Dr. W. Sue Shafer Named NIGMS Deputy Director

Release Date:
Susan Athey, NIGMS
(301) 496-7301

W. Sue Shafer, Ph.D., has been named deputy director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In her position, Dr. Shafer will provide leadership in developing and executing NIGMS policies and allocating resources, and will represent NIGMS in senior-level interactions with other NIH components and in dealings with other agencies and scientific organizations. In addition, she will continue to serve as director of the NIGMS Division of Extramural Activities, a position she has held since 1989.

In announcing the appointment, Marvin Cassman, Ph.D., director of NIGMS, said, "Dr. Shafer is highly regarded within NIH and in the extramural community. She has performed many of the functions of a deputy director for some time, and this appointment just confirms her crucial role in the Institute."

NIGMS supports basic biomedical research that is not targeted to specific diseases, but that increases understanding of life processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Dr. Shafer came to NIH in 1974 as a health scientist administrator in the Cellular and Molecular Basis of Disease Program of NIGMS. In 1978, she became chief of the instrumentation section of the NIGMS Physiology and Biomedical Engineering Program. Her section's mission was enlarged in 1980 to include biomedical engineering.

In 1983, Dr. Shafer joined what is now the NIH National Center for Research Resources as chief of the Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, and in 1987 she moved to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, serving first as deputy director of the Division of Basic Research and then as the division's acting director. She returned to NIGMS in 1989.

Dr. Shafer received a bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a doctoral degree in developmental biology from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Her postdoctoral work included serving as a research associate in the department of zoology at the University of Florida and as a lecturer at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Throughout her government career, Dr. Shafer has had a strong interest in the instrumentation needs of the biomedical research community and has worked to increase the number of minority scientists engaged in biomedical research. She has also been a leader of and an active participant in a variety of training forums for scientists and administrators at NIH; the former Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration; and academic institutions. Among her honors are a Department of Health and Human Services Executive Management Award, two NIH Director's Awards, and an NIH Quality of Work Life Award. She is a member of the Society for Developmental Biology and the American Society for Cell Biology, where she serves as chair of the Women in Cell Biology Committee.

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