic Coordination guides the NIH Roadmap Initiatives and continues to support NIH in efforts to identify cross-cutting, potentially transformative areas of health research.”

Wilder has been engaged in Trans-NIH initiatives since coming to the NIH. Most recently she served as co-chair of the Multiple Principal Investigator Policy Implementation Committee and as coordinator for the NIH Roadmap Interdisciplinary Research Working Group. In addition to her acting role in the Division of Strategic Coordination over the past year, she has provided central leadership to OPASI as Acting Associate Director of the Office. Wilder becomes OPASI’s first director of strategic coordination.

The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, launched in 2004, is a series of initiatives designed to address fundamental knowledge gaps, develop transformative tools and technologies, and/or foster innovative approaches to complex problems. Funded through the NIH Common Fund, these programs cut across the missions of individual NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) and are intended to accelerate the translation of research to improvements in public health. OPASI, in collaboration with all NIH ICs, oversees programs funded by the Common Fund. Additional information about the NIH Roadmap and Common Fund can be found at ( . Additional information about OPASI can be found at (

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available 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

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