Changing of the Guard: A New Acting Director for NCBI

We wanted to take a moment to announce an important internal development at NCBI. After an illustrious, 32-year career, Dr. James Ostell retired from federal service on March 31, 2020.

Dr. James Ostell

Dr. James Ostell

Dr. Ostell (or “Jim” as we all know him) came to NCBI at its very inception in 1988 and spent the majority of his time at NCBI as the Chief of the Information Engineering Branch. In this role he was responsible for designing, building, and deploying virtually all of the public production services that NCBI provides. In 2017, he became NCBI’s second Director, and championed initial efforts to move NCBI services to cloud environments. During his long tenure, Jim oversaw the growth of NCBI from a handful of people wondering how to confront the coming era of biological data to a vibrant center of some 700 staff serving more than 7 million users each day. We celebrate Jim’s leadership in building these services that continue to provide free and reliable access to data that are critical to biomedical research and the NIH mission to enhance human health.

We are also pleased to welcome Dr. Stephen Sherry as the new Acting Director of NCBI.

Dr. Stephen Sherry

Dr. Stephen Sherry

Dr. Sherry (or “Steve”) joined NCBI in 1998 and has led the development of several NCBI resources including dbSNP, dbVar, dbGaP, ClinVar, and SRA. He has also played a central role in the ongoing move of the SRA dataset onto cloud architectures. Steve has long-standing interests in storing population genetic data in ways that make these data useful to researchers while preserving the privacy of study participants.

As we wish Jim a fond farewell, we hope you will join us in welcoming Steve to this new role.

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