Harvard Medical School research dean leaving for industry job

After just three years at Harvard Medical School, Dr. William W. Chin, executive dean for research will leave next month for a job with a pharmaceutical trade group in Washington, D.C.

Chin has presided over research at the medical school during a difficult time, as federal funding for biomedical research has decreased and Harvard’s primate research center was mired in animal care problems. Harvard Medical School also ran an operating deficit of $28.8 million in fiscal year 2012, caused partly by the decline in research funding as the money made available through the stimulus package ended.

Chin “has been a trusted advisor to me, a valued collaborator to many and a good friend to all of us,” Dr. Jeffrey Flier, dean of the medical school, wrote in an e-mail announcing Chin’s pending departure. “I have relied on his counsel on many issues, especially those that relate to the nature of translational medicine and the interface between industry and academia.”

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Chin has a dual background, with experience in the pharmaceutical industry and heading an academic laboratory. Prior to becoming executive dean for research at Harvard in 2010, he worked at Eli Lilly and Company.

Chin will begin his new job as executive vice president for science and regulatory affairs at the trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, on July 1. No successor has been announced. Flier instead said in his letter that he will develop a plan over the next few months to “provide ongoing support for the roles that Bill has served over the past three years.”