headshot croppedPatricia A. Powell, Ph.D.

Patricia A. Powell, Ph.D. serves as the Associate Director for Scientific Initiatives at the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA), one of the 27 Institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role, she oversees a broad range of research activities, seeks opportunities to jump-start or expand projects that reflect the Director’s priorities, and identifies opportunities for NIAAA to become more involved in in existing activities and initiatives across the NIH, the Department of Health and Human Services and beyond. Since joining NIAAA, she has been actively involved in many aspects of underage drinking prevention: currently she is involved in NIAAA’s efforts focused on college drinking and represents NIAAA on the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking charged with integrating federal efforts to prevent underage drinking; she served as one of two scientific editors for The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking and worked closely with three successive SGs in producing, promoting and disseminating it; and she worked closely with the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free Initiative spearheaded by spouses of current and former Governors and focused on the prevention of drinking by children ages 9-15. Prior to joining NIAAA, she was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellow at the National Science Foundation focusing on how to provide information about cutting edge science to the public through science museums, television and radio programs and IMAX films. Dr. Powell has twenty years of research experience in developmental genetics, and cellular and molecular biology. She received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and following that did post-doctoral studies at the Salk Institute, University of California at San Diego, and at Washington University in St. Louis.