Frank Torti, a physician and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, is joining the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as its first chief scientist and principal deputy commissioner.

Congress created the post last year.

FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach picked Torti for the post. Part of Torti’s duties will include putting new emphasis on clinical research trials as well as quality and regulatory efforts within the FDA.

Torti has taught at Wake Forest since 1993. He is chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and has been actively involved in clinical trials related to urologic oncology.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, he received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

“Dr. Torti’s impressive clinical and scientific credentials are an excellent match for the work we do on a daily basis to promote and protect the nation’s health as a science-based and science-led agency,” von Eschenbach said in a statement released by the FDA. “FDA’s chief scientist will ensure that the foundation of the FDA’s regulatory structure will always be state-of-the-art science.”