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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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About NIMH Acting Deputy Director Susan Koester, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Koester headshot

Dr. Susan Koester is currently serving as the Acting NIMH Deputy Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH aims to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. In this role, Dr. Koester plays a part in defining the institute's research priorities, policies, and strategic initiatives and overseeing various aspects of NIMH's operations. 

Since 2007, Dr. Koester served as the Deputy Director of the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS). The division supports research ranging from human genetics through molecular, cellular, integrative, and systems neurobiology relevant to mental disorders. In addition, Dr. Koester has co-lead the NIH Common Fund Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTex) Program  and served as the NIMH liaison for the NIH Common Fund High-Risk, High-Reward Research (HRHR)  programs. 

Before joining DNBBS, Dr. Koester served as the Associate Director for Science in the NIMH Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP) and as a science writer in what was previously known as the NIMH Office of Science Policy.

Dr. Koester received her Ph.D. in Neural Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute, and served as Senior Editor at Neuron.