Barry Blumberg at HMP
[Photo: L to R: Marc Boucher, Pascal Lee, Sékou Crawford, Barry Blumberg, and Bill Clancy inside the Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island, August 2000 Larger image]

NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin named Dr. Baruch Blumberg, director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute and winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, as senior advisor to the Administrator, effective today.
As senior advisor, Blumberg will provide guidance for NASA’s newly created enterprise, the Office of Biological and Physical Research in its efforts to develop an interdisciplinary research program focused on biology, bringing together physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. Blumberg also will continue in his role as director of the Astrobiology Institute.
“Dr. Blumberg’s commitment to science is only exceeded by his commitment to excellence. NASA and the American taxpayers will greatly benefit from his contributions to the space program,” said Goldin. “His many contributions to the fields of human biology, infectious disease and genomics will help lay the foundation needed to integrate biological research and technology throughout NASA. I am delighted that he has agreed to accept this position.”
NASA will begin an immediate national search to fill key positions within the new enterprise as well as the Associate Administrator vacancy. NASA Chief Scientist Dr. Kathie L. Olsen, along with Blumberg, will lead the search team to fill key opportunities within the enterprise. Olsen will continue to serve as acting Associate Administrator until a replacement is named.
“The enterprise was restructured to strengthen the agency’s ability to meet the challenges brought about by the growth in areas such as molecular biology, nanotechnology, information technology and genomics,” said Olsen.
“NASA science is filled with discoveries of phenomena never seen before. This new enterprise will strengthen our ties with academia and other federal agencies to enlist their creative energies towards these discoveries,” said Blumberg.
Blumberg received a medical degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford University. For over 35 years, he has been associated with the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, and is a professor of medicine and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was Master of Balliol College in Oxford, England, between 1989 and 1994, and has taught human biology at Stanford University. Since his discovery of the hepatitis B vaccine and its widespread availability in 1982, the number of people infected with the disease worldwide has fallen dramatically.
Blumberg and his wife, Jean, are the parents of two daughters and two sons.