NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Birkle-Dreer, Chief of NCCIH Scientific Review, Mourned

Dr. Birkle-Dreer
Dr. Dale Birkle-Dreer

Dr. Dale Birkle-Dreer, chief of the Office of Scientific Review for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, passed away at home on Mar. 12 after a brief illness. 

Described by colleagues at NCCIH as a kind, compassionate, resourceful, supportive manager, Birkle-Dreer loved NIH; her passion for doing outstanding work was well known throughout NIH. She treated everyone with respect and was humble about her own accomplishments. Her scientific knowledge extended beyond her fields of pharmacology and neuroscience. She was able to contribute intellectually to most any area of science. Wisdom was another of her attributes. Staff would often seek her advice on scientific, administrative and other matters. 

“Dale brought an incredible wealth of knowledge and expertise to the scientific review office,” said Dr. Marty Goldrosen, director of NCCIH’s Division of Extramural Activities and Birkle-Dreer’s supervisor. “She made an imprint on nearly every major program and policy at the center, and her impact on peer review went beyond her immediate office—having served as cochair of the review policy committee for the last year and a half.”

Birkle-Dreer’s NIH career spanned 15 years. She began as a scientific review officer in 2001 at NCCIH (then NCCAM) in the Office of Scientific Review. In 2009, she was appointed OSR chief, responsible for peer review of all grant applications assigned to NCCIH and overseeing the activities of scientists and technical support personnel within OSR.

Prior to joining NIH, Birkle-Dreer was a professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology at West Virginia University. She spent 6 years in New Orleans in a postdoctoral position at Louisiana State University before accepting the position in 1988 at WVU, where she achieved full professor status. 

Birkle-Dreer had a unique ability to train individuals as bench scientists as well as science administrators. At WVU, she was a mentor to two postdoctoral fellows, four Ph.D. candidates and a master’s student. At NIH, she formally mentored several scientific review officers who worked in OSR and informally mentored all staff who were new to science administration. 

Birkle-Dreer received her bachelor’s degree in general sciences from Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Va., and earned her doctorate in pharmacology from the Medical College of Virginia-Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Her scientific expertise focused on the impact of the physical and psychological environment on brain structure and function, the effects of drugs on the brain and cardiovascular system, biochemical responses to environmental insults and mechanisms for adaptation. She authored more than 40 research papers and 8 book chapters and scientific reviews.

She is survived by husband Duane Dreer, stepson Jacob Dreer, sister Karen Barnhart of Wheeling, W.Va., brother Kent Birkle and his wife Rene of Covington, La., a niece and nephew and many friends.

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