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NIH Record vertical blue bar column separator Retirees graphic

CSR's Martin Slater Retires

By Don Luckett

"Well-executed, disciplined, and caring" — these words describe the charcoal and chalk drawings of Dr. Martin Slater, who recently retired from the Center for Scientific Review as scientific review administrator of the microbial physiology and genetics 1 study section. His drawings have appeared in local exhibits, and he has been a featured artist on the About.com drawing/sketching web page.

The lines of his career also have been well-executed, disciplined and caring. Slater devoted 21 years to his study section. "He cared a lot about his work and the scientific community he served," said Dr. Rona Hirschberg, chief of CSR's infectious diseases and microbiology integrated review group. "He did a really good job and was highly regarded by the community."

Dr. Martin Slater

Slater began his career with a B.S. in bacteriology from the University of Pittsburgh and then earned an M.S. in microbiology from Miami University, Ohio, and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Hawaii. He studied Mycoplasma and focused on the control of cell division. He conducted his postdoctoral research at Tufts Medical School, studying reversible inhibition of DNA replication. He specifically assessed how hydroxyurea could regulate cell division in yeast cells. Hydroxyurea currently is used to inhibit cancer cells as well as the human immunodeficiency virus. Slater then went to the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research in Massachusetts, where he conducted research on tumor viruses.

In 1975, he came to NIH to join the intramural program at NIDDK. There, he conducted research on cell division and the synthesis of chitin in yeast cells. He also helped initiate research on the genetic control of chitin synthesis. Looking back on his research career, Slater noted the value of questioning first impressions. Paraphrasing a quote from an old physiology textbook, he said, "The task of the intellect is to find relationships between things that don't seem to be related and the differences between things that seem the same."

Before retiring from CSR, Slater displayed his artwork in a one-man exhibit in the center's library. His images showed the talent he developed in drawing classes at Montgomery College, the Rockville Arts Place, and the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. One of the drawings he exhibited previously won honorable mention at a Montgomery County Art Association exhibit. He was particularly proud of it — a portrait of his oldest daughter, Allison.

In retirement, he may explore interests in yoga and astronomy. But he intends to devote most of his time to being an artist. With his drawings, he may continue to show us "the relationships between things that don't seem related and the differences between things that seem the same."

Slater is particularly proud of his portrait of his daughter Allison.


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