NIDDK's Hammond Retires After 25 Years
Dr. Bob Hammond has always had one goal — to advance scientific
knowledge. But his career has taken paths different from those
usually followed by Ph.D. biologists with a complement of postdoctoral
fellowships. On his way to becoming director of NIDDK's Division
of Extramural Affairs, he tried various routes to the scientific
life and learned something from each experience.
Hammond says his "very broad interests" made working at the bench
unsatisfying. "The lab was too narrow for me," he confesses. When
he concluded a postdoc in Great Britain in 1975, he turned to teaching
undergraduate biology, which he loved, but soon realized that as
an academic he would have to specialize. He left Virginia's George
Mason University in 1980 to become executive secretary of special
review committees in NCI's Grants Review Branch.
|Dr. Bob Hammond recently retired
after 25 years of service.
"I loved review, and I found that teaching skills — distilling
information and communicating it clearly — were handy in
a review group," he explains.
After a short stint at NIA in the mid-1980s, Hammond returned
to NCI as chief of Research Programs Review in 1986, and became
chief of NIDDK's Review Branch in 1989. In 1996, he returned to
NCI when its director set up working groups to review intramural
administrative activities and programs. "Review at NCI covered
so many different areas that I began to appreciate its real impact
on science," he said. He also began to realize the impact of funding
mechanisms, and found that creative use of existing mechanisms
could accomplish funding for projects that would otherwise go begging.
One of his proudest achievements at NCI, he says, was helping
facilitate funding for technology development. These applications
are typically not hypothesis-driven, and therefore do poorly in
traditional study sections. To address this need, Hammond and colleagues
developed a "phased innovation award." The new award paired a planning
grant designed to conclude with identified milestones with a second
grant that then allowed the work to move forward without delay.
Still subject to rigorous peer review, Hammond explains, proposals
now can be solicited and submitted using an application appropriate
for exploratory/developmental projects.
A gift for collaboration and a soft-spoken demeanor brought Hammond
the responsibility to chair numerous NIH panels and working groups.
Over the years, he sought solutions on topics ranging from computer
systems, minority affairs and research integrity to molecular signatures
and Title 42. This trans-NIH effort was in addition to sitting
on a variety of committees focused on management, review and grants.
More recently, he was a member of the NIH stem cell task force.
Over the years, he found less and less time for favorite pastimes:
reading the Southern writers he loves, or jamming with bluegrass
groups or playing classical mandolin.
But all of the work experience contributed to his being the right
man for his next move, a job he describes as "the complete position." In
1999, he became NIDDK's director of the Division of Extramural
Activities, which incorporated review, grants management and contracts.
"I had fantastic support in (NIDDK director) Allen Spiegel, who
recognized that DEA was a coordinating division, not simply an
administrative group," Hammond says.
Among the innovations he introduced was a system that corralled
onto a CD information for advisory council meetings that previously
filled thick notebooks and spreadsheets.
Spiegel calls Hammond an outstanding NIH scientist/administrator
who will be missed, but not forgotten. "He has in-depth knowledge
of NIH processes and mechanisms, meticulous attention to detail
and keen insight into how best to support and advance the biomedical
research enterprise. It's a rare combination," Spiegel says.
Dave Mineo, chief of NIDDK's Grant Management Office, has worked
for nine DEA directors while at NIH. He describes Hammond as "one
of the best — an outstanding leader by any measure." Other
colleagues call him "a consummate professional" and "a joy to work
"Bob's gentle, yet highly effective demeanor has allowed him time
and again to achieve consensus and develop solutions to complex
and often contentious issues," says Spiegel.
Although Hammond says it's been a privilege to be able to advance
science as a public servant, he now needs the flexibility to pursue
broader goals such as working with external groups to promote partnerships
among government, academia and industry to facilitate research. "I'm
not retiring so much as switching jobs," he explains.
He also hopes to have more time with his wife and two teenage
daughters. With any luck, he'll also have time to read Truman Capote
and maybe return to the bluegrass band he loved years ago. "I want
to keep my chops up, as they say," he laughs.
NIMH Lab Chief Giulio Cantoni Dies
Dr. Giulio Cantoni, who served as founding chief of National Institute
of Mental Health's intramural Laboratory of General and Comparative
Biochemistry from 1954 to 1994, and as the founding music director
of the FAES Chamber Music Series, died July 27 at age 89.
|Dr. Giulio Cantoni
A Jewish refugee from Mussolini's Italy, Cantoni pioneered understanding
of methylation, a key chemical reaction increasingly appreciated
as the switch that turns genes on and off in biological processes
ranging from cancer metastasis to nurture's influence on nature
in shaping stress reactivity.
