NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Claire Fraser-Liggett has resigned as president of the Institute for Genomic Research and will leave TIGR on April 20, GenomeWeb has learned.
It was not immediately clear who will take her place at TIGR, which is a division of the J. Craig Venter Institute.
News of Fraser-Liggett’s departure was disclosed in an e-mail sent to JCVI colleagues by Craig Venter, JCVI president and CEO, which said she will leave “to pursue a new position.”
“We are not making a media announcement at this time because she is still in the process of final negotiations regarding her new position,” Venter said in the e-mail.
“Even though one of our close colleagues is moving on, the important and collaborative work of the Institute continues in full swing,” Venter continued.
He said the “major contracts” the institute has with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other government agencies “will be remaining with the Institute.”
The NIAID program refers to a large-scale microbial sequencing project, which a source close to the program said is TIGR’s second-largest. Fraser-Liggett has been the project leader.
According to Venter’s e-mail, the institute has “been meeting with government representatives to assure them of continuity in leadership, administration, and most of all — great science. We are very excited about ongoing infectious disease and microbial genomics work at the Institute. We will be building and expanding upon our existing solid framework with new major recruitments in both infectious diseases and microbial genomics.”
A Venter Institute spokesperson did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
Fraser-Liggett, who is Venter’s former wife, has been TIGR president and director since September 1998. Her decision to resign comes five months after TIGR and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation “consolidated” under the JCVI in early October.
Following the consolidation, Venter became president and chief executive officer of JCVI. Fraser-Liggett remained as president of TIGR, and Robert Strausberg, group leader of human genome medicine at the Venter Institute, became president of the Center for the Advancement of Genomics. TIGR and TCAG became divisions of the JCVI.
According to a 2005 tax document filed with the Internal Revenue Service Fraser-Liggett was paid $463,863 and Venter was paid $413,074 that year.
A person familiar with these events said Fraser-Liggett’s departure “is a minor denouement of what’s been going on” at the institutes over the past several years.
The integration of TIGR, TCAG and the JCVI came two years after Venter consolidated what at the time were four independent non-profit organizations — the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives, the Center for the Advancement of Genomics, and the foundation's Joint Technology Center — into the J. Craig Venter Institute.