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Lasker Foundation Welcomes Elias Zerhouni to Board of Directors
Date:2/3/2009

Former Director of National Institutes of Health

NEW YORK, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced today the election of Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, the immediate past director of the National Institutes of Health and leader in biomedical research, to its Board of Directors.

"We are delighted that Dr. Zerhouni has agreed to join our Board of Directors," said Dr. Maria C. Freire, President of the Lasker Foundation. "The Lasker Foundation is entering a new era of opportunities for scientific advancement with the bold vision and spirit that drove our founders to transform the landscape of biomedical research. Dr. Zerhouni's vast experience will be a great asset to the Foundation."

"I am honored and I am looking forward to contributing to the noble missions of the Lasker Foundation in these days of rapid and challenging transformations in science and health," said Dr. Zerhouni.

Dr. Alfred Sommer, Chairman of the Lasker Foundation and Dean Emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University, joined Dr. Freire in expressing his enthusiasm. He said, "Dr. Zerhouni is a highly-respected leader in medicine worldwide, and he will bring much to the Board's deliberations."

Dr. Zerhouni served as director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) the world's foremost biomedical research agency from 2002 to 2008. He launched the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research in 2003 to fund compelling initiatives that no single NIH institute could support and established a series of new programs to encourage high-risk innovative research, to enhance interdisciplinary research at the interface of the physical and biological sciences, and to increase support for the independence of early career scientists. During his tenure, NIH tripled its international funding for global health, and it launched comprehensive plans for health disparities, obesity research, and the neurosciences.

About the Lasker Foundation:

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation fosters the prevention and treatment of disease and disabilities by honoring excellence in basic and clinical science, by educating the public, and by advocating for support of medical research.

Founded in 1942, the Lasker Foundation presents the prestigious Lasker Awards, which recognize the world's leaders in basic and clinical medical research, and individuals with outstanding public service. For much of the 20th Century, the Lasker Foundation was led by Mary Lasker, who was America's most prominent citizen-activist for public investment in medical research. Mary Lasker is widely credited with prodding the White House and the Congress to greatly expand federal funding for medical research, particularly through the National Institutes of Health.

Further information about the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation is available at www.laskerfoundation.org.


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SOURCE The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation
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