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Director's Biography

Thomas Insel

Christopher P. Austin, M.D.
Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

In September 2012, NIH Director Francis S. Collins announced the appointment of Christopher P. Austin, M.D., as director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Austin succeeded former acting director of NCATS and current director of the National Institute of Mental Health Thomas R. Insel, M.D.

Austin, who served as director of the NCATS Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation since the creation of the Center in December 2011, is leading NCATS in its mission to catalyze the generation of innovative methods and technologies that will enhance the development, testing and implementation of diagnostics and therapeutics across a wide range of human diseases and conditions. Currently, many costly, time-consuming bottlenecks exist in the translational pipeline. Austin is applying his experience in nearly every stage of the research pipeline to build on the Center’s momentum in finding innovative ways to reduce, remove or bypass these bottlenecks and speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to patients.

Austin came to NIH in 2002 from Merck, where his work focused on genome-based discovery of novel targets and drugs. He began his NIH career as the senior advisor to the director for translational research at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he initiated the Knockout Mouse Project and the Molecular Libraries Roadmap Initiative. Other NIH roles have included serving as director of the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program as well as the NIH Chemical Genomics Center and as scientific director of the NIH Center for Translational Therapeutics.

Austin earned a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and an undergraduate degree in biology from Princeton University. He completed clinical training in internal medicine and neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as a fellowship in genetics at Harvard.