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Carl Baker papers 1950-1974
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Biographical/Historical Note

Carl G. Baker received his MD in 1944, and then joined the U.S. Navy, where he served shipboard, in shore-based hospitals and at naval-air bases. After he was discharged from the service, he enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley where he earned a master's degree in biochemistry. Baker joined the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1949 where he carried out research on cholesterol and amino acid metabolism in the Laboratory of Biochemistry. He had to leave laboratory research behind in 1951, when he developed asthma as a result of an allergy to rat dander. Baker then launched his administrative career as assistant to the Associate Director of NIH. He next took a position in the Research Grants Branch of NCI. Baker left the NCI for the Office of the Associate Director for NIH Intramural Research. He returned to the NCI in 1958, as Assistant Director and (1960 to 1961) as acting scientific director. He was appointed Scientific Director for Cancer Etiology in 1967. Baker was named Acting Director of the NCI in 1969, rising to full director in July 1970. This coincided with President Nixon's declaration of "war on cancer." Baker profited from a clear image of the direction NCI should proceed and provided guidance for Congress, shaping legislation aimed at implementing the increased effort on cancer research. Over his tenure, the NCI budget doubled from $181 million to $378 million (1970s dollars). He concurrently held the rank of Rear Admiral in the Public Health Service. The National Cancer Act of 1971 converted the positions of Director of NIH as well as that of Director of NCI to Presidential appointments. In 1972, when Baker was not reappointed, he resigned to become President of Hazleton Laboratories, a contract toxicology and bioassay firm. There his allergy-caused asthma returned leading him to resign and become a private consultant. After a year-and-a-half he rejoined the Government, taking a position in the Health Resources Administration. In 1976, he accepted an offer to become Medical Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, a position he was to hold until his retirement in 1982.