No ‘Summer Slump’: ORI Appoints 3 New Directors During Summer 2019

By Elizabeth McEvoy, Esq.

While many businesses slow down during the summer months, the Office of Research Integrity has been hard at work identifying a new wave of scientists to lead the agency.

In June 2019, ORI announced that Wanda K. Jones, Ph.D., had been named permanent Deputy Director of ORI. Dr. Jones, who previously served in an interim capacity, has a strong background in women’s health issues and in developing effective tools to screen for HIV/AIDS virus.

The following month, ORI announced Dr. Jones’ replacement, appointing Elisabeth Handley as the next Interim Director of ORI. Ms. Handley brings with her a rich background in both research integrity – reflecting her leadership positions at the Center for Program Integrity at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – as well as investigative/inspectional work developed at the Office of Inspector General.

 Most recently, ORI announced that long-term scientist-investigator Alex Runko, Ph.D. would lead the Division of Investigative Oversight. In addition to holding a joint Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology, Dr. Runko has considerable experience managing grants within NIH as well as managing review of data submissions and applications.

 Although it is too early to predict how the recent change in leadership may affect ORI’s external practices and policies on research integrity, this latest round of appointments shows federal funding recipients that ORI continues to take research integrity seriously. ORI has equipped itself with a formidable team of leaders who bring a diversity of experience from various areas of federal funding – no doubt each with a unique view. Funding applicants stay tuned.