It is with bittersweet emotion that I announce the departure of Dr. Michael S. Lauer, Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences (DCVS), from the NHLBI. We are proud and excited that NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins has selected Dr. Lauer to join his NIH leadership team as the next Deputy Director for Extramural Research and Director of the NIH Office of Extramural Research Activities.
Dr. Lauer began his journey at the NHLBI in July 2007 as the Director of the Division of Prevention and Population Sciences, where he provided exceptional leadership for the Institute's population- and clinic-based cardiovascular epidemiology and clinical trial research portfolio. In 2009, as the Institute reorganized to better align resources with scientific priorities, Dr. Lauer seamlessly transitioned to his current role as Director of DCVS. In this position, he has provided leadership for one of the largest extramural divisions across the NIH with a nearly $1.7 billion portfolio that spans cardiovascular basic, clinical, and population sciences.
Under Dr. Lauer's leadership, DCVS has fostered robust interactions with the NHLBI scientific community on seminal issues such as the transformation of epidemiology in the era of ‘big data’ science and supported the incorporation of ‘-omic’ technologies to advance the population sciences portfolio. Dr. Lauer has also been a leader at the NIH in research portfolio analyses that explore data-driven approaches to scientific funding. This experience makes Dr. Lauer a natural choice to lead the NIH Office of Extramural Research, where he will support the corporate framework for NIH research administration and effective stewardship of the NIH extramural research portfolio writ-large.
The NHLBI is fortunate to have an excellent senior leadership team in DCVS that will sustain the scientific momentum of the cardiovascular portfolio while the Institute conducts a national search to identify new permanent leadership for DCVS. In the interim, Dr. George Mensah will serve as acting director of DCVS. Dr. Mensah is a widely respected cardiovascular scientist, an academician with demonstrated management experience in government and private sectors, and a senior leader within the NHLBI. Dr. Mensah will remain the Director of the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science while taking on this interim role for DCVS.
The NHLBI remains committed to building upon our legacy of excellence in cardiovascular science and accountable stewardship. The input from the NHLBI Strategic Visioning process has set us on a trajectory to advance cardiovascular science over next decade. We look forward to continuing to work with the NHLBI community to seize the scientific opportunities that lay ahead.
Gary H. Gibbons, M.D.
Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute