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Director’s Biography

Joni Rutter

Image Credit: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences  
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Joni L. Rutter, Ph.D.  
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences  
National Institutes of Health

Joni L. Rutter, Ph.D., is the director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She oversees the planning and execution of the center’s complex, multifaceted programs that aim to overcome scientific and operational barriers slowing the development and delivery of new treatments and other health solutions.

Under Rutter’s direction, NCATS supports new tools and approaches to make each step in the translational process more effective and efficient. A key goal is to speed research across a range of diseases, with a particular focus on rare diseases. By advancing the science of translation, NCATS helps turn promising research discoveries into real-world applications that improve people’s health.

In her prior role as the NCATS deputy director, Rutter worked with colleagues from government, academia, industry and nonprofit patient organizations to create robust interactions with NCATS programs.

Before joining NCATS, Rutter was the director of scientific programs within the All of Us Research Program. She led scientific programmatic development and implementation efforts to build a national research cohort of 1 million or more U.S. participants to advance precision medicine.

While at NIH, she also led the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In this role, she developed and coordinated research on basic and clinical neuroscience, brain and behavioral development, genetics, epigenetics, computational neuroscience, bioinformatics, and drug discovery. Rutter also coordinated the NIDA Genetics Consortium and biospecimen repository.

During her career, Rutter has earned a national and international reputation for her diverse and unique expertise via her journal publications. She has received several scientific achievement awards, including the 2022 Rare Disease Legislative Advocates–RareVoice Award for Federal Advocacy and the 2022 FedHealthIT–Women in Leadership Impact Award.

Rutter received her Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, and completed a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute within the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

Last updated on January 24, 2024