The University Record, January 15, 2001

Sieving to head National Eye Institute

By Kara Gavin
Health System Public Relations

U-M ophthalmologist Paul A. Sieving has been named director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), the arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that funds and oversees much of the nation’s eye research and education.

Sieving is currently the Paul R. Lichter Professor of Ophthalmic Genetics and director, Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration at the Kellogg Eye Center. He will join the NEI in late spring.

“I am honored to be joining the NEI at this important moment, when scientific opportunities have never been greater,” Sieving said. “I look forward to working with the NEI staff, the vision research community and the public to improve eye health for all and quality of life for those with vision impairments.”

Sieving will oversee a budget of $510.6 million, a staff of 300 scientists and administrators on the NIH campus, and approximately 1,600 research grants and training awards made to scientists at more than 250 institutions worldwide.

In addition to research, the NEI’s mission extends to public education, including the National Eye Health Education Program, coordinated by the NEI in partnership with more than 60 national organizations.

“We are pleased and proud that Dr. Sieving has been tapped for this pre-eminent leadership position in vision science. At the same time, our department and the University will be losing an outstanding faculty member,” said Paul R. Lichter, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

“Dr. Sieving has made great strides in genetic research here at the Kellogg Eye Center and has helped us develop and expand our retinal and macular dystrophies research and clinical programs to the highest level of achievement nationally and internationally. An important measure of Dr. Sieving’s success is that these programs are at a mature level of development and will continue to flourish here in the years ahead,” Lichter said.

Medical School Dean Allen S. Lichter said, “Dr. Sieving joins a distinguished list of U-M faculty in leadership roles in the NIH. We are proud that our faculty are serving the nation and the world in these important posts.”

A number of other U-M faculty are in NIH posts: Josephine Briggs, director, Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Francis Collins, director, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI); Elizabeth Nabel, director of clinical research programs, National Heart, Lung and Bloood Institute; Gary Nabel, director, Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Jeffrey Trent, chief, Cancer Genetics Branch and scientific director, Division of Intramural Research at NHGRI.