NIGMS Bids Farewell to Long-Serving Staff
NIGMS recently bid fond farewells to a number of long-time employees. Combined, this group of retirees put in more than 117 years at the institute.
Among the retirees are scientific staff members Dr. Janna Wehrle, Dr. Hinda Zlotnik and Dr. Richard Okita.
Wehrle joined NIGMS 24 years ago as a program director in the Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics (CBB). Following NIGMS’s reorganization in 2018, she moved to the Division of Biophysics, Biomedical Technology and Computational Biosciences, where she administered research grants in the areas of biophysical and biocomputational approaches to protein structure, protein folding and misfolding.
Zlotnik began her NIGMS career nearly 21 years ago, when she joined the Division of Minority Opportunities in Research as a program director. She rose to the level of branch chief before moving to the newly created Division for Research Capacity Building in 2018. Zlotnik managed a variety of diversity and capacity-building programs over the years, most recently the Support of Competitive Research program and the Institutional Development Award’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence.
Okita served for more than 17 years as a program director in the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology and Biological Chemistry (PPBC), handling research grants in the areas of drug metabolism and transport, drug-induced toxicology and drug delivery. In addition, he managed training grants and fellowships in related fields and the NIH Common Fund initiative Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity.
The Division of Extramural Activities said goodbye to long-time staffers Eileen Hyde and Patricia Pillsbury. Hyde, a grants management specialist, handled grants for CBB and later PPBC. She joined NIGMS more than 27 years ago. Pillsbury, a program specialist who moved her way up through four positions at the institute, is the longest-serving of the recent retirees. She is credited with more than 28 years of service.
What makes the institute such a special place to work that it leads to such longevity? Over and over, departing staff credited “the people” of NIGMS. Wehrle summed it up best: “What a pleasure it has been working with such great colleagues—consistently thoughtful, patient, dedicated and fun—throughout all parts of the institute and over all the years.”
In retirement, the retirees plan to enjoy a range of activities including traveling, spending time with family and learning a new language.—Susan Athey