Michael Lauer


Cardiologist to head extramural research at NIH

A cardiovascular epidemiologist and research administrator is taking the helm of the office that oversees policies for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) $25 billion a year in research grants and contracts. Michael Lauer, who has been with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) since 2007, will become NIH deputy director for extramural research in a few weeks. He replaces Sally Rockey, who left this month.

As director of NHLBI’s cardiovascular sciences division, Lauer oversaw NHLBI’s basic, clinical, and epidemiological studies of heart disease. He has also shown a keen interest in policy: For example, he uncovered a lag in publishing NHLBI-funded clinical trials. He also led a provocative analysis finding that grants with the best peer-review scores do not necessarily generate the most publications.

As chief of the Office of Extramural Research, Lauer will oversee policies ranging from animal care regulations to rules on managing conflicts of interest. Rockey’s Rock Talk blog attracted both praise for sharing data on NIH grantsmaking and barbs from investigators who felt threatened by any changes. Lauer was away from the office and unavailable for comment on whether he plans to launch his own blog.