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~Alumna Named New Director of National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke~

For immediate release:
August 11, 2003

Mary Ann Hill,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Story C. Landis, Ph.D. '67 has been named director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. Landis, who is currently the scientific director of the NINDS intramural program, will begin her appointment on September 1, 2003.

"I am very pleased that Dr. Landis has accepted this increased responsibility as Institute Director," said Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). "Her visionary scientific leadership, together with her ability to build bridges between disparate scientific groups, make her the best person to lead the NINDS into the future."

"Dr. Landis is widely recognized for her research on the development of the nervous system and has already encouraged close ties among the NIH neuroscience community," said NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni in announcing the appointment. "She is a distinguished scientist and a skilled manager who will be an ideal leader for the NINDS' growing translational research program."

As the new Director of the NINDS, Dr. Landis will oversee an annual budget of $1.5 billion and a staff of more than 900 scientists, physician-scientists, and administrators. The Institute supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in its intramural laboratories and branches in Bethesda, Maryland.

"I am delighted to have been chosen to lead an NIH Institute with an outstanding staff, whose investigators have a wonderful history of accomplishments in basic and clinical neurology," said Dr. Landis. "This is a particularly exciting time in neuroscience with many opportunities for rapid translation of scientific discovery into new diagnostics and therapeutics. I look forward to developing strong collaborations between the NINDS, the other NIH institutes that fund neuroscience research, and our most important partners, patient and professional advocacy groups."

Dr. Landis joined the NINDS in 1995 as scientific director and worked with then-Institute Director Zach W. Hall,Ph.D., to coordinate and re-engineer the Institute's intramural research programs. Between 1999 and 2000, under the leadership of NINDS Director Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., she led the movement, together with NIMH Scientific Director Robert Desimone, Ph.D., to bring some sense of unity and common purpose to 200 laboratories from eleven different NIH Institutes, all of which conduct leading edge clinical and basic neuroscience research.

A native of New England, Dr. Landis majored in biology at Wellesley and earned her master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University where she conducted research on cerebellar development in mice. After postdoctoral work at Harvard University studying transmitter plasticity in sympathetic neurons, she served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology.

In 1985 she joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, where she held many academic positions including Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Professor and Director of the Center on Neurosciences, and Chairman of the Department of Neurosciences, a department she was instrumental in establishing. Under her leadership, Case Western's neuroscience department achieved worldwide acclaim and a reputation for excellence.

Throughout her research career, Dr. Landis has made many fundamental contributions to the understanding of developmental interactions required for synapse formation. She has garnered many honors and awards and is an elected fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Neurological Association. In 2002, she was named the President-Elect of the Society for Neuroscience.

In 2001 she returned to Wellesley to participate as a panelist in the College's 125th anniversary conference, "Women Who Will: A Celebration of Wellesley College Alumnae and Their Life Paths."

Wellesley College has been a leader in the education of women for more than 125 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to a total of 2,300 undergraduate students. Among Wellesley's distinguished alumnae are Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and broadcast journalists Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Lynn Sherr and Linda Wertheimer.


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