National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), oversees the Institute's $2.5 billion budget, which supports basic research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Dr. Lorsch came to the NIGMS in 2013 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was a professor in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1999 and became a full professor in 2009. During his tenure at Johns Hopkins, he worked to reform the curricula for graduate and medical education, spearheaded the development of the Center for Innovation in Graduate Biomedical Education, and launched a program offering summer research experiences to local high school students, many from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. In addition, he advised dozens of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. As leader in RNA biology, Lorsch studies the initiation of translation, a major step in controlling how genes are expressed. To dissect the mechanics of translation initiation, Dr. Lorsch and collaborators developed a yeast-based system and a wide variety of biochemical and biophysical methods. The work also has led to efforts to control translation initiation through chemical reagents. Lorsch continues this research as a tenured investigator in the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Lorsch received a B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1990 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1995, where he worked in the laboratory of Jack Szostak, Ph.D. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University in the laboratory of Daniel Herschlag, Ph.D. Dr. Lorsch is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters, and other papers. He has also been the editor of six volumes of Methods in Enzymology and has been a reviewer for numerous scientific journals. He is the author on two awarded U.S. patents. His honors include six teaching awards from Johns Hopkins.