Neuropsychologist Richard K. Nakamura, Ph.D., has been tapped to be the acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), following the resignation of psychiatrist Steven Hyman, M.D., who had headed NIMH for five years.
Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., who is acting director of the National Institutes of Health, the parent agency of NIMH, announced Nakamura’s appointment on December 10.
Hyman resigned his government post to become provost of Harvard University (Psychiatric News, November 16, 2001).
On November 30 Kirschstein announced that dentist and pharmacologist Glen Hanson, D.D.S., Ph.D., will be acting director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). He will step into the post vacated by the resignation of Alan Leshner, Ph.D.
Nakamura has been at NIMH for 25 years, beginning as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology, where he conducted studies on nonhuman primates in an attempt to understand cognitive processing in the brain. In 1986 he was named chief of behavioral and integrative neuroscience at NIMH and several years later moved up to the position of director of science policy and program planning. He has also served on the NIH Information Technology Board of Directors and the NIH Evaluation Policy and Oversight Committee.
Hanson is an expert on psychostimulants, particularly the neurotoxic properties of amphetamines and the "club drug" Ecstasy, an area on which NIDA is increasing its focus.
Hanson has been at NIDA for a little more than a year and has been director of its Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research. He is also a professor in the University of Utah’s department of pharmacology and toxicology, where he earned his doctorate. ▪
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