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Vol. LXVI, No. 10
May 9, 2014

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Seven NIH Scientists Honored

Dr. Kenneth R. Warren

Dr. Brian Brooks

Dr. Albert Sjoerdsma

Dr. Nora Volkow



Milestones

Seven NIH Scientists Honored by ASM

Dr. Jeffrey Cohen Dr. Kim Green Dr. Peter Kwong Dr. Thomas Nutman
ASM fellows are (clockwise, from above) Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, Dr. Kim Green, Dr. Peter Kwong, Dr. Thomas Nutman, Dr. Theodore Pierson, Dr. Alan Rein and Dr. Zhi-Ming Zheng.
Dr. Zhi-Ming Zheng Dr. Alan Rein Dr. Theodore Pierson

Seven NIH scientists are among 88 new fellows recently elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in recognition of their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. The fellows will be honored at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting in Boston on May 20.

They are:

Dr. Jeffrey I. Cohen, chief, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID

Dr. Kim Y. Green, chief, caliciviruses section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID

Dr. Peter Kwong, chief, structural biology section and structural bioinformatics core section, Vaccine Research Center, NIAID

Dr. Thomas Nutman, head, helminth immunology section and head, clinical parasitology section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, NIAID

Dr. Theodore Pierson, chief, viral pathogenesis section, Laboratory of Viral Diseases, NIAID

Dr. Alan Rein, head, retroviral assembly section, HIV Drug Resistance Program, NCI-Frederick

Dr. Zhi-Ming Zheng, senior investigator and head, tumor virus RNA biology section, Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory,
NCI

NIAAA’s Warren Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Kenneth R. Warren

The Research Society on Alcoholism has selected NIAAA deputy director Dr. Kenneth R. Warren to receive the RSA Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes a person with a long, balanced career whose contributions to alcohol research, training, service and advocacy have had a lasting impact on the field.

Warren is a distinguished scientific administrator and a foremost expert on the effects of alcohol use during pregnancy. More than 30 years ago, he initiated NIAAA’s research program on fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). For his work on the development of the first Surgeon General’s Advisory on Alcohol Use in Pregnancy, Warren received a Superior Service Award from the Public Health Service in 1982. Currently, Warren chairs the interagency coordinating committee on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Warren joined NIAAA in 1976 and has provided leadership in various roles, including as associate director for basic research. In February 2008, he was appointed deputy director. He served as NIAAA acting director from November 2008 to January 2014.

The RSA has honored Warren previously with the Seixas Award for Service and the Henry Rosett Award from the FAS study group. The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) inducted him into the Tom and Linda Daschle FASD Hall of Fame and more recently honored him with the NOFAS Excellence Award.

NEI’s Brooks Honored

Dr. Brian Brooks

Dr. Brian Brooks of NEI has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). The society publishes the Journal of Clinical Investigation and elects the journal’s editor-in-chief from its ranks.

ASCI accepts membership nominations internationally and elects a maximum of 80 new members each year based on a record of achievement in biomedical research. Because new members must be 50 years of age or younger, the society particularly recognizes scientists who are productive early in their careers.

Brooks leads NEI’s unit on pediatric, developmental and genetic ophthalmology. His research focuses on the genetic and developmental causes of uveal coloboma, a potentially blinding condition in which tissue in or around the eye is missing from birth. He also performs clinical and basic research on potential treatments for vision loss associated with albinism.

He was inducted into ASCI at a ceremony on Apr. 25 as part of the 2014 joint meeting between ASCI and the Association of American Physicians in Chicago.

Heart Institute Alumnus Sjoerdsma Mourned

Dr. Albert Sjoerdsma

Dr. Albert Sjoerdsma, 89, whose research at NIH in the 1950s and 1960s helped define the field of clinical pharmacology, died Feb. 27 in Southern Shores, N.C. He suffered cardiac arrest after an extended illness.

Sjoerdsma arrived at the National Heart Institute in 1953. For nearly 20 years, he explored a range of biochemical and medical targets in the Experimental Therapeutics Branch, first as senior investigator (1953-1958) and later as chief (1958-1971). He diagnosed and defined the carcinoid syndrome, an unusual cancer characterized by serotonin-filled tumors; established the mechanism of action of the first antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors; and measured serotonin, dopamine and other amines in bananas and other foods. He also discovered the antihypertensive Aldomet, a drug still used today; developed treatments for pheochromocytoma and scleroderma; probed the biochemical nature of rapid-eye-movement sleep and more.

“We had a factory going, practically speaking,” he said of his NIH work. “We were a wild bunch.” Sjoerdsma also admitted some of the first patients to the Clinical Center when it opened in 1953.

Sjoerdsma trained in cardiology at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He received two bachelor’s degrees, a doctorate in pharmacology and a medical degree from the University of Chicago. He also served in the Army Reserves from 1942 to 1944.

He retired in 1971 from the Public Health Service after 20 years of service and left NIH for a pharmaceutical company. He went on to develop drugs for epilepsy, African sleeping sickness and an antihistamine. He eventually became president of Merrell Dow Research Institute.

In 1996, he retired to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sjoerdsma published more than 300 scientific papers, received numerous awards and honors and held a dozen patents.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dr. Fern MacAllister Sjoerdsma of Southern Shores; daughters Leslie Swink of Jacksonville, Fla., Ann Sjoerdsma of Southern Shores and Britt Sjoerdsma of Sarasota, Fla.; son, Albert Sjoerdsma Jr. of Ann Arbor, Mich.; brother Peter Sjoerdsma of Punta Gorda, Fla.; two grandchildren, three nephews, a niece and numerous cousins.

A memorial service will be held in Kitty Hawk, N.C., in September.

Volkow Marks 10th Year as NIDA Director

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow receives a pin from deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton marking her 10-year anniversary as director on Apr. 17.

NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow receives a pin from deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton marking her 10-year anniversary as director on Apr. 17. Volkow has pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the effects of drugs in the human brain and has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a brain disease. She has published more than 600 scientific articles and edited 3 books. She has received multiple awards including membership in the Institute of Medicine. She has also been named one of Time magazine’s “Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” included as “One of the 20 People to Watch” by Newsweek magazine and named “Innovator of the Year” by U.S. News & World Report.


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