Biden Likely to Tap NCI's Bertagnolli for NIH Lead

Sharon Worcester, MA

April 20, 2023

President Joe Biden will likely nominate current National Cancer Institute (NCI) director Monica Bertagnolli, MD, to head the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to multiple reports.

Bertagnolli, a cancer surgeon and the first woman to direct the NCI, was appointed to the NCI post by President Biden last fall. If nominated and confirmed by the US Senate, she would take the helm of the NIH, which has been headed by acting director Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, PhD, since December 2021 when longtime director Francis S. Collins stepped down.

Initial reports from The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post state that the White House has been impressed with Bertagnolli's hard work and accomplishments at the NCI, including her role in developing the National Cancer Plan to support President Biden's Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Several weeks after taking the lead at the NCI, Bertagnolli, 64, was diagnosed with early-stage hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer following a routine mammogram, but has undergone successful treatment and returned to her full schedule at the NCI.

Sharon Worcester, MA, is an award-winning medical journalist based in Birmingham, Alabama, writing for Medscape, MDedge, and other affiliate sites. She currently covers oncology, but she has also written on a variety of other medical specialties and healthcare topics. She can be reached at  or on Twitter:  @SW_MedReporter

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