He succeeds Lewis V. Wade, Ph.D., who has been named senior science advisor in the NIOSH office of the director.
Kohler joined NIOSH in 1998 as the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (PRL) director.
As PRL director he fostered a strong labor-management partnership that has facilitated the outcome-driven research that is essential to the future of the institute, NIOSH said in its monthly newsletter.
NIOSH plans to conduct a broad search for a replacement for Kohler. In the interim, Dr Güner Gürtunca, who joined the lab recently as a senior scientist is serving as the acting PRL Director.
Dr Gürtunca received his BSc and MSc in Mining Engineering from Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and his Doctorate in Mining Engineering from the School of Mining Engineering of University of New South Wales in 1984.
Before joining NIOSH he worked as the director of CSIR Miningtek in South Africa. He is particularly well known internationally for his work in backfill engineering.