Bethesda, Maryland — National Institutes of Health Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. today announced the appointment of Ting-Kai Li, M.D. as the new director of the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Dr. Li is currently Distinguished Professor, Department of Medicine, and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, where he also serves as Director of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center. Dr. Li is expected to assume his new duties within the next few weeks.

"It gives me great pleasure that one of our nation’s preeminent scientists in the alcohol research field will be taking the helm at NIAAA to lead our federal alcohol research efforts,” said Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). "There’s much to be done to protect all Americans from the tragedy of alcohol abuse and alcoholism."

"Dr. Li has been at the forefront of discovery in alcohol research throughout his illustrious career," added Dr. Zerhouni. “His unparalleled scholarship and proven leadership abilities will enable NIAAA to continue to capitalize on the diverse scientific opportunities in biomedical, clinical, and prevention research. I am looking forward to working closely with him on the strategic issues facing this field.”

Dr. Li replaces Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D., who has served as Acting Director of NIAAA since January 2002 following the retirement of Enoch Gordis, M.D., NIAAA Director from 1986 to 2002.

“I am honored to come to NIAAA at this exciting time,” said Dr. Li. “Great progress has been made over the last two decades in our scientific knowledge base of genetics, neurobiology, and the behavioral and other aspects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. I am confident that by diligently expanding the boundaries of our knowledge we will continue to improve ways of preventing and treating these important public health problems.”

The author of more than 400 journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Li has produced ground-breaking research in several areas, including alcohol metabolism and animal models of alcoholism. He is a major participant in two NIAAA-supported research consortia — the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) and the Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA).

Dr. Li received his medical degree from Harvard University in 1959. He joined the faculty of Indiana University School of Medicine in 1971 and served as the Associate Dean for Research from 1986-2000. Recognition of Dr. Li’s research accomplishments include: the Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine, the Research Society on Alcoholism Award for Research Excellence; the James B. Isaacson Award for Research in Chemical Dependency Disease; the Jellinek Award; the R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award; an Honorary Degree (D.Sc.) from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine; and the Mark Keller Honorary Lecture Award. Dr. Li is an Honorary Fellow of the Society for the Study of Addiction (UK); and is a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. He is the current Editor of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.