Dean Michael Lairmore has been appointed to a prestigious five-year term on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils. He will join the group of other scientists in the first meeting of newly appointed members next week.

The Council is made up of approximately 30 members, selected from NIH Institutes and Centers (IC) Advisory Councils, representatives nominated by the Office of the Director program offices, and broad lay representation, including a member of the NIH Council of Public Representatives. The NIH Reform Act of 2006, signed into law by former President George W. Bush in January 2007, established the Council of Councils and affirmed the importance of NIH and its vital role in advancing biomedical research to improve the health of the Nation.

“Meeting the other transdisciplinary scientists on the committee—all high-level scientists from different backgrounds—brings an intellectual excitement, but you also learn from their perspective and bring it back,” said Lairmore, who is the only trained veterinarian on the council. 

Lairmore brings a strong background as a research scientist to the NIH council as well as his expertise as a veterinarian. He is a member of numerous esteemed national boards and committees, and is one of the few veterinarians elected as a Member of the National Academy of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. 

Dean Lairmore is a scientist who bridges multiple disciplines to address basic questions related to viral causes of cancer. His research has provided significant breakthroughs in the biology of human retroviruses and the understanding of viral-associated carcinogenesis. He has authored or co-authored 190 scientific publications.

The Council advises the NIH Director on matters related to the policies and activities of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI). That includes making recommendations with respect to the conduct and support of research that represents important areas of emerging scientific opportunities, rising public health challenges, or knowledge gaps that deserve special emphasis and would benefit from conducting or supporting additional research that involves collaboration between two or more national research institutes or national centers, or would otherwise benefit from strategic coordination and planning. 

Members additionally serve as an external advisory panel to the IC Directors during the “concept approval” stage of the NIH Roadmap initiative review process. The concept approval stage involves the consideration of a list of potential trans-NIH initiatives developed by the DPCPSI staff after receiving input from multiple sources.

Professor Kent Lloyd, former associate dean for Research and Graduate Education at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, served on the Council from 2011-2014.

“As a veterinarian with a One Health background, I feel that I can bring a unique perspective to the group,” Lairmore said. “I’m proud to represent UC Davis at the national level.”

A roster of the full Council of Councils with further information about the members is posted on the council's website.