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Thomas Insel to Leave NIMH

Thomas Insel will be stepping down from his post as director of the US National Institute of Mental Health at the beginning of November, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Insel has served as NIMH director since 2002, and during this time, NIH Director Francis Collins notes in a statement that the institute launched a number of initiatives, including the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, which brought together more than 500 researchers from some 80 institutions across 25 countries; the Research Domain Criteria effort to develop a new taxonomy for mental illness research; the National Database for Autism Research, and more. Collins adds that Insel has also been involved in trans-NIH and Department of Health and Human Services efforts like the NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) program, and efforts in molecular libraries, single-cell biology, and genotype-tissue expression.

After leaving NIMH, Insel will be joining Google Life Sciences at Alphabet. The GLS team focuses on developing technology to better detect, prevent, and manage health conditions, and Insel is to lead a new mental health effort there, the agency says.

Bruce Cuthbert will serve at the acting director of NIMH after Insel's departure, Collins adds. Cuthbert previously served as the director of the Division of Adult Translational Research at NIHM.