skip navigation
Vol. LVII, No. 15
July 29, 2005

previous story

next story
Three Scientists Join NIGMS

NIGMS recently welcomed three new additions to its scientific staff.

Dr. Susan Haynes, a program director in the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology, is managing grants in the area of developmental genetics. She came to NIGMS from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where she served as assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology. Prior to that, she was a senior staff fellow in the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at NICHD. Haynes earned a B.S. degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati and a Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from Rockefeller University.

Dr. Matthew Portnoy, a program director in the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology, is responsible for grants related to DNA repair and mutagenesis as well as SBIR/STTR and postdoctoral fellowship grants. Before joining NIGMS, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch. He earned a B.S. degree in molecular and cell biology from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Meredith Temple-O'Connor, a scientific review administrator in the Office of Scientific Review, is handling a range of research and training grant applications, including those focused on increasing the number of minority biomedical and behavioral scientists. She was formerly acting director of the Division of Inter-Disciplinary Training at NIBIB. Earlier, she was a senior advisor for scientific programs at the institute's Division of Extramural Activities. Temple-O'Connor began her NIH career as a program analyst in NINDS. She earned a B.S. degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in biological psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Stanfield Appointed DEA Director at NIDDK

Dr. Brent Stanfield has joined the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases as director of the Division of Extramural Activities. He comes to NIDDK from the Center for Scientific Review, where he served as acting director from October 2003 to June 2005. Prior to that, he served as deputy director of CSR for 3 years, from July 2000 until October 2003. Stanfield's NIH experience includes time spent in the OD Office of Science Policy and over 13 years spent with the National Institute of Mental Health, where he ran the unit on developmental neuroanatomy in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology from 1987 to 1996.

Selmanoff Joins CSR

Dr. Michael Selmanoff recently joined the Center for Scientific Review as a scientific review administrator in the integrative, functional and cognitive neuroscience integrated review group. He is overseeing the neuroendocrinology, neuroimmunology and behavior, and the biological rhythms and sleep study sections. After receiving his Ph.D. in neurobiology, he had postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, in its Reproductive Endocrinology Center. For the past 27 years, he has been a faculty member in the department of physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. There, he conducted basic research in reproductive neuroendocrinology and taught medical and graduate students. His NIH-sponsored research investigated the neuroendocrine regulation of prolactin and luteinizing hormone secretion from the anterior pituitary gland. The work focused on the physiological regulation of hypothalamic dopamine neurons controlling prolactin secretion, and the peptid-ergic gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons controlling luteinizing hormone secretion.

Kerr Wins Alumna Award

Dr. Mary Kerr (l), who recently joined NINR as deputy director, was presented the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University Distinguished Alumna award at a May 14 ceremony in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Dr. May L. Wykle, dean and Florence Cellar professor of nursing, presented the award. Kerr received her Ph.D. from that institution in 1991. The award, which recognized her "outstanding scholarship, visionary leadership, and dedication to advancing nursing and health care through extensive research and creative educational programming" is the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association. During her career, Kerr has focused her research on preventing cerebral ischemia and maximizing cerebral perfusion in the critically ill patient with a neurological condition.

NIDDK Program Wins Medal

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) received the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association on June 10 at the ADA's 65th annual meeting and scientific sessions in San Diego. The medal is named for Dr. Best, the co-discoverer of insulin. The award honors distinguished service in the field of diabetes, including both scientific and nonscientific endeavors.

The NDEP, founded in 1997, is an initiative that involves public and private partners to improve the treatment and outcomes of people with diabetes, to promote early diagnosis and to prevent the onset of diabetes. The initiative is co-sponsored by NIDDK and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the participation of more than 200 partner organizations, including the ADA.

Five Join Advisory Committee on Women's Health Research

Five new members recently joined the advisory committee on research on women's health: Dr. Luther Clark, Dr. PonJola Coney, Dr. Andrea Dunaif, Dr. Linda Kaste and Dr. Carmen Zorilla.

Dr. Vivian Pinn (l), director, Office of Research on Women’s Health, welcomes new members to the ORWH advisory committee. They include (from l) Drs. Carmen Zorilla, Luther Clark, Linda Kaste and PonJola Coney.

Clark is chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine, professor of clinical medicine and director of the cardiology fellowship training program at the State University of New York Health Science Center (Downstate) in Brooklyn.

Coney is senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville.

Dunaif is chief of the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and molecular medicine at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

Kaste is an associate professor and director of predoctoral dental public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry.

Zorilla is professor of obstetrics/gynecology, University Hospital, University of Puerto Rico.

NHLBI's Hegyeli Retires After 36 Years

Surgeon General Richard Carmona surprised Dr. Ruth Hegyeli at her retirement luncheon. He thanked her for her years of service to national and international health. He also recognized her recent work on the draft of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action in Global Health, one of whose overarching themes is health diplomacy.  
Dr. Ruth Johnsson Hegyeli recently retired after 36 years with NIH. She served as associate director for international programs, NHLBI for 33 of those years.

A native of Sweden, she earned her medical degree at Toronto University. While there, her studies in the survival of living cells in adverse environments led to an invitation to come to the United States to work as a research associate for Nobel laureate Prof. Albert Szent-Gyorgi, and to establish a tissue culture laboratory at his institute in Woods Hole, Mass. From there, Hegyeli went to Columbus, Ohio, where she was head of the Battelle Memorial Institute's cell biology laboratory and principal investigator on two NIH-funded studies. Her cell biology work on the interface of living cells with biomaterials still appears in medical texts and was key to the development of the artificial heart.

Hegyeli joined the National Heart Institute (now NHLBI) in 1969. In 1973, she was made director of the Office of International Programs.

She recently wrote about key NHLBI achievements in health, diplomacy, medicine and science. During her tenure, NHLBI established a 20-year collaboration between the U.S. and China for cardiovascular research and a 30-year program of cooperation with Russia and the former Soviet Union. NHLBI began its international programs in the area of hypertension, as illustrated by joint U.S.-Egypt creation and maintenance of the Egypt National Hypertension Program, which expanded into the Pan Arab Hypertension League.

International partners of NHLBI are now looking more broadly at cardiovascular disease. The historic U.S.-Pan American Health Organization meeting was held here in 2004. That conference brought together representatives from other institutes in addition to NHLBI as well as ministers of health from Canada and seven Latin American countries. The conference led to creation of working groups to establish the Pan American Cardiovascular Initiative to address the cardiovascular health needs of the Western Hemisphere.

"Ruth Hegyeli has helped the international community in more ways than I can hope to enumerate," said Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, NHLBI director. "Her compassion, perseverance, and unwavering belief in expanded cooperation in medicine and science inspired everyone in the institute."

Hegyeli has received more than 20 national and international awards in medicine and science. Most recently, she was awarded the International Peace Prize in 2004, the Fogarty Scholar gold medal in 2005 and the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Award in 2005. She also has received at least 20 awards in literature, culture and poetry over the past two decades.

Hegyeli is looking forward to an active retirement. Her foremost longstanding commitment is to assist needy and handicapped children, especially HIV/AIDS orphans in Africa. A distinguished poet of the International Society of Poets (ISP) and an elected member of the World Literary Academy, Cambridge, England, she will present some of her poetry at the August 2005 ISP international convention in Washington, D.C.

back to top of page