NIEHS & NTP Director, 2005-2007
David A. Schwartz, M.D., M.P.H., was the fourth director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the third director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) from May 22, 2005 to August 19, 2007.
Prior to working at NIEHS, Schwartz, a nationally recognized researcher and practicing physician specializing in environmental lung disease, served at Duke University, where he held concurrent positions at the Medical Center including Vice Chair for Research and Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Additionally, Schwartz was Professor in the Department of Medicine, Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at the University since 2000. While at Duke, Schwartz played a pivotal role in establishing three interdisciplinary Centers in Environmental Health Sciences, Environmental Genomics, and Environmental Asthma, illustrating his commitment to bring together an array of scientific expertise with state-of-the-art technology to tackle critical public and individual health issues.
Throughout his career as a physician-scientist, Schwartz has made numerous contributions toward understanding the role that biological and genetic determinants play in the onset of diseases like asthma and other chronic pulmonary diseases that are influenced by environmental exposures. His research identified endotoxins or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as an important cause of airway disease among those exposed to agricultural dusts. He is recognized for his role in identifying that a specific genetic variation in the Toll-4 gene is associated with a diminished airway response to inhaled LPS in humans, and that this same variation places individuals at higher risk of sepsis. Schwartz' interest in environmental and occupational lung disease has provided new insights into many other areas including; the pathophysiology and biology of asbestos induced lung disease, interstitial lung disease or lung scarring, environmental airway diseases, and innate immunity, or an organism's natural ability to resist diseases.
Schwartz has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed research papers, 38 book chapters, and a textbook. He has served on numerous editorial boards and scientific review committees including, most recently, the NIH/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Innovative Grant Program Review Committee and the VA Merit Review Board. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. The recipient of many awards, the American Thoracic Society presented Schwartz with a Scientific Accomplishment Award in 2003.
A native of New York, Schwartz earned his BA in biology from the University of Rochester in 1975. He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego, in 1979. After completing a residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Boston City Hospital, he completed a fellowship in Occupational Medicine at Harvard School of Public Health, where he received his MPH in 1985. While at the University of Washington, Schwartz completed a research fellowship in the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, then served as a Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellow. In 1988 he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa, where he rose through the ranks becoming Director of Occupational Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, until he joined Duke University in 2000. Schwartz is married to Louise Sparks and they have three children.
On February 8, 2008, Schwartz was named Director of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division and Center for Genetics and Therapeutics at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado.