Shawn Drew Gaillard to Direct the NIGMS Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Announcement Date:
Headshot of Shawn Gaillard 

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Director Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., has announced the selection of Shawn Drew Gaillard, Ph.D., as director of the Institute’s Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (GMCDB). Gaillard has been the acting director of GMCDB since February 2022. She will begin in this new role on January 15.

GMCDB funds basic research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie inheritance, gene expression, and development, laying the foundation for advances in diagnosing, preventing, treating, and curing a wide variety of diseases.

“GMCDB-funded researchers pursue a variety of important questions, ranging from how cells repair DNA to how microbial diversity affects human health,” Lorsch said. “Dr. Gaillard’s extensive scientific background and her expertise in managing a wide range of research and training programs make her an ideal choice for directing this Division,” he added.

Gaillard joined GMCDB as chief of the Developmental and Cellular Processes Branch in 2019, overseeing grants focused on organismal response to environmental stressors. Prior to this role, she was the research training officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and before that, she was a program director in NIGMS’ Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity and former Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology. Her experience also includes serving as a science education fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and directing what is now the NIH Academy on Health Disparities.

Gaillard has received numerous NIH and NIGMS honors and has been a leading member of a number of important committees, including having served as co-chair of NIGMS’ Striving Towards Racial Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Committee.

Gaillard earned a bachelor's degree in natural sciences with a concentration in chemistry from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Ph.D. in biology from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She performed predoctoral and postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“I am deeply committed to NIGMS and excited to serve as the GMCDB director. I look forward to working with staff and extramural scientists on exciting breakthroughs that shed light on the molecular basis of gene regulation, developmental processes, and cellular function,” Gaillard said.