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McClave Retires from NCI

Catherine B. McClave

Catherine B. McClave

Catherine B. McClave retired recently after 44 years of government service. For the past two decades, she has supported the senior leadership of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG). In her most recent role as senior advisor for division operations, she provided scientific and administrative leadership for scientific reporting, strategic planning and budget formulation for DCEG. 

“Throughout her tenure at DCEG, Cathy has been instrumental in directing the division’s complex operations, from scientific reporting to budget,” said division director Dr. Stephen Chanock. “She has provided expert support to nearly every branch and investigator and her efforts will be sorely missed.”

McClave began her career at NCI in the Laboratory of Biochemistry then transferred to the Office of Research Services. She later returned to NCI as part of the Administrative Career Development Program, joining the budget office at the completion of the program. From there, she transferred to the Office of the Director within the NCI Division of Cancer Etiology. She made her final move to the Office of the Director within DCEG shortly after NCI established the division in 1995, joining her mentor Dr. Susan Sieber, who became the first deputy director of DCEG.

“When Dr. Sieber eventually left the division, she remarked that one of the best things she had done for DCEG was to bring Cathy with her,” said Dr. Shelia Zahm, scientific advisor. “I remember her words to this day, because they indeed predicted Cathy’s remarkable contributions to the division. She has been an incredible source of wisdom, organization, writing, editing and management in support of the division’s scientific and administrative activities.” 

McClave served as the division liaison to the NCI Institute Review Office for site visit coordination and other activities involving the NCI board of scientific counselors and the National Cancer Advisory Board. She was executive secretary for the DCEG promotion and tenure review panel and the technical evaluation of protocols committee and managed the formal process for the promotion of DCEG tenure-track investigators to NIH tenure. She was responsible for preparation of the division’s scientific narratives for the congressional budget justification and responses to inquiries from NIH, PHS, HHS, Congress, other federal agencies and the public. 

McClave oversaw division communications activities and content preparation for its newsletter, as well as responses to Freedom of Information Act inquiries, review of intramural/extramural letters of collaboration, official duty and outside activity inquiries and the appointment process for the special studies institutional review board. 

She is former chief of the DCEG Office of Communications and Special Initiatives, a position she held from 2008 to 2015. She received two NIH Merit Group Awards, one in 1998 and one in 2011. She also received an NCI Director’s Award in 2017. 

“Cathy came to DCEG at a critical time, just as we attained division status as a major component of the intramural research program at NCI and NIH,” said founding DCEG director Dr. Joseph Fraumeni, Jr. “We were immediately confronted with a series of challenges in managing an expanding scientific portfolio. We came to depend on Cathy for her remarkable ability to see the big picture and take care of every little detail. There was never a deadline that she didn’t meet or a project that wasn’t done to perfection. She has been an indispensable leader in the division, as well as a terrific colleague and friend to all of us.”—Cora Hersch

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