Incoming Director of NIH's Basic Science Institute Withdraws

The new director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences has withdrawn for personal reasons 1 week before he was to join the institute.

Chris Kaiser, a cell biologist and chair of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, was to start at the $2.4 billion institute on 30 April. But on Monday, he told National Institutes of Health Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak that he would not take the position.

Tabak's two-sentence e-mail to NIGMS acting director Judith Greenberg reads: "Chris Kaiser sent me a note today indicating that, with regret, for personal reasons he has decided to withdraw his candidacy for director of NIGMS. Please share with your staff as appropriate."

Kaiser told ScienceInsider last fall that his priorities for the fourth largest NIH institute included maintaining basic research grants despite tight budgets and continuing a blog where NIGMS leaders explain funding policies. He also wanted to bring new ideas for recruiting minorities to science to the institute's training programs.

Greenberg, who took over when NIGMS Director Jeremy Berg left last July, will continue as acting director. Early this year, the institute reorganized to absorb programs from the disbanded National Center for Research Resources.

NIGMS spokesperson Ann Dieffenbach said that the institute did not yet know if the same search committee that identified Kaiser as a candidate would reconvene for a new search, or if a new committee would be formed.