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Former URMC faculty member to lead NIH

Dr. Lawrence Tabak, a former URMC faculty member, who has been named acting direct of the National Institutes of Health
Dr. Lawrence Tabak, a former URMC faculty member, has been named acting director of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Lawrence Tabak, a former University of Rochester faculty member and noted dental science researcher, will lead the National Institutes of Health on an interim basis, beginning this month.

He will take over for Dr. Francis Collins, who is retiring.

Tabak was senior associate dean for research and a professor of dentistry and of biochemistry and biophysics at the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

He joined the URMC faculty in 1986 and left for NIH in 2000. Tabak will be the first dentist to lead NIH.

In making the announcement, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said he’s confident that Tabak’s long tenure and broad experience will help ensure that the agency is in capable hands as a search for Collins’s successor is under way.

“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,” Becerra said.

As acting director of NIH, Tabak will be Dr. Anthony Fauci’s boss. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is under the NIH umbrella, and he is also chief medical adviser to the president.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.