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National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

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NIAID Press Office
(301) 402-1663
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NIAID’s Division of AIDS Fills Two Key Leadership Positions

Two senior-level scientists recently joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in key positions at the Division of AIDS. Sandra Lehrman, M.D., will serve as the director of the Therapeutics Research Program, and Jonathan M. Fishbein, M.D., will serve as the first director of the Office for Policy in Clinical Research Operations (OPCRO). Dr. Sandra Lehrman is a physician and virologist with more than 20 years of experience in HIV/AIDS therapeutics research in government, academia and industry. Dr. Fishbein is a physician with extensive experience overseeing clinical research for both industrial and academic endeavors, with a focus on clinical product development.

“NIAID is very fortunate to fill these important positions with such talented and accomplished senior scientists” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID director. “Their expertise will be critical in helping us face the challenges that lie ahead in HIV/AIDS research, particularly as our clinical research efforts continue to expand internationally.”

Dr. Sandra Lehrman

In her new position, Dr. Lehrman manages an array of programs designed to evaluate new treatment strategies and therapeutic agents for HIV and associated complications, and to determine the best use of these drugs and strategies in adults and children worldwide. In that capacity, she oversees several large clinical trials networks, including the Adult and Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Networks and the Community Program for Clinical Research on AIDS; collaborative efforts with other government agencies; and a large portfolio of investigator-initiated grants evaluating new therapeutic agents and combination treatment regimens. “Her leadership will be critical in guiding NIAID’s treatment research effort, especially as it continues to expand in resource-poor countries,” notes Edmund Tramont, M.D., director of DAIDS.

After graduating from Brown University, Dr. Lehrman began her professional career as a biologist in NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases. Subsequently, she returned to Brown and received an M.D. degree. She went on to complete her internship and residency training in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, and then joined the faculty at Duke University Medical School.

In 1983, Dr. Lehrman joined Burroughs Wellcome Co. There she oversaw a laboratory engaged in research focused on understanding the prevalence, biochemical basis, pathologic characteristics and clinical significance of drug-resistant viruses. She worked with the virology team to develop strategies for identifying and developing antiviral agents to treat HIV/AIDS, most notably AZT (zidovudine), the first licensed antiretroviral drug. She led the development of AZT from the laboratory bench to approval by the Food and Drug Administration, and contributed substantially to the development of the use of acyclovir for managing Herpes simplex and Varicella zoster infections.

During her career at Burroughs Wellcome, Dr. Lehrman advanced through several positions. She was responsible for the clinical research programs for antiviral agents for HIV, herpes and other infectious diseases, as well as for drugs for opportunistic infections. She was later promoted to Worldwide Director, Biotechnology and General Manager of Burroughs Wellcome Manufacturing Inc.

After a distinguished career at Burroughs Wellcome, Dr. Lehrman went on to spearhead the startup of several biotechnology companies, including Triangle Pharmaceuticals and CytoTherapeutics, Inc. Before joining the Division of AIDS, Dr. Lehrman was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Genzyme Transgenics Corporation.

Dr. Jonathan Fishbein

The Division of AIDS recently established the Office for Policy in Clinical Research Operations (OPCRO) to address the increasing scientific, ethical and legal complexities surrounding clinical trials, especially in international and resource-poor settings. As first director of the new office, Dr. Fishbein is responsible for overseeing the development, standardization, implementation and execution of policies, procedures and standards of conduct for clinical research in DAIDS scientific agenda. “Dr. Fishbein is committed to maintaining the highest scientific and operational integrity of trials while safeguarding the clinical trial volunteers,” notes Dr. Tramont.

Dr. Fishbein received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He trained in general surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and at the Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago before being appointed a medical staff fellow in the Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Under the mentorship of David H. Sachs, M.D., Dr. Fishbein investigated mechanisms of transplantation tolerance. He continued his research as a fellow in surgery at the Transplantation Biology Research Center of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School .

Dr. Fishbein joins the Division of AIDS after a 10-year tenure with PAREXEL International Corporation, a leading clinical research organization that conducts and oversees clinical trials for both industrial and academic endeavors. As the Vice President of PAREXEL’s North American Medical Services, he managed the medical, strategic and financial operations of approximately 400 clinical trials, including HIV and other infectious diseases. At PAREXEL, Dr. Fishbein expanded their safety services to include pharmacovigilance, and created an Independent Data Monitoring Board Service for pharmaceutical companies.

“Drs. Lehrman and Fishbein are valuable additions to the Division of AIDS and will help strengthen our research endeavors,” says Dr. Tramont. “We are excited and privileged to have successfully recruited such dedicated and experienced professionals to work with us.”

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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NIAID Archive

Important note: Information on this page was accurate at the time of publication. This page is no longer being updated.

Last Updated August 26, 2003