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Staff Profile: David Eckstein

David J. Eckstein, Ph.D.

Health Scientist Administrator

Office of Rare Diseases Research

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

E-mail David J. Eckstein


David Eckstein is a health scientist administrator in the Office of Rare Diseases Research. He previously served as a program director in the Cancer Training Branch of the National Cancer Institute, managing a large portfolio of career development awards and individual and institutional training grants. Eckstein came to NIH in 1996 as a technical information specialist in the Indexing Section of the National Library of Medicine. From 2000 to 2003, he served as a program analyst at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, where, in addition to his analyst duties, he managed a portfolio of neuro-AIDS and prion diseases grants and contracts. During his time at NIH, Eckstein also has been selected to be a congressional fellow, working for six months in a House member’s personal office, and an Excellence in Government fellow.

Eckstein received a B.S. in zoology and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Ph.D. in cell biology/anatomy from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston.

Professional Interests

Eckstein is passionate about serving the rare disease community. He serves on a number of trans-NIH work groups, including several neurological and neuromuscular disease work groups. Eckstein initiated the first “Rare Disease Day at NIH” event and continues to lead the planning for this annual event. He also serves as the point person for patient advocacy groups and works to bring them together with the relevant researchers, NIH program staff and industry partners to help move rare disease research forward collaboratively.