NIGMS Director Cassman to Lead California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research

Release Date:
Alisa Zapp Machalek, NIGMS
(301) 496-7301

NIGMS director Marvin Cassman, Ph.D. has announced that he will leave the Institute in mid-May to become the first director of "QB3," the California-based Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research.

"This is an exciting opportunity that's one of my major interests--developing connections between the physical sciences and biology," said Cassman.

During his tenure as NIGMS director, Cassman broadened the Institute's focus to promote quantitative, interdisciplinary approaches to problems of biomedical significance. He championed these studies as the gateway to understanding normal cellular functioning and ultimately to advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

In recent years, NIGMS has launched major initiatives that support structural genomics, pharmacogenetics, and large-scale, multifaceted research collaborations. In mid-2001, it created a Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology to support research and training in areas that join biology with the computer sciences, engineering, math, and physics.

Earlier in his time at NIGMS, Cassman launched a program to determine the molecular structures of AIDS-related proteins, which may lead to new structure-based drugs. He also initiated the NIGMS Shared Instrumentation Program that funded major equipment used by several biomedical researchers. This program became a model for similar efforts at NIH and other government agencies.

Cassman has served at NIGMS in various capacities since 1975. He started as a health scientist administrator, then founded and directed the NIGMS program in biophysics and physiological sciences, rose to deputy director, and finally became director of the Institute in August 1996.

Consistent with his interest in science policy, Cassman served as a legislative fellow on the staff of the House Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Technology; and as senior policy analyst in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

While at NIGMS, Cassman developed policies to encourage researchers to bridge the gap between the physical and life sciences. At QB3, he will be working closely with scientists doing just that.

QB3 is a consortium of University of California schools in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz. Its headquarters are at UCSF's new Mission Bay campus, now under construction on San Francisco's eastern waterfront. Established in December 2000, the institute focuses on areas such as bioengineering, structural biology, bioinformatics, and the analysis of complex biological systems.

"The opportunity to implement something that we've tried to facilitate is very exciting, especially at institutions of the caliber of UCSF, UC Santa Cruz, and Berkeley," said Cassman.


To arrange an interview with Dr. Marvin Cassman, contact Ann Dieffenbach or Alisa Machalek in the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at (301) 496-7301.