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CBER's Finbloom Is Mourned

Dr. David S. Finbloom, 50, director of the Division of Cytokine Biology in the Office of Therapeutics Research and Review at FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, died Mar. 5 following a 2-year struggle with glioblastoma.

During his 10 years at FDA, he advanced from a senior investigator to division director. He was a member of the medical branch in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and a professor of medicine at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In this capacity, Finbloom served as a mentor to several hundred medical students, interns, residents and postdoctoral fellows.

"David was a highly intelligent and generous colleague," said Dr. Warren Leonard, chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "I will also remember his sharp wit and delightful sense of humor. His passing is a substantial loss for the FDA/NIH community."

Finbloom's most recent research focused on the interaction of cytokines with cells of the immune system. He was the first to show that interferon-gamma binds to specific receptors on human monocytes resulting in the internalization of receptor-ligand complexes and induction of new proteins. He showed that a brief exposure to interferon gamma activates or modifies a pre-existing protein within monocytes that can bind to a defined promoter region of an interferon-inducible gene, and that this interaction correlates with gene expression.

"David was truly an outstanding immunologist, physician and mentor," recalled Dr. Kathryn Zoon, CBER director. "He will be missed very much, but remembered for his sense of humor, his quiet wisdom, and his commitment to improving the public health."

Finbloom received many honors for his research including the William R. Felts Award for Excellence in Rheumatology Research Publications and the CBER Director's Targeted Research Award. He was also the first recipient of the FDA Outstanding Scientist of the Year Award in 1994. Finbloom served as an associate editor and a section editor for the Journal of Immunology.

Finbloom, however, will be missed for far more than his contributions to science, according to Dr. Henry Metzger, chief of NIAMS's chemical immunology section. "There is a non-coincidental correlation between success in science and a strong (if not inflated) ego that may translate into unpleasant behavior," Metzger said. "David was a scientist who was able to be productive in a highly competitive field without sacrificing his naturally generous nature and gentle demeanor. That made him a very precious member of our community and his loss, therefore, all the more painful."

CSR's Ashe Dies After Long Illness

On Apr. 3, Marion Ashe died of breast cancer. Coincidentally, Apr. 3 was the day following her birthday as well as the day, 16 years earlier, when she began working at NIH.

Marion Ashe
She started as a secretary in the Clinical Center's nutrition department, where she received a cash award for voluntarily providing competent and in-depth timekeeping training for new clerks. Ashe trained the newcomers while continuing to complete her other responsibilities.

In 1987, she moved to the Division of Research Grants (now the Center for Scientific Review), where she worked for several individuals in the Referral and Review Branch until she retired. These included Nicholas Moriarty, Jr., program analyst; Dr. Raymond Bahor, deputy chief for review; and Dr. Elliot Postow, director of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms. She was also an active member of the NIH Toastmasters Club.

Moriarty noted that Ashe was extremely dedicated, persistent and hard-working, "always willing to take on new tasks or to help other people or offices where needed." Another colleague remembered that Ashe had endured 38 radiation treatments for cancer with a positive attitude, and had arranged her schedule so that she never missed work. She was also always interested in self-improvement, and had taken courses at George Washington University and Montgomery College toward a degree in accounting. As Moriarty remarked, with Ashe's "caring ways, hard work, and persistent smile despite her trials, she had many friends at CSR. She will be deeply missed."

Ashe leaves her husband, Edward, son, Edward Jr., daughter-in-law, and grandson, Bradford. Another son, Robert, died at the age of 8 in an automobile accident.

CSR's LaRue Davis Killed in Auto Accident

LaRue Davis of the Center for Scientific Review was killed in an automobile accident on Thursday, Mar. 18, on her way to work. For the past 18 months, she had been an administrative technician in the CSR Administrative Services Branch. She also served CSR as property custodial officer, and was a member of the NIH property board of survey. Previously, she had been a grants technical assistant for two study sections.

LaRue Davis

Davis was well liked and respected by her colleagues. In February 1999, she had received a cash Staff Recognition Award for her vital role in the area of property management. Her most recent supervisor, Nadel Griffith, noted that Davis was a quick learner who was dedicated to completing every task quickly yet professionally.

She is survived by her son, Ronald G. Davis, her mother, brother and two sisters, a special friend, Paul F. Jack, and nieces, nephews and cousins.

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