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SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that Elias Zerhouni, M.D., has joined the foundation’s Global Health Program as a senior fellow. A world-renowned leader in radiology research and an experienced scientific leader he is a powerful voice for scientific innovation. Zerhouni most recently served as the director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“Dr. Zerhouni has an extraordinary record of championing breakthrough science that leads to tangible health benefits for people in need,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the foundation’s Global Health Program. “We are delighted that he will bring that innovative spirit and transformative thinking to the foundation’s global health work.”
As senior fellow, Zerhouni will advise the foundation on a range of topics, particularly the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which works to identify and help solve the most critical scientific challenges in global health.
“I have had a long-standing commitment to reducing the burden of the many diseases suffered by the most vulnerable of us across the world,” said Dr. Elias Zerhouni. “I am excited to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as it is committed to the same goals and has become one of the most effective forces for innovative change in global health.”
As the 15th director of NIH from 2002 to 2008, Zerhouni launched the Roadmap for Medical Research in 2003 to enhance synergy between all 27 NIH institutes and centers and fund compelling research initiatives of potential high impact. Zerhouni also launched a series of new programs to encourage high-risk innovative research and interdisciplinary research--especially at the interface of physical and biological sciences--and to support early career scientists. During his tenure, NIH tripled its international funding for global health. In 2006, Congress passed the NIH reform act, only the third such act since the creation of NIH, institutionalizing many of his reforms.
Prior to being appointed to lead the NIH, he had a distinguished tenure at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he served as chair of the department of radiology, vice dean for research and executive vice dean between 1995 and 2002.
Since 2000, Zerhouni has been a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He also served on the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors from 1998 to 2002. He will serve on the board of trustees of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and the board of the Lasker Foundation in New York.
Born in Algeria, Zerhouni came to the United States at age 24 with a medical degree from the University of Algiers School of Medicine. He completed his training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and became a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering. His research has focused on pioneering new quantitative imaging methods based on CAT and MRI scanning to diagnose and treat cancer and pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. He has won numerous awards for his research.