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Duke Researcher Nominated as FDA Chief

President Barack Obama has formally nominated cardiologist and researcher Robert Califf, M.D., to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A White House news release said Califf currently is the FDA’s deputy commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, a position he has held since March. Before joining the FDA, Califf had been with his alma mater, Duke University, since 1982, serving as a professor and vice chancellor at Duke University School of Medicine, and as director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute. Califf also has served as an advisor on the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM) and as a member of several FDA advisory committees.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), it was widely expected that Califf would become the next FDA commissioner when he joined the agency as deputy commissioner in February. He was considered once before for the top job.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Califf will replace Stephen Ostroff, previously FDA’s chief scientist, who has served as acting commissioner since Margaret Hamburg resigned in March after six years at the helm. Califf’s nomination by the Senate is not expected to be contentious. “Unless they’re looking for a reason to slow this down to score points, he should get relatively quick approval,” one unnamed federal official, who deals frequently with Congress, told the WSJ.

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