July 18, 2008

Baruchin takes leadership post at the Foundation for the NIH

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Andrea Baruchin, Ph.D.

Baruchin takes leadership post at the Foundation for the NIH

Andrea Baruchin, Ph.D., chief of staff in the Office of Research, will leave Vanderbilt Medical Center in August to become associate director for NIH initiatives at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

“I really like being in Washington, being at the national forefront of biomedical science,” said Baruchin, who spent 10 years at the NIH prior to coming to Vanderbilt in 2000.

At the same time, “it's really been a fun eight years here,” she said. Vanderbilt has a unique “atmosphere of collaboration and collegiality” that helps fuel its research enterprise.

Baruchin, who earned her Ph.D. in molecular neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh, served as associate director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and as director of Neuroscience Development before being named director of Strategic Planning and later chief of staff in the Office of Research.

She participated in the updating of the Research Enterprise Strategic Plan in 2005, and has helped lead the current basic science initiative. Baruchin also oversaw the launch of the highly successful Discovery Lecture Series in 2006, and has been involved in the research faculty and staff awards programs and in obtaining corporate support of Vanderbilt research.

“For the past four-and-a-half years, it has been a pleasure to work with Andrea in the Office of Research,” said John Manning, Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for Research Operations. “Her skills have been invaluable in preparing the research enterprise for a period of sustained excellence.”

“Andrea has been a tremendous asset to the Office of Research,” added Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research and interim dean of the School of Medicine. “She did an outstanding job on a number of projects that have helped advance the research enterprise. But more than that, Andrea has been a pleasure to work with. She will be missed.”

In her new position, Baruchin will serve as a liaison between the foundation and NIH institute and center directors to help set scientific priorities, and to work collaboratively with others in the scientific community.

The Foundation for the NIH was established in 1996 to help underwrite ambitious biomedical initiatives that have the potential to impact the lives of millions of people worldwide but which are not appropriate for wholly public funding under the NIH.

An example is its partnerships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative and the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery.

“I really like that melding because I think that's the direction that we're moving in,” Baruchin said. “We're going to have to interact more with industry, with biotech, with foundations — all of us to get the science done.

“The NIH can't do it all.”