NIGMS Deputy Director

Dorit Zuk, Ph.D.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Dorit Zuk
Dr. Dorit Zuk
High-res image

Dorit Zuk, Ph.D., became the deputy director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in October 2021. In this position, she provides leadership on the full range of NIGMS activities supporting basic research that increases understanding of foundational biological processes and drives advances in human health. She joined NIGMS as director of the Institute’s Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in January 2016.

Zuk is a molecular biologist whose research has focused on muscle development and RNA metabolism. She also has a strong background in science policy and communications, and has spearheaded NIGMS initiatives to diversify the research organism landscape, develop a collaborative program with the National Science Foundation to fund research that advances the scientific basis of science and innovation policy, and enhance the rigor and reproducibility of biomedical research.

Prior to joining NIGMS​, Zuk directed the former Office of Policy, Communications, and Strategic Alliances at NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, where she developed and led a strategic visioning process that culminated in the center's first strategic plan. Before that, she served as the science policy advisor to the NIH deputy director for extramural research in the NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER). While at OER, she provided leadership on a range of policy topics. She also managed the working group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director that conducted a comprehensive study of the biomedical research. Additionally, she coordinated the development of revised regulations on financial conflict of interest of extramural researchers

Zuk came to NIH in 2007 as a science and technology policy fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. From 2008 to 2009, she served as a program officer for science policy and as Hellman Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She began her policy career after working in scientific publishing, serving as the deputy editor of the journal Cell from 2000 to 2002 and as the editor of the journal Molecular Cell from 2003 to 2007.

Throughout her career, Zuk has been an active member of several scientific societies. She served on the American Society for Biochemists and Molecular Biologists' education and professional development committee from 2005 to 2014. From 2011 to 2018, she served on the American Association for the Advancement of Science's science and technology policy fellowships advisory committee, acting as chair from 2012 to 2018.​

Zuk earned a B.Sc. in biology from Tel Aviv University and an M.Sc. in biology and a Ph.D. in cell biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her postdoctoral research examined the regulation of mRNA turnover at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the laboratory of Allan Jacobson, Ph.D. She is the recipient of numerous NIH honors, most recently an NIH Director’s Award for her contributions to incorporate natural language processing into grant referral processes.