Who: Dr. Robert Califf, 63
New role: Deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco at the Food and Drug Administration, effective in late February.
Current position: Vice chancellor of clinical and translational research at the Duke University School of Medicine since 2006.
Background: Califf, a cardiologist, is founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, among the world's largest academic research organizations. He attended Duke as an undergraduate and graduated from the university's medical school, eventually becoming a faculty member in 1982. He is an author of more than 1,100 peer-reviewed articles and is editor-in-chief of the American Heart Journal.
Key issues: In his role at the FDA, where he will serve as the second-in-command under FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Califf will work on some of the agency's key regulatory issues, including personalized medicine and orphan drugs. The agency calls him a “recognized global leader in cardiology, clinical research and medical economics.”
Next in line?: Califf's appointment last week put Twitter abuzz with speculation that he would eventually be named the next FDA commissioner when a new administration takes over in 2017.