Patricia A. Powell, Ph.D., became NIAAA Deputy Director on September 17, 2017.  Previously, Dr. Powell held the position of NIAAA Associate Director for Scientific Initiatives. In that role she oversaw a broad range of research activities, sought opportunities to jumpstart or expand projects that reflect the Director’s priorities, and identified opportunities for NIAAA to become more involved in existing activities and initiatives across NIH, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and beyond. 

In November 2015, Dr. Powell was appointed Acting Deputy Director following the retirement of Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D. Prior to that, Dr. Powell was Chief of the NIAAA Science Policy Branch. She joined NIAAA as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow at the National Science Foundation, focusing on bringing cutting-edge science to the public through science museums, television and radio programs, and IMAX films.
At NIAAA, Dr. Powell has been actively involved in many aspects of underage drinking prevention. She served as one of two scientific editors for The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, and she worked closely with the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free Initiative, spearheaded by spouses of current and former Governors and focused on the prevention of drinking by children ages 9–15.
Dr. Powell has 20 years of research experience in developmental genetics and cellular and molecular biology. She received her Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Washington University in St. Louis and, following that, did postdoctoral studies at the Salk Institute, the University of California at San Diego, and Washington University in St. Louis.