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Powderly to lead Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences

Public health expert will direct the NIH-funded institute

by Julia Evangelou StraitJune 7, 2019

Washington University

William G. Powderly, MD, the Dr. J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named director of the university’s Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS). The institute is funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Powderly’s appointment takes effect Sept. 1. He will take over leadership from Bradley A. Evanoff, MD, the Richard A. and Elizabeth Henby Sutter Professor of Occupational, Industrial and Environmental Medicine, who has held a leadership role in the ICTS since its inception in 2007. Evanoff will remain involved with the ICTS and continue his roles as a principal investigator researching work-related injuries and workplace health, and as director of the Division of General Medical Sciences. Christina A. Gurnett, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology and director of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology, will continue her role as associate director of the ICTS.

Evanoff helped guide the initial application to the NIH, winning in 2007 the university’s first Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program (CTSA) grant, which established and funds the ICTS. Under his leadership, the CTSA grant was renewed in 2011 and again in 2016.

Powderly, the Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health, also co-directs the Division of Infectious Diseases at the School of Medicine. Prior to joining Washington University, Powderly served as the dean of medicine and head of the School of Medicine and Medical Sciences at University College Dublin, Ireland.

“We thank Dr. Evanoff for his 12 years of exemplary leadership of the ICTS,” said David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor. “Under Dr. Evanoff’s leadership, the ICTS has truly become an academic and intellectual hub for preeminent clinical and translational research. It plays critical roles in supporting high-quality science and training the next generation of clinician-scientists.

“We also welcome Dr. Powderly to his new role leading the ICTS,” Perlmutter said. “He will manage the future growth and direction of the ICTS.”

The university’s ICTS is one of 57 such centers in the U.S. The institute works to advance clinical and translational sciences across the university and throughout the region. Rather than focus on a single specialty or disease, the facilities and resources supported by ICTS funds are intended to speed the adoption of research findings in disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment across the spectrum of health care.

“Reflecting over the past 12 years, I am tremendously proud of the work we’ve done together to build interdisciplinary clinical research career-development programs, and to create the ICTS as a catalyst and platform for outstanding clinical and translational research,” Evanoff said. “Our efforts have advanced the careers of hundreds of students, fellows and junior faculty, and have accelerated translational research at Washington University and at our partner institutions. Dr. Powderly is an internationally recognized clinical and translational researcher with extensive administrative experience. He has been closely involved in collaborations with ICTS for many years, and I am confident that the ICTS will thrive under his leadership.”

The Washington University ICTS is a regional consortium that includes important partnerships with BJC HealthCare, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri in Columbia.

ICTS funds have supported many research efforts that have resulted in major steps in understanding and treating disease, including the development and testing of new diagnostic methods, new drugs and other therapies. Washington University’s ICTS has actively promoted the career development of students and junior faculty, many of whom are emerging as leaders in their fields.

“It is a privilege to take over as director from Dr. Evanoff, who has laid a superb foundation for clinical and translational research at Washington University and its regional partners,” Powderly said. “The ICTS is well-positioned to bring advances in biomedical science into the clinical arena that can lead to significant improvements in individual and population health, and continue to foster the next generation of clinically active physician-scientists.”

Powderly is an infectious disease expert with a 30-year career in clinical research related to HIV infection. He has served as a member of many advisory boards related to HIV and infectious diseases, including for the NIH, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Canadian Institute for Health Research, and the European Medicines Agency. He is also a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, the Royal College of Physicians (London), the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is a past-president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,500 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Julia covers medical news in genomics, cancer, cardiology, developmental biology, otolaryngology, biochemistry & molecular biophysics, and gut microbiome research. In 2022, she won a gold award for excellence in the Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards competition. Given by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the award recognized her coverage of long COVID-19. Before joining Washington University in 2010, she was a freelance writer covering science and medicine. She has a research background with stints in labs focused on bioceramics, human motor control and tissue-engineered heart valves. She is a past Missouri Health Journalism Fellow and a current member of the National Association of Science Writers. She holds a bachelor's degree in engineering science from Iowa State University and a master's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota.