William R. Brody, who is retiring as president of The Johns Hopkins University, will take over in March as president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
He will oversee the work of Salk's 870 scientific staff and direct its research objectives.
He said in a news release that he hopes to help the Salk "chart a course for the future" and to "forge creative partnerships" that capitalize on the area's biotechnology companies and research institutes.
Known for his achievements in biomedical engineering, Brody has published more than 100 articles in U.S. medical journals, holds two patents in the field of medical imaging, and is a co-founder of three medical device companies.
He currently serves on the board of directors of IBM and is a trustee of the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that describes its mission as "working toward a high performance health system."
His writings also include efforts to expand the discussion of health care reform in the presidential campaigns, according to a Salk news release.
Irwin M. Jacobs, chairman of the Salk Board of Trustees, said in the release, "We have all been struck by Bill's intellect, energy and enthusiasm.
Brody, a Stockton native, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in electrical engineering and his medical degree from Stanford University.
He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine and has taught radiology and electrical and computer engineering, biomedical engineering at several universities, including Johns Hopkins and Stanford.