Cantoni's discovery of the activating enzyme and intermediate
compound in the methylation process, s-adenosylmethionine, was
recognized in his election to membership in the National Academy
of Sciences in 1983. An accomplished flute player, he remained
active until his death in programs to bring classical music to
the NIH campus, inaugurating the FAES series in 1968.
Soon after graduating from the University of Milan medical school
in 1939, Cantoni fled fascist Italy for England in hopes of emigrating
to the United States. But Italy declared war on Britain the day
before his ship was set to sail to America in 1940, and he was
detained as an enemy alien and sent to Canada as a prisoner of
war. Only after protests were lodged was he eventually released
to Cuba, and only with help from his old friend, the renowned conductor
Arturo Toscanini, did he finally gain admittance to the U.S., arriving
in New York just weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Cantoni later recounted his story in a book, From Milan to
New York by Way of Hell: Fascism and the Odyssey of a Young Italian
He resumed his scientific career in the mid-1940s at New York
University, where he studied the workings of streptococcal toxins.
After stints at the University of Michigan and Long Island College
of Medicine, he began unraveling the mechanisms of methylation
while an American Cancer Society senior fellow in the late 1940s,
joining Cleveland's Western Reserve University as an associate
professor of pharmacology in 1950.
He arrived at NIH in 1954, establishing one of the first laboratories
in the then fledgling NIMH Intramural Research Program, where he
worked initially in the newly opened Clinical Center. He focused
on a fundamental, but then still mysterious chemical reaction:
how the amino acid methionine gets converted to a compound that
can donate parts of itself, methyl groups, to a host of other compounds — a
ubiquitous event in biology.
"Everyone knew it occurred, but didn't know how," recalled his
longtime NIMH colleague Dr. Louis Sokoloff. Cantoni showed that
s-adenosylmethionine, or AdoMet, is the pivotal player in this
unusual reaction. He dedicated his career to illuminating many
other secrets of the methylation process, most notably how the
attachment and detachment of methyl groups play a central role
in biological processes by turning genes on and off.
Cantoni was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
and the Italian Academy of Sciences. In 1991, a symposium at NIH
on "AdoMet and Biological Methylation" was held in his honor.
NHLBI's Gant-Hodnett Retires After
31 Years at HHS
Jean Gant-Hodnett recently retired from her position as a program
specialist in the NHLBI Office of the Director. In her 31 years
of government service, Gant-Hodnett worked for the CDC in Atlanta,
the Indian Health Service, FDA/CBER, SAMHSA, NIAAA and the NIH
OD Office of Human Resources. Since joining NHLBI in 2002, she
provided administrative support in the office of the institute's
Of all of the HHS agencies where she was employed, Gant-Hodnett
says that her years at NIH were the happiest because they generated
many life-long friendships. In retirement, she plans to relocate
to the Virginia Beach/Tidewater area with her husband, who has
a large family there.
First Mansfield Fellow To Represent
Dr. Deirdre M. Lawrence, an epidemiologist in the Risk Factor Monitoring
and Methods Branch, Division of Cancer Control and Population Science,
NCI, has been selected as a Mansfield fellow. A graduate of Spelman
College, she received her Ph.D. in toxicology from Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and her M.P.H. from Harvard University. She
is the first NIH scientist to be awarded the Mansfield fellowship.
|Dr. Deirdre M. Lawrence
The Mike Mansfield Fellowship, an intensive 2-year program established
by Congress in 1994, enables a select group of federal employees
to develop an in-depth understanding of Japan and its government.
The fellowships are administered by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield
Foundation through an annual congressional appropriation, with
the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
as grantor. Additional support comes from the government of Japan,
Northwest Airlines and the Toshiba International Foundation.
Lawrence was selected for the fellowship program by a bi-national
committee. This month, she will begin 10 months of full-time Japanese
language and area studies training in the Washington, D.C., area,
which will be followed by 1 year in Japan, working in a ministry
or agency of its government. During her year there, Lawrence plans
to gain an understanding of Japan's procedures for developing,
implementing and evaluating its national health policies, especially
cancer control policies. "I am especially interested in learning
how Japan is working to reduce tobacco use and other lifestyle
risk factors that are related to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular
disease and diabetes," she said.
For more information about the fellowship, visit http://www.mansfieldfdn.org/fellow/fellow.htm.
PHS Honors NHLBI's Mishoe
Helena O. Mishoe was recently selected
as Chief Professional Officer for the Scientist category. As
chief scientist officer, she is responsible for providing leadership
and coordination of Public Health Service scientist professional
affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the department.
She will provide guidance and advice to the Surgeon General and
the scientist professional advisory committee on matters such
as recruitment, retention and career development of PHS scientists.
Mishoe currently serves as associate director for minority health
affairs in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. In
this capacity, she serves as director of the Office of Minority
Health Affairs, Office of the Director, NHLBI. She received her
Ph.D. in microbiology from Georgetown University School of Medicine.
