Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo to become first out NIAID director

Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo.
UAB Photo/Lexi Coon/via NIH

Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, an out lesbian STI expert who has been serving as the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will succeed Dr. Anthony Fauci as the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Fauci stepped down at the end of last year and Dr. Hugh Auchincloss, Jr. took over as acting NIAID director until the successor was picked. Marrazzo is set to be the first out LGBTQ person to hold this position — a notable point given Fauci’s record of working with the queer community for decades, including through the AIDS crisis.

“Dr. Marrazzo brings a wealth of leadership experience from leading international clinical trials and translational research, managing a complex organizational budget that includes research funding and mentoring trainees in all stages of professional development,” Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, the acting NIH director, said in a written statement. “I look forward to welcoming Dr. Marrazzo to the NIH leadership team.”

Marrazzo has been known for her expertise in HIV and her research into PrEP and the human microbiome. According to the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Marrazzo is also well known for her research on hormonal contraception and infections of the female reproductive tract. She has served as a principal investigator for NIH grants since 1997.

Marrazzo received her bachelor’s degree at Harvard University before going on to earn an MD at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Washington.

Before working at the University of Alabama, Marrazzo was employed as a professor at the University of Washington. 

PrEP4All, which is dedicated to ensuring that HIV medication is available to all who need it, praised the decision to appoint Marrazzo as the new director.

“At a time where infectious disease threats are on the rise globally and preventive and sexual health has come under attack for women and LGBTQ communities around the world, Dr. Marrazzo’s demonstrated commitment to addressing HIV and STIs in marginalized populations will be of enormous value in ensuring that the research needs of vulnerable communities are met,” PrEP4All said in a written statement. 

Fauci, meanwhile, recently joined the faculty at Georgetown as a distinguished university professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.