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Reflecting on Two Years of Discovery and Looking Ahead to New NIH Leadership

Posted on by Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Lawrence Tabak in his office
Dr. Larry Tabak in his office at the National Institutes of Health. Credit: NIH

As I transition from my role as the Acting NIH Director, I’d like to thank you, the readers, for visiting the NIH Director’s Blog ever since I took the helm 22 months ago. From Long COVID to the opioid overdose epidemic to Alzheimer’s disease—we’ve covered a range of diseases and conditions, scientific advances, and programs. You were able to read about such a broad spectrum of science thanks in large part to the many Institute Directors at NIH who authored guest posts. I hope the blog has helped you learn more about what NIH does and the many ways that biomedical research impacts human health.

A key focus of my career as both a scientific investigator and administrative leader has been supporting trainees and finding new ways to cultivate and expand the next generation of researchers. In my many discussions with young investigators, I’ve often reminded them that they should not be afraid to fail. To the students and early-stage scientists who have visited this site: I hope these stories of discovery—often the result of earlier failures—have provided some insight and inspiration as you move through your scientific career or consider starting one.

I’d also like to thank the many people—employees, government and private partners, patients, scientists, advocates, and other members of the public—who have reached out with messages of support, and sometimes with messages of criticism. Both have helped inform the decisions I needed to make to fulfill the NIH mission.

In closing, I congratulate Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as she takes the helm as the next permanent NIH director. Dr. Bertagnolli—an outstanding physician scientist—is a strong leader who will bring fresh, bold new ideas to NIH and the biomedical research enterprise. I know she’ll be in good hands thanks to the outstanding staff across NIH and the leadership in the Department of Health and Human Services. I look forward to supporting her efforts and continuing to ensure that NIH research optimizes health for all people.


  • Jane Grissmer says:

    I loved your communication with all of us outside NIH to keep us informed. Your Spirit of community showed through. Thank you for bringing us in.

  • Jan says:

    Thanks for being there in the interim. Good luck with whatever comes next for you.

  • Gail Cassell says:

    Larry, thank you for not only your outstanding leadership as the interim NIH but also for years of leadership in your many other roles at NIH. I personally and the faculty and trainees in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham of which I Chaired. I am also well aware of your contributions as a past President of the American Society for Microbiology and Chair of its Public and Scientific Affairs Board for almost a decade. I mention these different roles because they have given me the opportunity to see first hand your dedicated service to NIH and the research community over the yrars and in different capacities. Thank you!

  • Laurie Schaeffer says:

    I truly appreciate all of the communications. They are meaningful and inspiring. Grateful for your full hearted service!

  • Dianne Garcia says:

    Thank you for your service- I’ve found the posts informative and useful. Wishing you the best during this time of transition.

  • Barbara C. Hansen says:

    You have done a fantastic job as Acting Director, and we all appreciate the challenges and opportunities you have faced and managed so well. Thank you so much for your lovely leadership!
    Warm regards
    Barbara C Hansen
    (former member of DAC, and supported by NIH for 40+ years–how fortunate I am!)

  • Dr. Tabak, your service is appreciated.

  • Tirsit Mogues says:

    I have looked forward to reading and learning from every blog posted, thank you.
    Let us hope we get to see an end to the wars and violence soon. Imagine what wonders could have been revealed in heaven and earth if we humans had not been fighting, resources used for knowledge and understanding.

    Thank you again and

    Best Wishes

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