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December 5, 2008


December 5, 2008

New Director of NIEHS Appointed

National Institutes of Health Acting Director Raynard Kington, M.D., announced this week that Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., will serve as the new director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, beginning in January. Dr. Birnbaum is currently a senior advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Birnbaum, a toxicologist, began her career at the NIEHS as a senior staff fellow and then principal investigator for the National Toxicology Program. She then served as group leader for the NIEHS's Chemical Disposition Group before moving to the EPA, where she directed the agency's Experimental Toxicology Program for 16 years.

Dr. Birnbaum, a former president of the Society of Toxicology, is currently the president-elect of the International Union of Toxicology. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Women in Toxicology Elsevier Mentoring Award and the EPA's Health Science Achievement Award. Dr. Birnbaum's most recent research focuses on the pharmacokinetic behavior of environmental chemicals and linking of world exposures to health effects. Dr. Birnbaum is an adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of North Carolina and at the Integrated Toxicology Program at Duke University.

In accepting the appointment, Dr. Birnbaum said, "I am excited about serving as the director of NIEHS at a time when integration across disciplines is essential, from molecular biology to pharmacology and physiology to epidemiology. Complex environmental issues require individual and team efforts to address the interactions between the environment and human health." Dr. Birnbaum continued, "I am eager to translate the work of the basic scientist and epidemiologist into improvements for the health of our citizens and communities."

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Gary Ewart Senior Director, Government Relations
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