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Bush Names New Director of NIH

Bush Names New Director of NIH

Elias Zerhouni, MD, nominated by President Bush to the position of director of the National Institutes of Health, is a leading researcher in cardiovascular imaging. 

Zerhouni also has a formidable cancer background, having conducted substantial National Cancer Institute-funded research early in his career on diagnostic imaging of lung, prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Moreover, he is a member of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, and many of the 157 journal articles he has authored or coauthored focus on cancer topics. In addition, Zerhouni is Martin Donner Professor and chairman of the Russell H. Morgan department of radiology at Johns Hopkins Medical School, as well as executive vice dean of the medical school. 

His background prompted Martin D. Abeloff, director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and a former president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to say, "Dr. Zerhouni is an impressive clinical scientist and administrator."

Bush chose Zerhouni not only for the quality and depth of his research experience, but also because of his political acceptability: Zerhouni is reported to oppose research on cloned human embryos, which is in line with the Bush administration’s position. Democrats, who control the Senate, which must confirm Zerhouni, favor a bill presented by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) that bans human cloning but allows research involving nuclear transplantation to produce stem cells. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, commented positively on Zerhouni. Jim Manley, Kennedy’s spokesman, says Zerhouni has "impressive credentials and a distinguished record at Johns Hopkins." He adds, "We will review his record carefully."

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