Health Policy

Jeffrey Murray

  • Distinguished Faculty Affiliate, Health Policy Research Program
  • Professor, Department of Pediatrics - Neonatology


Jeff Murray, M.D., deputy director, Discovery and Translational Sciences, focuses on preterm birth and early childhood growth and development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Murray is board certified in pediatrics and clinical genetics and a human molecular/developmental geneticist with a 30-year academic career at the University of Iowa studying gene/environment interactions involved in human complex traits. He received his B.S. in biology at MIT, did his M.D. and a pediatrics residency at Tufts and was a postdoctoral fellow under Arno Motulsky at the University of Washington. He did sabbaticals at Oxford University and at the University of Southern Denmark and provided direct care for infants/children in genetics and neonatology through 2015.

Murray led the development of the first user enabled human genetic linkage maps as PI of the Human Genome Center at the University of Iowa, identified the first genes associated with cleft lip/palate and glaucoma, oversaw the first genome wide association study of preterm birth and is a co-author on 470 peer-reviewed articles. He has chaired two NIH study sections, was a member of the Scientific Council for the NHGRI, and served on the Advisory Committee to the Director of NIH. He is a past president of the American Society of Human Genetics, and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and Fellow of AAAS. His research work was highly interdisciplinary and international using genomics and population based approaches to identify complex trait causes for birth defects and preterm birth. Since 2014 he has been the Deputy Director of Family Health in the Discovery and Translation Sciences Group at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where his team has responsibility for the Healthy Birth, Growth and Development programs with an emphasis on preterm birth and early childhood physical and cognitive development.

His leisure time is spent hiking/biking with his wife Ann Marie McCarthy, three children Ryan, Chris and Katie and his grandchildren Liliana, Tagore and Veera.