Story Landis

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Story Landis

NIH neurosciences institute chief stepping down

Jocelyn is a staff writer for Science magazine.

The chief mover and shaker for neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is retiring.

Neurobiologist Story Landis has spent 19 years at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), becoming its director in 2003 after 8 years as scientific director. She helped develop NIH programs for young investigators, coordinated neuroscience research across NIH, served as point person for human embryonic stem cell research, and steered an effort to improve the reproducibility of preclinical studies. Since last year, she has co-led NIH's role in the federal brain-mapping project known as the BRAIN Initiative. As scientific director, Landis overhauled the institute’s intramural program. “I leave with a great sense of pride in what we were able to accomplish together,” she wrote in a farewell note to her staff.

Earlier this year, Landis drew attention to the shrinking share of funding for basic research at NINDS. She worried that investigators mistakenly believed that her institute was more interested in disease-focused studies.

In a statement on 31 July, NIH Director Francis Collins called Landis "one of the true giants at the NIH" and "one of my closest advisors and ‘go-to’ leaders." Eve Marder, a neuroscientist at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and a member of NINDS’s advisory council, says Landis has been “a fabulous NINDS director.”

Landis, 69, left academia for NIH in 1995. She plans to step down at the end of September and will join her husband in Maine. NINDS Deputy Director Walter Koroshetz will serve as acting NINDS director until her successor is chosen.

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