Biosketch of Acting Associate Director, Division of Extramural Activities

Dennis Twombly, Ph.D.

Dennis Twombly headshot.Dennis Twombly, Ph.D., was named acting associate director of NICHD’s Division of Extramural Activities in June 2021.

He joined NICHD in 2009 as the deputy director of the Office of Extramural Policy, where he was focused on developing and interpreting NIH grant policies and administering NICHD’s extramural funding programs. He also served as NICHD’s lead training officer, overseeing NICHD’s National Research Service Award fellowships, career development awards, institutional training programs, and education grants. In 2015, he led a task force of subject matter experts and advisory council members to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the NICHD training and career development programs. He is the chair of NICHD’s Training Policy Committee and has been co-chair of the NIH-wide Training Advisory Committee since 2016.

Dr. Twombly has served on a variety of NIH-wide and NICHD committees to evaluate and foster diversity in the scientific workforce, including the team tasked with writing the NIH Diversity Strategic Plan (2016-2020). He also was a member of the NIH Biomedical Workforce and Physician-Scientist Workforce evaluation/review teams.

Dr. Twombly first came to NIH in 2001 as program director of neurophysiology and pharmacology at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In addition to his program responsibilities, he was a scientific review officer on NIAAA’s flagship P50/P60 Alcohol Research Centers program. Throughout his NIH career, Dr. Twombly has played a prominent role in organizing various science education and outreach activities for school systems, charitable foundations, federal agencies, and the public.

Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Twombly was a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology at the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago. He was the principal investigator of NIH research project grants on cellular mechanisms of action of antiepileptic drugs, effects of alcohol on neuronal ion channels and receptors, and mechanisms of alcohol and aging in cardiac ventricular myocytes.

Dr. Twombly received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a primary research focus on the neurophysiology of epilepsy. His training and research were supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute on Aging, and NIAAA.

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