Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1902, the private, nonprofit Institution has an annual budget of $16 million. It supports research in biology, astronomy and the earth sciences by 60 scientists and 120 fellows at five centers in the United States and Chile.
"Carnegie stands for tremendous excellence in science," said Singer. "It has a reputation for breaking new ground in important areas of research, for being adventurous in what it is willing to support, and for being small enough to be flexible."
Singer, 56, will become the first woman to lead the institution when she assumes her position March 1, 1988. She said she hopes to continue her research at NIH on genome organization in primates. "I expect to have a lab here, but my office will be at Carnegie," she said, referring to the future swapping of her administrative duties as a lab chief for those of an institution president.
For the past seven years Singer has been chief of the biochemistry lab within the Division of Cancer Biology and Diagnosis. She has made major contributions in nucleic acid chemistry and metabolism and the biochemistry of animal viruses, and has written on such issues as genetics and the law, genetic engineering, and ethical issues in biological research. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she received in 1984 the government's senior executive service outstanding performance award.
The Institution was looking for someone who was "highly respected by the scientific community," explained Robert Seamans, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees and a senior scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We wanted a person who would be respected for her accomplishments as a scientist, as well as someone who had demonstrated administrative skills. We were lucky to get Dr. Singer."
Ebert will retire from his position June 30 to become director of the Chesapeake Bay Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.