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Elias Adam Zerhouni

Elias Adam Zerhouni


Zerhouni, a chair of radiology and executive vice dean at Johns Hopkins, was born in Nedroma, Algeria. He earned his medical degree from the University of Algiers School of Medicine in 1975, then came to Johns Hopkins for a residency in diagnostic radiology.

Zerhouni joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1978 as an instructor of radiology and was promoted the next year to assistant professor. From 1981 to 1985, he worked at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. He then returned to Johns Hopkins as an associate professor of radiology and director of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) division. He was promoted to professor in 1992, and to chairman of the department in 1996. Zerhouni also served as executive vice dean, vice dean for clinical affairs and president of the Clinical Practice Association from 1996 to 1999; as vice dean for research from 1999 to 2000; and as executive vice dean for the School of Medicine from 2000 to 2002.

Among his many contributions to Johns Hopkins, Zerhouni was instrumental in creating the Institute for Cell Engineering. He focused much of his research on developing computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging methods to diagnose and treat cancer as well as cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other diseases. He founded or co-founded five companies based on the MRI division’s research and inventions.

In 2002, Zerhouni was appointed director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by U.S. President George W. Bush. He served for six years, stepping down in 2008. Under his leadership, the NIH embarked on a number of initiatives, chief among them the Roadmap for Medical Research, designed to enhance synergy and collaborative work among all twenty-seven NIH institutes and centers. This work led to the passing of the NIH Reform Act of 2006. He made headlines in 2005 for banning NIH scientists from accepting consulting fees, stock, or any other compensation from the biomedical industry. Other new programs he started included those designed to foster high-risk but potentially high-impact research, and enhanced support for young career scientists.

In 2009, Zerhouni rejoined Johns Hopkins as a senior advisor. He formed the Zerhouni Group, LLC, a global science and health consulting firm in 2010. A year later, he was named head of global research and development of French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

Zerhouni has served on the boards of the Lasker Foundation, Research America, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the Mayo Clinic Foundation. He was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2000. Zerhouni was named chair of the Maryland Economic Development Commission in April, 2009.

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