Gail E. Herman, MD, PhD, FACMG, physician and investigator in the Division and Center for Molecular and Human Genetics, is the new president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), the national professional organization for clinical genetics professionals.
Dr. Herman takes over from Wayne W. Grody , MD, PhD, of Los Angeles, Calif., who completed his two-year term at the 2013 Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, in March.
"I've been doing clinical genetics now for 30 years and while I think we've seen exciting new developments and technology before, the Human Genome Project, the first cloning of disease genes, I think there has never been a time as exciting or as likely to change the field of clinical medical genetics as right now. It's a really exciting time to be a geneticist and to be leading this medical professional organization," Dr. Herman said.
As president elect, Dr. Herman has spent much of her time helping the ACMG develop guidelines and best practice policies and procedures to keep up with the pace of the evolving technologies engulfing the field of medical genetics.
"I'm very proud of the policy statements and guidelines the College already has put out, or has in progress, related to next gen sequencing," Dr. Herman said. "I think we are clearly at the forefront of recommendations and helping to define policy going forward. There is a lot more to do and I would certainly like to see that continue during my term as president."
Dr. Herman graduated summa cum laude from Smith College, Northampton, MA with high honors in chemistry. She then entered the NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program at Duke University where she received a PhD in Biochemistry and an MD.
She completed residency training in Pediatrics and a fellowship in Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. She received a prestigious Lucille P. Markey Scholar Award in 1987 and joined the faculty in the Institute for (subsequently Department of) Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine in 1988 as an Assistant and then Associate Professor with tenure. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Clinical and Clinical Biochemical Genetics (lifetime certificates).
Dr. Herman joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University in 1997 and was promoted to Professor with tenure in 2000. She served as Director of the Division and Center for Molecular and Human Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics from 1998-2009 where she substantially expanded clinical pediatric genetics services, including a comprehensive metabolic diagnostic and treatment program.
She divides her time between her clinical practice of pediatric genetics and basic molecular genetics research. She has had funding from the NIH, as well as past foundation funding from the March of Dimes and Muscular Dystrophy Association. She is an author on more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and is an internationally recognized expert on Disorders of Cholesterol Biosynthesis.
More recently, her research has extended to the genetics of autism spectrum disorders. She is the Principal Investigator of a large, multisite project funded by the Department of Defense to develop a local registry of autism families and to identify autism susceptibility genes.
She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the ACMG from 2001-2007, representing Biochemical Genetics and was a course co-organizer (1999-2005) and lectured (1999-2005, 2011-2013) on Biochemical Genetics in the ACMG Sponsored Genetics Review Course. She served on the ACMG Program Committee (2000-2005) and was Program Chair for the College's 2004 annual meeting in Orlando, FL. She has been named in Best Doctors continuously since 1996, with listings in the fields of medical genetics and pediatric metabolic diseases.
Dr. Herman said that during her tenure she would continue the College's efforts in education, training and attracting new students into the field of medical genetics.
"We need to work very hard to get more people into the field," she said. "There are already a lot of initiatives that have been started and I want to continue those and bring them further as we go forward."