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NIH taps Tufts MC prenatal geneticist for prominent post

08/25/2016

Diana Bianchi, M.D. Named Director of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

(Boston) – A reproductive geneticist at Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children, whose research has focused on developing safer techniques for the prenatal diagnosis and treatment of genetic disorders, has been appointed Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Diana Bianchi, M.D. is slated to start her new job October 31.

“Diana’s accomplishments as a prenatal geneticist along with her leadership, clinical and research experience in both pediatrics and obstetrics make her ideally suited to lead NICHD,” said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health. “We are excited to have her join our team and lead this important area of research.”

As Director of the NICHD, Dr. Bianchi will oversee research on pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. With an annual budget of $1.3 billion, NICHD supports research grants and contracts at universities and other institutions across the country and overseas as well as a research program of scientists working on the NIH campuses.

“Throughout my career, I have witnessed the impact of discoveries made in the lab on the health of mothers and babies,” said Dr. Bianchi. “I am deeply grateful to my colleagues at Tufts Medical Center who have taught me so much and I am honored for this opportunity to lead the NIH’s research effort to improve the wellbeing of children, families, communities and people with disabilities around the country and the world.”

Dr. Bianchi’s 23-year career at Tufts Medical Center started in 1993 when she was appointed Chief of Perinatal Genetics. She served as a member of the Tufts MC Board of Trustees from 1997-2008 and in 2010 founded the Mother Infant Research Institute, the only multi-disciplinary research institute in the U.S. to combine pediatrics and obstetrics with a goal of ensuring healthy pregnancies, full-term deliveries and normal birth weights.

Dr. Bianchi is also the Natalie V. Zucker Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tufts University School of Medicine and a genetics program faculty member at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. Dr. Bianchi also serves as the editor-in-chief of the international journal Prenatal Diagnosis.

“Diana has a tremendous passion for knowledge and compassion for the patients and families she works with,” said Michael Wagner, M.D., President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children. “While we are sad to lose her on our campus, we are proud to share her brilliance on a national stage where she can have an even broader impact.”  Dr. Wagner notes an interim director of the Mother Infant Research Institute is expected to be announced soon.

“Diana is a highly-respected leader in the field of reproductive genetics, dedicated to finding therapies that will help children and families,” said Harris Berman, M.D., dean of Tufts University School of Medicine. “She has been and will continue to be a champion of hope and progress for families.”

Dr. Bianchi earned her M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine. Following medical school, she completed her residency training in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and her postdoctoral fellowship training in medical genetics and neonatal-perinatal medicine at Harvard. She recently received two major lifetime achievement awards: the Landmark Award in 2015 from the American Academy of Pediatrics in recognition of her research and contributions to genetics and newborn care, and the Maureen Andrew Award for Mentoring in 2016 by the Society of Pediatric Research, which recognized her commitment to mentoring the next generation of clinician-scientists.

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About Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children

Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional, not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and Floating Hospital for Children. Conveniently located in downtown Boston, the Medical Center is the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. Floating Hospital for Children is the full-service children's hospital of Tufts Medical Center and the principal pediatric teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Medical Center is affiliated with the New England Quality Care Alliance, a network of more than 1,800 physicians throughout Eastern Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org.

Media Contact: Rhonda Mann
(508) 341-3996