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Zach W. Hall Appointed Director of NINDS


For release: Tuesday, July 19, 1994

Harold Varmus, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced his appointment of Zach W. Hall, Ph.D., as the new director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the leading Federal agency for research on disorders of the brain and nervous system.

Dr. Hall is currently the Lange Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he also holds the position of Head of the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.

"I am extremely pleased that someone of Dr. Hall's standing in the neuroscience community has agreed to assume leadership of the NINDS," said Dr. Varmus. "His credentials as a scientist and his experience as an academic administrator who has established one of the nation's premier neuroscience programs will be invaluable in this era of rapid discovery in the basic and clinical neurological sciences."

As director of the NINDS, Dr. Hall will oversee a staff of some 700 scientists, physician-scientists, and administrators and an annual budget of more than $630 million. The NINDS supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in 23 intramural Institute branches and laboratories, in areas ranging from the structure and function of single brain cells to tests of new diagnostic tools and treatments for those with neurological diseases. The Institute has been at the forefront of brain research since 1950 and is a lead agency in the Congressionally designated Decade of the Brain.

"More than 50 million Americans suffer from neurological disorders," said Dr. Philip R. Lee, Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Public Health Service, in endorsing Dr. Varmus' selection. "I look forward to Dr. Hall's leadership of our national effort to fund critical biomedical research that will result in improved care and treatment of patients with these disorders."

"This is an exciting time to take over the leadership of the NINDS," according to Dr. Hall. "The next decade will see continuous progress in our understanding of how the nervous system works, as well as increasing application of advances in basic neuroscience to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neurological disorders. The mission of the NINDS during this remarkable time will be to provide the scientific leadership and institutional support to sustain these advances."

Dr. Hall was identified as a top candidate for the NINDS by a committee of distinguished consultants after an extensive national search. In recommending

Dr. Hall to Dr. Varmus, the committee cited his role in establishing one of the nation's leading programs in neuroscience research and graduate training at UCSF. Within his own area of interest, Dr. Hall has made fundamental contributions to the investigation of the neuromuscular junction. He is the author and editor of An Introduction to Molecular Neurobiology, a widely used textbook, and has published more than 100 original papers and reviews in scientific journals. He is also a founding editor of Neuron, a leading journal of cellular and molecular neurobiology.

Dr. Hall's numerous professional activities include membership on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Neurobiology of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and participation in the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among other professional scientific groups.

Dr. Hall was recently elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received many honors in his field, including being named the 1994 Alexander Forbes Lecturer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He has twice won the prestigious Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, a seven-year grant awarded by the NINDS to distinguished investigators who have a record of substantial contributions at the cutting edge of neurological science.

Dr. Hall received his undergraduate degree in English from Yale University in 1958 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry (Medical Sciences) from Harvard University in 1966. From 1966 until 1968, he was a fellow in biochemistry at Stanford University School of Medicine. From 1968 until moving to UCSF in 1976 as professor of physiology and head of the new neuroscience program, he was on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology.

Dr. Hall will join the NINDS staff on September 1, 1994.

Last Modified August 7, 2009