Raynard S. Kington, currently director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the frontrunner to become NIH's new Principal Deputy Director, The Scientist has learned. His nomination, which could be announced any day, would make him the highest-ranking African-American scientist in NIH history.

Kington would also break the mold for NIH principal deputies in that he has neither a long history with the agency nor a background in biological sciences research. Kington has been with NIH for little more than two years. He was appointed in October 2000 by then-Principal Deputy Director Ruth L. Kirschstein to be both director and associate director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. Kington also served as acting director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism until November 2002, when T.K. Li was named to the post.

Kirschstein stepped down as principal deputy...

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