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Science  28 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6102, pp. 1589-1590
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6102.1589-a

Three Q's



On 13 August, cardiologist Gary Gibbons, 55, became director of the $3 billion National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Gibbons comes to NHLBI from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, where he directed a cardiovascular research center.

Q:Why were you interested in this job?

I've always been motivated to address scientific questions that have implications for patients and patient care and public health. And I have a particular passionate commitment to expanding the diversity of the biomedical workforce. This position gives me an opportunity to really pursue that goal.

Q:What motivates you to pursue public service?

One of my heroes growing up was my mother, who exemplified this notion of community service, giving back. That's derived from her own personal experience as an orphan growing up in the Great Depression. I'm carrying on in that sort of family tradition.

Q:What are the big challenges ahead?

We tend to think of [heart, lung, and blood diseases] as chronic diseases. And yet what we're learning in areas of reparative biology, in terms of epigenomics, these advances suggest ways of intervening that can kind of erase or reboot the memory of the body and change the natural history [of these conditions].

We often get jealous of our oncology colleagues [who] talk about the remission of the disease. We're not quite there, but those would be frontiers that we'd be excited to pursue.

Princeton President Shirley Tilghman Steps Down



Princeton University president and molecular biologist Shirley Tilghman will resign in June after leading the university for 12 years.

“There is a natural rhythm to university presidencies,” Tilghman wrote in a resignation letter on 22 September to the Princeton community. With a $1.9 billion fundraising campaign completed and her priorities accomplished or on their way, she wrote, “it is time for Princeton to turn to its 20th president to chart the path for the next decade and beyond.”

Tilghman gave up her research on mammalian genetics to become Princeton's first woman president. She worked to increase the number of students receiving financial aid, created a neuroscience institute, recruited new chemistry faculty members, and launched energy and environmental programs.

A longtime proponent of the view that U.S. institutions produce too many biomedical Ph.D.s, Tilghman co-chaired a National Institutes of Health (NIH) working group that recommended in June that NIH take steps to curb the growth in trainees and improve working conditions. After taking a year's leave, Tilghman will return to teaching.


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