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Vol. LVII, No. 8
April 22, 2005

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Friedman Retires from NHLBI After 33 Years

At his retirement luncheon, Dr. Larry Friedman, assistant director for ethics and clinical research, NHLBI, accepts a plaque from Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, NHLBI director.  
Dr. Lawrence M. Friedman recently retired after 33 years of government service, all with NHLBI.

He held many leadership positions overseeing clinical research. Most recently, he served as assistant director for ethics and clinical research and acting deputy director for the institute. He also served as director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications (DECA).

More than 20 years ago, Friedman coauthored a book titled, Fundamentals of Clinical Trials, now in its third edition. Currently, he is co-editor of a book due to be released this summer about clinical trial monitoring whose working title is Case Studies in Data Monitoring and has hosted a series of seminars on the subject. He also has served on the editorial boards of numerous publications, most recently the Annals of Epidemiology and Evidence-Based Cardiovascular Medicine.

At Friedman's retirement luncheon, Dr. Nancy Geller, director of the Office of Biostatistics Research, DECA, called him a major figure in resolving clinical trial dilemmas, referring to him as one of NHLBI's "quiet fixers."

From a former boss, Dr. William Harlan, now working as a consultant to other institutes, to his last, current NHLBI director Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, everyone agreed on Friedman's achievements and the preeminent role he played in elevating the quality of standards for clinical trials both nationally and internationally.

Nabel said, "Larry is a scholar and a gentleman. He is known throughout the NIH community for his wise counsel and prudent judgment. We will dearly miss him but look forward to his presence in the NHLBI in an advisory capacity."

Another speaker, Dr. Yves Rosenberg, noted that Friedman always placed both the individual research participant and the public interest at the forefront of studies.

Of his time at NHLBI, Friedman noted, "What made my career here worthwhile was not only the importance of the NIH mission but also the opportunity to work with so many people who were dedicated to accomplishing that mission and were wonderful colleagues."

Friedman earned a B.S in 1964 from Trinity College in Hartford. He earned an M.D. in 1969 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School followed by an internship and residency at Connecticut's Hartford Hospital. In 1972, he joined the Public Health Service and began his career in the Clinical Trials Branch, NHLBI. He is the author or coauthor of more than 100 studies that have appeared in peer- reviewed journals.

Former NIMH'er Holliday Dies

Anabel "Bunny" Holliday, 70, a former employee of the National Institute of Mental Health, died at her home in Laytonsville on Mar. 7.

Holliday graduated from American University and was retired from NIH, where she served from 1965 to 1995. She was born in Pennsylvania and started her federal career at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa., where she worked from 1960 to 1965.

Holliday is survived by her daughter Karyn Holliday of Gaithersburg, her daughter Kathi Davis and son-in-law Jim Davis of Woodbine, Md., and her long-time companion Craig Easter of Laytonsville.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation, Inc., 11350 McCormick Rd. #800, Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1002.

NCRR's Vaitukaitis Is Named a Senior Advisor to NIH Director

Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis, director of the National Center for Research Resources, has been named a senior advisor on scientific infrastructure and resources to NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni.

Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis  

"With research becoming more complex, teams of investigators from diverse scientific fields require more sophisticated research tools and technologies," said Zerhouni. "In view of these needs, I have asked Dr. Vaitukaitis to advise me of the critical choices that will contribute to solving tomorrow's research challenges. Since 1993, she has provided outstanding leadership, ensuring that NCRR is a catalyst for discovery for NIH-supported investigations throughout the nation."

Under Vaitukaitis' leadership from 1993 to 2005, NCRR's budget almost quadrupled and program areas expanded to include a broad range of cutting- edge research resources, state-of-the art technologies and critical biological models of human disease.

"Scientific trends and research needs change at an astonishing pace, yet effective research resources for addressing investigators' needs cannot be generated overnight," said Vaitukaitis. "One of our greatest challenges is to ensure that a lack of resources does not impede research progress. I hope to be able to offer my insights on how to track cutting-edge advances and identify emerging trends across biomedical research so that resources are in place when they are needed.

"The NCRR portfolio is multifaceted — from building research capacity at academic institutions to providing clinical research, biotechnology and comparative medicine resources," Vaitukaitis continued. "During my time as director, I developed the greatest admiration for the work and dedication of the NCRR staff. Because of their commitment, we have been able to go beyond conventional approaches to find innovative resource solutions for researchers across the nation."

Prior to her service as NCRR director, Vaitukaitis' extensive basic research on the mechanisms controlling hormonal action and metabolism at the cellular level and her clinical research in reproductive endocrinology led to the development of the first specific pregnancy test. The pregnancy assay she developed continues to be used in modified forms as over-the-counter early pregnancy-detection products. The assay also provides a method for monitoring patients with tumors that developed from either placental tissue or testicular germ cell lines.

Previously, Vaitukaitis held positions as NCRR deputy director and director of the NCRR General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) Program. Prior to joining NCRR, she was professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, where she also directed the GCRC and headed the section on endocrinology and metabolism at Boston City Hospital.

Dr. Barbara Alving, deputy director of NHLBI and director of the Women's Health Initiative, will serve as acting director of NCRR.

HEO Elects Executive Board

The NIH-Hispanic Employment Organization recently elected its executive board members for the year 2005. They are (from l) Juan Mendoza, Nelly Villacreses, Ana Anders, Richard Farina, Hideko Takahashi, Ofelia Olivero, Migdalia Rivera-Goba, Elsa Berenstein and Zhanita Perez. The organization plays a leadership role in proposing development of Hispanic-relevant NIH policies, plans, programs and special initiatives, ensuring that they are sensitive to issues important to the Hispanic population.

NINDS's Marler Wins Feinberg Award

Dr. John Marler  
Dr. John Marler, NINDS associate director for clinical trials, recently received the William M. Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke from the American Stroke Association.

The award, which is the association's second highest honor, recognizes significant achievements in the clinical investigation and management of stroke. Marler — who served as project leader for NINDS's tPA stroke trial and Master Agreement for Cerebrovascular Research, two efforts that led to the approval of the drug tPA as the first treatment for acute stroke — was recognized for leading major clinical trials resulting in more effective drug treatment of stroke.

Marler joined NINDS in 1984 as a medical officer and health scientist administrator in the extramural Division of Stroke and Trauma, overseeing the institute's clinical stroke research program. Currently, he focuses on accelerating the translation of recent discoveries in neuroscience into treatments for neurological diseases.

The award, which was presented at the association's international stroke conference in New Orleans, is named for a prominent stroke researcher and American Heart Association volunteer who made notable contributions to a better understanding of stroke.

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