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NCI Deputy Director for Scientific Strategy and Development

Dinah Singer, Ph.D.

NCI Deputy Director for Scientific Strategy and Development

As the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) deputy director for scientific strategy and development, Dinah Singer, Ph.D., works closely with the NCI director and other deputy directors to carry out the institute’s mission. Prior to taking on this role in 2019, she served as director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology (DCB), a position she held for 20 years. 

Dr. Singer also oversees the work of the Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives, Center for Research Strategy, Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, and Center for Cancer Training.

As deputy director, Dr. Singer leads a number of key initiatives at NCI. In early 2020, as part of NCI’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the rapid creation of the Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet) to expand serological testing capacity and research to characterize the immune responses elicited by the SARS-CoV-2 viral infection.

Dr. Singer co-chaired the Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) of experts to develop the scientific direction of the Cancer MoonshotSM, a $1.8 billion initiative to accelerate cancer research. She continues to lead NCI's implementation of the Cancer Moonshot, which has resulted in 240 new research activities to address the BRP's recommendations. 

Additionally, Dr. Singer plays a crucial role in overseeing NCI’s participation in the institute’s partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) to fund the Cancer Grand Challenges (CGC) program. The CGC partnership will identify compelling cancer research opportunities, facilitate global collaboration to solve these challenges, and fund innovative ideas that will further advance fundamental biological knowledge and its clinical application to cancer.

Dr. Singer also oversaw the initial implementation of the Outstanding Investigator Award (R35), which supports investigators with outstanding records of productivity in cancer research, and the NCI Research Specialist Award (R50), which provides funding opportunities for exceptional scientists who do not serve as independent investigators but want to pursue research within an existing cancer research program.

Dr. Singer additionally serves in leadership positions on a variety of trans-NIH scientific and administrative committees, including the NIH Common Fund, a program that addresses emerging scientific opportunities and pressing challenges in biomedical research that are of high priority for NIH as a whole. 

Dr. Singer is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Association for Cancer Research and continues to serve as a senior investigator in the Experimental Immunology Branch and head of the Molecular Regulation Section in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research

Her research interests are in the areas of regulation of transcription, gene expression, and molecular immunology. Dr. Singer's research is focused on interrogating the regulatory networks governing transcription to generate an integrated understanding of the interplay between promoter elements and transcription complexes that establish appropriate regulation of gene expression across diverse cellular and tissue environments.

In addition to having a lifelong interest in research, Dr. Singer has also been deeply committed to training the next generation of researchers. Throughout her career, she has mentored many postdoctoral fellows, postbaccalaureate students, and high school students, who have gone on to successful scientific careers.

Dr. Singer received her B.S. in biology and life sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in human genetics and biochemistry from Columbia University. Following her postdoctoral fellowship in NCI’s Laboratory of Biochemistry, she became a senior investigator in the Immunology Branch.

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