Staff Profile: Nicole J. Garbarini

Nicole J. Garbarini, Ph.D.

Senior Science Policy Advisor

Office of Policy, Communications and Education
Policy Branch

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Nicole J. Garbarini


Nicole Garbarini is the senior science policy advisor in the Policy Branch of NCATS’ Office of Policy, Communications and Education. She supports the NCATS mission by advising on science policy and operational activities for scientific management and programmatic initiatives and by implementing and operationalizing processes in support of these efforts. Since joining NCATS, Garbarini has advised on and developed processes for accessing, sharing and governing data and has co-chaired the Data Access Committee for the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C).

Prior to joining NCATS, Garbarini held several leadership roles in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of the Director. As special assistant to the NIH principal deputy director, she participated in trans-NIH groups and represented NIH to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leadership and to public and congressional stakeholders. Garbarini’s leadership of several activities under the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director resulted in recommendations and the development of biomedical workforce initiatives and actions to bolster scientific integrity and public trust in research. She has served on the leadership teams for several trans-NIH initiatives, such as the 2019 Research Facilities Construction Initiative of the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, which invested $50 million in the support of the modernization of established and emerging research institution facilities. Prior to her role in the NIH Immediate Office of the Director, Garbarini collaborated with NIH Office of Extramural Research and served as a media spokesperson for NIH extramural research policy and processes for more than five years. During her tenure at NIH, Garbarini has conducted scientific communications and program analysis for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Her participation in the evaluation of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs at NHLBI led to the creation of the Office of Translational Alliances and Coordination and was referenced in the National Academies’ reporting on the enhancement of the NIH-wide SBIR/STTR program.

In addition to her experience at NIH, Garbarini was a 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Fellow in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation. Prior to her federal service, she worked as a freelance science writer and was selected as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow of Scientific American in 2004. As associate reviews editor of Disease Models & Mechanisms, Garbarini launched one of the first research journals focused on translational research. Her predoctoral and postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University focused on the modulation of cation-chloride cotransporters through protein-protein interactions.

Professional Interests

Garbarini is passionate about supporting scientific research integrity and innovation, and she strives to develop scientific capital through workforce initiatives, cross-sector collaboration and diverse stakeholder engagement. She also aspires to create open and equitable dialogue between public and private partners to accelerate scientific discovery and serve patient needs.

Selected Publications

  1. NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Next Generation Researchers Initiative Working Group Report
  2. Putting Molecular Disease Research into Physiological Context
  3. Characterization of the Interaction of the Stress Kinase SPAK with the Na+-K+-2Cl- Cotransporter in the Nervous System: Evidence for a Scaffolding Role of the Kinase