A health expert at the University of Alabama has been named the next director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Institutes of Health announced this week.
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo is expected to start the job this fall, the NIH said in a statement released Wednesday. Dr. Anthony Fauci retired from the post in December.
The federal agency is one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Hugh Auchincloss Jr. has served as acting director since Fauci stepped down.
Marrazzo is currently the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the university’s medical school in Birmingham.
In a joint statement from the university’s President Ray Watts and Dr. Anupam Agarwal, senior vice president of medicine at the school, the pair called Marrazzo’s appointment “a great opportunity for her to make a big difference to the country, and it is indicative of the high regard that exists for both her and UAB.”
“While we are sad to see her go, we are delighted that Jeanne has been called to this national service and we are proud to count her as one of us at (the university),” the statement continued.
“Dr. Marrazzo brings a wealth of leadership experience from leading international clinical trials and translational research, managing a complex organizational budget that includes research funding and mentoring trainees in all stages of professional development,” Auchincloss said. “I look forward to welcoming Dr. Marrazzo to the NIH leadership team. I also want to extend my gratitude to Hugh Auchincloss, Jr., M.D., for serving as acting director.”
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Marrazzo to oversee $6.3 billion budget
In her new role, Marrazzo will oversee NIAID’s $6.3 billion budget which supports research in an effort to understand, diagnose and treat infectious, immunologic and allergic diseases.
According to NIH, NIAID supports research at universities and organizations across the nation United States and at its 21 laboratories, including the Vaccine Research Center on NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Rocky Mountains Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana.
NIAID is mandated to respond to emerging and re-emerging public health threats at home and overseas.
The agency’s research response to outbreaks of infectious diseases including HIV, Ebola and COVID-19, has led to aid including new vaccines, diagnostic tests and other treatments.
Fauci was face of America’s COVID-19 response
Marrazzo’s predecessor Fauci, the public face of the nation’s COVID-19 response, retired in late 2022.
Fauci’s departure concluded 54 years at the institute and 38 years as director.
“I gave it all I got for many decades,” Fauci said after announcing his retirement. The doctor was both lauded by the health community and criticized by Republicans for restrictions he pushed to halt the spread of the coronavirus during his time in the role at the height of the pandemic.
Fauci could not immediately be reached by USA TODAY Thursday.
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Who is Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo?
A Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Marrazzo is board certified in infectious disease.
According to NIH, her research in discovery and implementation science has focused on the human microbiome, “specifically as it relates to female reproductive tract infections and hormonal contraception; prevention of HIV infection using biomedical interventions, including PrEP and microbicides; and the pathogenesis and management of bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases in HIV-infected persons and management of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhea.”
She is also a recipient of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association’s Distinguished Career Award, the highest recognition of contributions to research and mentoring in the field.
Marrazzo earned her bachelor’s in biology from Harvard University; her M.D. from Thomas Jefferson University in, Philadelphia; and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has chaired the American Board of Internal Medicine Council and its Infectious Disease Specialty Board.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jeanne Marrazzo to replace Anthony Fauci as NIAID director