Clayton, who joined HHMI in 1996, has announced that he will retire on August 31.
David A. Clayton, who joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1996, has announced that he will retire on August 31 as Vice President for Research Operations.
Clayton has contributed to the scientific leadership of HHMI in several positions, first as a senior scientific officer starting in 1996 and then as vice president for science development in 2000, playing a key role in the decision to develop HHMI's Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Va. He served as the Institute's vice president and chief scientific officer from 2001–2007 and was responsible for managing the flagship investigator program. Following his retirement from administrative duties, Clayton will devote more time to his laboratory at Janelia Farm.
As Vice President for Research Operations, Clayton has been responsible for managing the resources that support more than 300 HHMI investigators and their laboratories across the country, representing a total annual spending of more than $500 million and capital investments of more than $1.3 billion.
“David's scientific acumen has allowed him to contribute in multiple ways at HHMI, which has been important for the Institute and for me personally,” said Thomas R. Cech, HHMI president.
Throughout his tenure as an administrator at HHMI, Clayton remained active in research, and his laboratory has been based at Janelia Farm since it opened in 2006. A biochemist, he has studied the human mitochondrial genome and has made important discoveries about its genetic content and mechanisms of its replication and expression. This has led to fundamental insights in how defects in mitochondrial genes cause disease. His research group is currently using high-resolution imaging techniques to better understand mitochondrial structure, how the mitochondrial genome is organized with proteins and distributed throughout the cell, and how the mitochondria trade information with other parts of the cell.
Clayton, 64, received his undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University and earned his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1970. He joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1970. Promoted to professor of pathology in 1982 and appointed professor of developmental biology in 1989, Clayton also oversaw Stanford's medical scientist training program for 20 years.