FDA loses top scientist

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's top scientist is latest high-profile figure to leave the agency tasked with protecting consumers from hazardous products.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announced Thursday afternoon in an email to staff that chief scientist Jesse Goodman is leaving the agency to get back into academia and clinical medicine. 

Goodman was a key figure at the FDA for 15 years. Hamburg called him a "strong voice" for the FDA's scientific regulatory activities.

"(Goodman) worked closely with government and industry partners to help our nation prepare for and respond to major public health threats, including bioterrorism, West Nile Virus and other threats to blood and organ safety, and both seasonal and pandemic influenza," Hamburg wrote.

Goodman will lead Georgetown University's new Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship, while also serving as professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the school. Additionally, he will be the attending physician at the D.C. Veteran's Administration Hospital.

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, who is currently serving as chief medical officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA, will take over for Goodman as acting chief scientist. 

"Please join me in thanking Dr. Goodman for his many contributions and his commitment both to FDA and to public health and in wishing him well as he engages important public health issues from his new perspective," Hamburg wrote. "Please also help me welcome Dr. Ostroff to his new role."

Goodman is the latest top official at the FDA to leave the agency in recent months. John Taylor, counselor to the commissioner, top press officer Virginia Cox, senior adviser Jay Crowley and Deborah Autor, who was in charge of global regulations, departed as well.