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Rebecca A. Wagenaar-Miller, Ph.D., named NIDCD director of extramural activities

Rebecca Wagenaar-Miller, Ph.D.

Rebecca A. Wagenaar-Miller, Ph.D.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has named Rebecca A. Wagenaar-Miller, Ph.D., as the director of the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA). In this role, Dr. Wagenaar-Miller will lead a team that develops, implements, and disseminates NIDCD extramural review and grants management policies and procedures. She will also oversee the Grants Management Branch, the Scientific Review Branch, and staff within the DEA.

The NIDCD's extramural program funds research and training opportunities at universities, medical centers, and other institutions throughout the U.S. and abroad through research grants, career development awards, and other mechanisms. The DEA plans and directs an integrated program of scientific peer review and administrative oversight for grants supporting research and research training in the normal processes and diseases/disorders of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language to ensure maximum utilization of available resources in attainment of institute objectives. DEA directs the institute's concept clearance process for potential initiatives, manages the institute's advisory council and related processes; directs additional research-related programs such as committee management, NIH Certificates of Confidentiality, and Freedom of Information Act processes; and advises on, develops, and coordinates the institute's research grant/contract review and management policies.

“Dr. Wagenaar-Miller’s extensive experience in developing and implementing extramural research policy for NIH will be critical in helping to guide high-level scientific policy and programmatic resource decisions for the NIDCD,” said Debara L. Tucci, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., director of the NIDCD. “I am delighted to welcome her to the NIDCD leadership team, and I am excited to see her passion for leadership in research administration applied toward extramural efforts that improve health for millions of people with hearing loss and other communication disorders.”

Dr. Wagenaar-Miller earned a Ph.D. in cancer biology from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She completed a research fellowship at NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and a postdoctoral research fellowship in Vanderbilt’s Department of Cancer Biology. She published numerous peer-reviewed articles on cancer biology prior to beginning her career in extramural research policy at NIH.

Dr. Wagenaar-Miller’s experience guiding extramural research policy spans multiple NIH institutes and offices. She previously served as deputy director of the Division of Extramural Activities at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where she supported NIMH extramural research; supervised grants management and extramural review; and served as the executive secretary for the NIMH’s advisory council. Prior to that, she was chief of the Extramural Policy Branch within the NIMH’s DEA, directing all activities related to extramural research policy. During this time, she also co-chaired an NIH extramural committee that developed new review criteria focused on streamlining processes and reducing the administrative burden of multi-component funding opportunity announcements. Prior to NIMH, Dr. Wagenaar-Miller served as the acting director of the Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations, and operations chief of the Office of Extramural Research Policy and Operations, at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and served as a scientific review officer within the NIH’s NIDCR.

“I am honored that Dr. Tucci has entrusted me with this position,” said Dr. Wagenaar-Miller. “The NIDCD’s Division of Extramural Activities has outstanding science policy experts. I look forward to leading this team of professionals. We will work together to further extramural research efforts that advance evidence-based treatments for communication disorders, which affect an ever-growing segment of the population.”

Among Dr. Wagenaar-Miller’s numerous honors and awards are six NIMH Director’s Awards, five NIAID MERIT Awards, one NIH Director Award, and two NIH Office of the Director (OD) Honor Awards.

Dr. Wagenaar-Miller begins her new position on July 18, 2021.

“I would like to thank Craig Jordan, Ph.D., for his many years of service as the director of the DEA,” said Dr. Tucci. “Although he will be retiring at the end of August, Dr. Jordan will remain as co-director of the DEA until his departure, working alongside Dr. Wagenaar-Miller to familiarize her with NIDCD processes and share his extensive experience and knowledge. Dr. Jordan’s in-depth knowledge of NIH policy and his wise leadership have positioned us well as Dr. Wagenaar-Miller assumes her role in the coming weeks.”

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