Gwen Collman, Ph.D.


Gwen W. Collman, Ph.D.

Speaker Year: 2011

Commencement Speech


Gwen Collman is director of the The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Division of Extramural Research and Training where she leads approximately 60 professional staff in areas of scientific program administration, peer review, and the management and administration of about 1,500 active grants each year. She directs scientific activities across the field of environmental health sciences including basic sciences (i.e., DNA repair, epigenetics, environmental genomics), organ-specific toxicology (i.e., reproductive, neurotoxicology, respiratory), public health related programs (i.e., environmental epidemiology, environmental public health), and training and career development. She also oversees the implementation of the Superfund Research Program and the Worker Education and Training Program.

Prior to her current role, Collman served in program development and management, beginning in 1992 as a member, then as Chief of the Susceptibility and Population Health Branch. During this time, she directed research on the role of genetic and environmental factors on the development of human disease, from animal models of genetic susceptibility to population studies focusing on etiology and intervention. She was responsible for building the NIEHS grant portfolio in environmental and molecular epidemiology, and developed several complex multidisciplinary research programs. These include the NIEHS Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers Program, the NIEHS/EPA Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention, and the Genes, Environment and Health Initiative. Also, under her guidance, a team created a vision for the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health programs for the next decade.

In recognition of her achievements, she is the recipient of numerous NIEHS Merit Awards, two NIH Director's Awards, and the DHHS Secretary's Award for
Distinguished Service. Collman received a Ph.D. in Environmental Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health where she was
awarded the 2009 H.A. Tyroler Distinguished Alumni Award.