Chris A. Kaiser, PhD, has been selected as the new director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Kaiser, a cell biologist and head of the biology department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), expects to start his new position next spring.

As NIGMS director, Kaiser will oversee the Institute's $2-billion annual budget, which funds basic research in cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics, and computational biology. NIGMS supports more than 4,500 research grants.

Kaiser's research uses genetic, biochemical, and structural biology methods to understand the basic mechanisms of protein folding and intracellular transport. His efforts have led to the identification of numerous genes and related mutations involved in these processes.

A member of the MIT faculty since 1991, Kaiser is coauthor of the 5th and 6th editions of the textbook Molecular Biology of the Cell. [Photo courtesy of Kent Dayton.]

Inder M. Verma, PhD, a molecular biologist at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, began serving as editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in November. He had been a member of the publication's editorial board since 2001.

Verma's research focuses on cancer genetics, inflammation, and gene therapy. His laboratory helped reveal that the aberrant expression of normal genes can lead to cancer. His team also demonstrated that the enzyme reverse transcriptase produces complementary DNA from mRNA, and was among the first groups to use a retroviral vector to correct a genetic deficiency.

In addition to being a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Verma is a member of the Institutes of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2000, he was the founding editor-in-chief of Molecular Therapy. [Photo courtesy of Salk Institute for Biological Sciences]

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