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Vol. LVII, No. 11
June 3, 2005

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New Members Join NIGMS Council

NIGMS director Dr. Jeremy Berg (front, third from l) with council members (front, from l) Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico, Dr. Francine Berman, Dr. Kathleen M. Giacomini, (back, from l) Dr. Jeffrey T. Mason, Dr. Brian W. Matthews, Dr. Eric N. Jacobsen and Dr. John C. Goodman.

Five new members and one ex officio member were recently appointed to the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. They are:

Dr. Francine Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, where she also serves as professor of computer science and engineering and endowed chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering.

Dr. Kathleen M. Giacomini, chair of the department of biopharmaceutical sciences and professor of biopharmaceutical sciences, pharmaceutical chemistry, and cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy.

Dr. John C. Goodman, founder and president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization in Dallas.

Dr. Brian W. Matthews, professor of physics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and member of the Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon.

Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico, dean of the college of human ecology at Cornell University, where she also serves as professor of nutritional sciences. In addition, she is professor of microbiology in surgery, microbiology in dermatology, and public health at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City.

Dr. Jeffrey T. Mason, chair of the department of biophysics at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rockville, where he also serves as administrative director of the magnetic resonance microscopy facility. He was named the council's ex officio representative from the Department of Defense.

Last year, Secretary Thompson appointed Dr. Eric N. Jacobsen to the council. He is the Sheldon Emery professor of chemistry at Harvard University.

Fauci Wins AAI Lifetime Award

NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci recently was presented the American Association of Immunologists Lifetime Achievement Award "in recognition of his distinguished scientific accomplishment and extraordinary service to the immunology community." AAI president Dr. Susan L. Swain presented the association's highest award at the AAI annual meeting, held as part of the Experimental Biology 2005 meeting in San Diego.

Kapikian Wins Sabin Gold Medal

NIAID's Dr. Albert Z. Kapikian was awarded the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal at a ceremony on May 10. Cited for his "extraordinary achievements in vaccinology," he is the 13th recipient of this recognition, awarded annually by the Sabin Vaccine Institute to honor achievements by vaccinologists and infectious disease experts.

In addition, Dr. John R. La Montagne, who served as NIAID deputy director from 1998 until his death in November 2004, was posthumously recognized at the ceremony, which was held in conjunction with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases eighth annual Conference on Vaccine Research in Baltimore.

Kapikian's career of more than 47 years is distinguished by the development of the first licensed rotavirus vaccine.

In the 1950s, he began studying the epidemiology and causes of various viral diseases. He is renowned for pioneering studies using electron microscopy to discover and characterize viruses causing major diseases in humans. In 1972, he identified the Norwalk virus, the first virus associated with acute epidemic gastroenteritis, gaining recognition as "the father of human gastroenteritis virus research." In 1973, Kapikian and two colleagues identified the virus that causes hepatitis A. He also became the first in the United States to detect and visualize human rotavirus, which was discovered by others in Australia. He dedicated his efforts to studying this leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children, which accounts for more than 500,000 deaths annually, predominantly in the developing world.

Kapikian led a nearly 25-year effort to develop an oral rotavirus vaccine. The NIAID team's rotavirus vaccine strategy involved mating outer proteins from different human rotavirus strains with a monkey rotavirus that is attenuated (weakened) for humans and combining the resulting hybrid viruses into one vaccine. From a single-strain vaccine in 1984, the vaccine was made protective against the four most important clinical strains of rotavirus. In 1998, it became the first rotavirus vaccine licensed in the U.S.

Dr. John La Montagne's 30-year career at NIH also was recognized at the ceremony. He contributed to international efforts to fight emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including those related to biodefense. His longtime colleague, Dr. Regina Rabinovich, director, infectious diseases, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, presented the special award to his widow, Mary Elaine Elliot La Montagne.

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