Dr. Thomas Insel, Former NIMH Director, Named to Autism Science Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board

February 23, 2016

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Tom headshot

NEW YORK, NY (February 23, 2016) – The Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and funding innovative autism research, today announced that Dr. Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and currently Director, Clinical Neuroscience, in Alphabet Inc.’s Verily Life Sciences division, has joined the organization’s scientific advisory board. As director of the NIMH for thirteen years, and chairman of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) for eight years, Dr. Insel was responsible for overseeing the creation and implementation of the federal strategic plan for autism research.

“We are deeply honored to have Dr. Insel, a remarkable leader and champion of autism and mental health research, join the Autism Science Foundation and help inform the scientific direction of our organization,” said Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation.“ At the NIMH, Tom was instrumental in developing public-private partnerships that led to great progress in autism research and improved outcomes for people with autism. His expertise and wisdom will be invaluable assets to ASF.”

“The Autism Science Foundation is a remarkably effective catalyst for advancing innovative autism science and the work of promising young researchers,” said Dr. Insel. “I’m delighted to work with Alison, her team, and ASF’s esteemed scientific advisory board members to continue this organization’s essential work supporting critically-needed autism research.”

Thomas R. lnsel, M.D., a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, who joined Verily (formerly known as the Life Sciences Team at Google) in December, 2015. Previously he was Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed to research on mental disorders. Dr. Insel served as Director of this $1.5B agency from 2002 until 2015. During his tenure, Dr. Insel focused on the genetics and neurobiology of mental disorders as well as transforming approaches to diagnosis and treatment. Prior to serving as NIMH Director, Dr. Insel was Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University where he was founding director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and director of the Yerkes Regional Primate Center in Atlanta. Dr. Insel’s research has examined the neural basis of complex social behaviors, including maternal care and attachment. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, he has received numerous national and international awards and served in several leadership roles at NIH, including as founding co-leader of both the NIH BRAIN Initiative and the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint and interim Director of the National Center for Accelerating Translational Sciences (NCATS).

About the Autism Science Foundation

The Autism Science Foundation (ASF) is a 501(c) (3) public charity. Its mission is to support autism research by providing funding to scientists and organizations conducting autism research. ASF also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. To learn more about the Autism Science Foundation or to make a donation visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org.