Staff Profile: Penny W. Burgoon

Penny W. Burgoon
Penny W. Burgoon, Ph.D.


Office of Policy, Communications and Education

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Penny W. Burgoon


Penny Burgoon, Ph.D., is the director of the Office of Policy, Communications and Education (OPCE), where she has focused the Office’s efforts on strategic policy and communications, with an emphasis on educating others about and disseminating information on the value of effective translational science to benefit research. She joined NCATS in July 2014 as the chief of the Science Policy Branch, served as the acting director of OPCE in 2016, and was appointed permanent OPCE director in 2018.

Prior to her tenure at NCATS, she was the director of the Salivary Biology and Immunology Program for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, where she managed a portfolio of research in salivary biology, salivary gland disorders and diseases. Burgoon joined NIH in 2004 as an American Association for the Advancement of Science AAAS Science Policy Fellow, providing program support for the first NIH-wide projects supported through the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, now known as the NIH Common Fund. She then served as the senior assistant to the NIH principal deputy director from 2006 to 2010, coordinating activities across several NIH leadership committees, including the NIH Steering Committee, the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director, and Institute and Center Directors’ meetings. Throughout her NIH career, she has been a member of numerous committees, serving all of NIH or its individual Institutes and Centers.

Burgoon received her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, her master’s degree from California State University, Northridge, and her doctorate in physiology from The Ohio State University.

Professional Interests

Burgoon enjoys communicating about the value of science and the scientific method. She strives to take the mystery out of translational science to help audiences realize its potential.