FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2012
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announces the appointment of Matthew J. Fenton, Ph.D., to the position of director of the NIAID Division of Extramural Activities (DEA). DEA oversees policy and management for NIAID’s grants and contracts; manages research training awards, international programs and extramural staff training; and conducts initial peer review of solicited grant and contract applications. The division also oversees the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council and other chartered committees. Dr. Fenton will serve as the NIAID representative to the NIH Extramural Program Management Committee and as a senior advisor within NIAID on grants and contracts policy.
Dr. Fenton joined NIAID in June 2005 as chief of the Asthma, Allergy and Inflammation Branch in the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation. As branch chief, his responsibilities centered on the support of basic, preclinical, and clinical research in asthma, allergic diseases, and related immune-mediated diseases. Under his direction, the branch initiated studies to better understand and manage food allergy, renewed support for a multi-site clinical research consortium working to reduce the burden of asthma on children in the inner city, and funded the research team that identified novel strains of the common cold virus present in the airways of inner-city children with asthma, among other important research advances.
During the height of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus outbreak, Dr. Fenton led NIAID’s effort to assess the safety and efficacy of a 2009 pandemic influenza vaccine in people with asthma. This was the first prospective clinical trial to evaluate the immune response to an influenza vaccine in people with severe asthma.
From 2008 to 2010, Dr. Fenton helped lead a multi-agency effort to create evidence-based clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy. These guidelines reflect the efforts of a 25-member expert panel and a coordinating committee representing NIH institutes, federal agencies, professional societies, and advocacy groups.
Dr. Fenton also played an integral role in the development of standardized outcome measures for NIH-initiated asthma clinical trials. The resulting report, developed over a two-year period and published in March 2012, establishes common measures and data-collection methods to enable researchers to compare their results more efficiently. NIH and other federal agencies will require the inclusion of the proposed outcomes in future government-funded asthma clinical research.
Before joining NIAID, Dr. Fenton was professor of Medicine, Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine from 2003 to 2005. He was on the faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine from 1988 to 2003, where he rose to the rank of professor of Medicine and Pathology.
Dr. Fenton received his B.S. degree in biological sciences from the University of Connecticut in 1979, his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Boston University in 1984, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1984 to 1988.
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 www.niaid.nih.gov.
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 www.nih.gov.
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Last Updated April 23, 2012
Last Reviewed April 23, 2012