In 1981, she joined the NIH intramural research program and moved
up the ranks as staff fellow, senior staff fellow and expert
in molecular biology and gene expression.
Manji Appointed Mood Program Director
Manji has been appointed director of
the Mood and Anxiety Program (MAP) in the NIMH
intramural program. He has served as acting director of MAP since
July 2004, and is chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Pathophysiology
in that program. Manji is a psychiatrist with a special emphasis
in psychopharmacology and cellular and molecular biology. The
major focus of his research is the investigation of disease-
and treatment-induced changes in gene and protein expression
profiles that regulate neuroplasticity and cellular resilience
in mood disorders. His laboratories' scientific goals are to
capitalize upon recent insights into our understanding of the
signaling pathways mediating the effects of mood stabilizers
in order to understand the pathophysiology of severe mood disorders
and to develop improved therapeutics. He has published extensively
on the molecular and cellular underpinnings of severe mood disorders
and their treatments, authored numerous textbook chapters and
edited a book on the mechanisms of action of various treatments
for bipolar disorder. Manji serves on the advisory boards of
several scientific and research organizations and is editor of
two academic journals. He is also a visiting professor in the
departments of psychiatry at Columbia University and Duke University.
NIGMS's Paul Wolfe Mourned
Dr. Paul B. Wolfe, a program director in the NIGMS Division of
Genetics and Developmental Biology (GDB), died on July 29 of esophageal
cancer. He was 54 years old.
During his 13-year career at NIGMS, Wolfe administered grants related
to the replication, recombination and repair of DNA as well as SBIR/STTR
and postdoctoral fellowship grants.
|Dr. Paul B. Wolfe
"Paul was an outstanding program director, and everyone he worked
with here in the division and the investigators whose grants he
handled thought very highly of him," said Dr. Judith Greenberg,
GDB director. "He was extremely committed to his work; in spite
of being ill, Paul still made an effort to stay connected to the
institute and informed about the current scientific research of
his grantees. He will truly be missed."
For several years, Wolfe led a grant writing workshop that informed
NIH intramural postdoctoral fellows about the extramural NIH grant
application process. He also contributed a great deal of time,
encouragement and advice to grant applicants from the small business
A native of Cleveland, Wolfe earned a B.S. degree in biology from
Elmhurst College in Illinois and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Johns
Hopkins University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University
of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining NIGMS, Wolfe was an
assistant professor of biological chemistry at the University of
Maryland School of Medicine, where his research focused on the
biogenesis of membranes in yeast.
Wolfe's friends and colleagues at NIGMS remember him as a quiet,
reserved man with a dry wit.
"Paul had a wonderful sense of humor and was totally dedicated
not only to his family, but also to science and his grantees," said
Dr. Marion Zatz, a branch chief in the division. "It is a reflection
of the high regard in which he was held by his NIH colleagues that
over a year of leave was donated to him in the course of his illness.
His family has asked that its deep gratitude and appreciation be
conveyed to the NIH community for its generosity."
An avid cyclist, Wolfe won bronze medals at the El Tour de Tucson
in Arizona in 2001 and 2003. He also enjoyed sailing and hiking
with his friends and family members.
Wolfe is survived by his wife, the former Phuong Mai Nguyen; four
sons, Christian, Stewart, Daniel and Andrew; his mother, Marion;
two brothers, David and Stewart; and a sister, Anne King.
Contributions in his memory may be sent to the Greater Baltimore
Medical Center, Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care, 6701 North Charles
Street, Baltimore, MD 21204 or to the National Down Syndrome Congress,
1370 Center Drive, Suite 102, Atlanta, GA 30338. Donations should
indicate that the gift is in memory of Dr. Paul B. Wolfe.
Two Honored for Nursing Research
Two NIH researchers, Dr. Susan Marden and Dr. Joachim Voss, were
honored recently by the Public Health Service for their contributions
to nursing research.
Marden, a clinical nurse scientist at NINR, was awarded the Julia
R. Plotnick Publication Award for Health Policy for her article "Technology
Dependence and Health-Related Quality of Life: A Model," published
in Journal of Advanced Nursing in April 2005. The paper
presented a new theoretical model to explain people's diverse responses
to therapeutic technology.
| Dr. Susan Marden
|| Dr. Joachim Voss
Voss, an NINR research fellow, in collaboration with NINDS, was
awarded both the Faye G. Abdellah Publication Award for Nursing
Research for his article "Predictors and Correlates of Fatigue
in HIV/AIDS," published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom
Management, February 2005, and the Hasselmeyer Award for Research
These PHS Nursing Professional Advisory Committee Awards honor
the work of federal nurses. The awards were presented during the
annual Nurses' Recognition Day celebration Aug. 12 at the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore.
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