Rear Admiral (RADM) Richard Childs, M.D., Assistant U.S. Surgeon General, is the Clinical Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Division of Intramural Research (DIR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and is the Section Chief of the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunotherapy in the NHLBI.
RADM Childs graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1987 and Georgetown University Medical School in 1991. He completed his internship, residency, and a Chief Residency in internal medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville followed by fellowships in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Hematology at the NHLBI. RADM Childs was appointed as a tenure-track investigator in the Hematology Branch of the NHLBI in 1999 and received tenure in 2006, when he was appointed Senior Clinical Investigator and Chief of the Section of Transplantation Immunotherapy.
For 20 years, RADM Childs has served as an officer in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps at the NIH in the NHLBI as a physician-scientist advancing public health through medical research. RADM Childs was appointed Clinical Director of the NHLBI in 2013. The mission of the NHLBI DIR is to conduct cutting-edge research on heart, lung, blood diseases, and cancer to discover, develop, and deliver new diagnostics and therapeutics. As NHLBI’s Clinical Director, he directs and oversees the entire clinical research portfolio of the institute’s intramural research division, which is one of the largest and most clinically active institutes within the NIH. From December 2014 through March 2015, RADM Childs deployed to Monrovia Liberia as part of the United States Ebola Crisis response in West Africa, where he served as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and helped expand the supportive care capabilities of the unit by setting up its blood bank and X-ray capabilities.
In his role as a tenure-track and subsequent tenured medical researcher in the NHLBI, he has conducted bench-to-bedside studies that have shed scientific insight into cancer biology. RADM Childs’ research has focused on allogeneic stem cell transplantation and tumor immunology to treat aplastic anemia, hematological malignancies, and solid tumors. He was the first to establish the existence of a graft-vs-solid tumor effect mediated by transplanted donor T-cells that could cure patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Subsequently, his group characterized the immune mechanisms mediating this graft-vs-solid tumor effect and in novel experiments using allogeneic T-cells from responding patients identified a solid tumor antigen derived from an endogenous retrovirus that is immunogenic in vivo. Translational research conducted by members of his lab has focused on targeting the human immune system against kidney cancer and as well as to develop novel NK cell-based strategies to prevent GVHD and to treat advanced cancers. RADM Childs maintains an extremely robust laboratory and research bone marrow transplant program, has performed hundreds of experimental stem cell transplants at the NHLBI, and has published over 190 original research papers in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, Nature Medicine, and Nature.
RADM Childs was elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2009, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NIH Director’s Scientific Medal Award, the NIH Distinguished Clinical Teacher Award and the United States Commissioned Corps Outstanding Service Medal and Distinguished Service Medal, all for research that has improved the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.