Lawrence Tabak has been named acting director of the US National Institutes of Health.
On Dec. 20, Tabak took over from Francis Collins, who retired as director after holding the position for more than 12 years. The NIH director is nominated by the US president and confirmed by the Senate.
Tabak is a long-time principal deputy director of the agency, a position he has held since 2010. He also serves as the agency’s deputy ethics counselor. Before becoming deputy director, Tabak was head of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research from 2000 to 2010.
“Dr. Tabak’s long tenure and broad experience at the NIH will ensure that the agency is in capable hands and serve it well during the search for Dr. Collins’ successor,” says Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in a press release announcing the appointment. HHS oversees the NIH. “Dr. Tabak has a deep grasp of the most pressing scientific issues confronting our nation, he has earned respect across NIH as a thoughtful and strategic manager and is committed to building a healthier and more equitable America.”
Previously, Tabak was a dean and professor of dentistry and biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Rochester. His research, which he has continued while at the NIH, looks at the structure, biosynthesis, and function of glycoproteins.