Three NIH’ers —Dr. Michael Lauer of NHLBI, Dr. Tom Misteli of NCI and Dr. Clare Waterman of NHLBI—received 2011 Arthur S. Flemming Awards on June 4 for exceptional contributions to the federal government. The 63rd annual awards were presented by George Washington University and the Flemming Commission, in cooperation with the National Academy of Public Administration. The awards have recognized outstanding men and women in federal service since 1948 in honor of Flemming’s commitment to public service throughout his distinguished career, which spanned seven decades and 11 presidencies.
Lauer was selected for his outstanding leadership as director of the NHLBI Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. He established new principles for management of a $1.7 billion program of basic, translational and clinical cardiovascular research. He pioneered use of streamlined results-based accountability in research decision-making using objective metrics and has increased the value of large population-based studies by sharpening the focus on clinical outcomes. He fostered research in neglected populations and neglected areas with significant public health and cost implications.
Misteli was cited for his groundbreaking work as a senior investigator in the field of cancer cell biology at NCI. He developed imaging methods to visualize the genome in living cells. His work led to several important conceptual advances in the fundamental understanding of genome function and has practical application in biomedicine. Misteli’s methodologies have enabled him to characterize molecular mechanisms involved in the progression of cancer, as well as to discover novel human aging mechanisms and to invent a diagnostic strategy for cancer detection. Recently, he was appointed associate director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research and head of the newly established Office of Scientific Development.
Waterman was selected for her seminal contributions as a senior investigator toward the understanding of fundamental mechanisms of cell migration. She is a world-leading expert in basic cell biology research. Using a quantitative microscopy method known as fluorescent speckle microscopy that she invented, she has brought major advances in the knowledge of how cells self-assemble dynamic, force-generating cytoskeletal and cell adhesion structures that physically drive vertebrate tissue cell migration.
GWU and the Flemming Commission present a total of 12 awards annually in three categories: applied science, engineering and mathematics; research; and managerial or legal achievement. The awards honor individuals with 3 to 15 years of federal service for their exceptional contributions to the federal government.