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NIGMS Director Leaves for "QB3"


After 27 years at NIGMS — the last 5 as its director — Dr. Marvin Cassman left the Institute in May to become the first director of “QB3,” the California-based Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research.

During his tenure as NIGMS director, Cassman broadened the Institute’s focus to promote quantitative, interdisciplinary approaches to problems of biomedical significance. He championed these studies as the gateway to understanding normal cellular functioning and ultimately to advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. In addition, he was a strong supporter of, and an advocate for, NIGMS’ minority programs.

Cassman has served NIGMS in various capacities since 1975. He started as a health scientist administrator, then founded and directed the NIGMS program in biophysics and physiological sciences, rose to deputy director, and finally became director of the Institute in August 1996.

Consistent with his interest in science policy, Cassman served as a legislative fellow on the staff of the House Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Technology; and as senior policy analyst in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

While at NIGMS, Cassman developed policies to encourage researchers to bridge the gap between the physical and life sciences. At QB3, he will be working closely with scientists doing just that. QB3, a consortium of University of California schools in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz, was established in December 2000. The institute focuses on areas such as bioengineering, structural biology, bioinformatics, and the analysis of complex biological systems.

“The opportunity to implement something that we’ve tried to facilitate is very exciting, especially at institutions of the caliber of UCSF, UC Santa Cruz, and Berkeley,” said Cassman.

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