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Vol. LVII, No. 23
November 18, 2005
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Sieving Receives Vision Award

Dr. Paul Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute, received the Pisart Vision Award from Lighthouse International in New York City on Oct. 21. Now in its 25th year, the award is given annually to recognize noteworthy contributions to the prevention, cure or treatment of severe vision impairment or blindness. Sieving was honored for his seminal contributions “to studies of the genetic basis of retinal diseases” while he was a professor at the University of Michigan prior to coming to NIH. Dr.Tara Cortes, president of century-old Lighthouse International, said, “Dr. Sieving’s extraordinary achievements in research reflect his dedication to increasing the understanding of basic physiological mechanisms in retinal disease and to clarifying the importance of studying disease on a molecular basis.”


NEI’s Ellwein Receives Chinese Award

Dr. Leon Ellwein, associate director for applications of vision research at the National Eye Institute, received the International Golden Award from the Chinese Ophthalmological Society recently in Tianjin, China, near Beijing. He was honored for his many years of facilitating academic exchanges between U.S. and Chinese investigators and for making major contributions to ocular epidemiology and prevention of blindness in China. He has also initiated international vision impairment and eye-care surveys in Chile, India, Malaysia, Nepal and South Africa. Presenting the award is Dr. Jialiang Zhao, president of the society and director of the Eye Research Center, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

NINDS Sponsors Parkinson’s Briefing

NINDS director Dr. Story Landis (shown at left with Dr. Timothy Greenamyre of the University of Pittsburgh) gave opening remarks at an institute-sponsored media briefing on Parkinson’s disease Oct. 20 at the Dana Center in Washington, D.C. The briefing featured NINDS grantees and scientists who addressed the key aspects of Parkinson’s disease—genetics, therapeutics, environmentalcauses and new therapies—and a physician who discussed the clinical care of Parkinson’s patients. In addition, columnist Morton Kondracke (shown at right) spoke of his personal experience with his wife Millie, who died of the disease. Kondracke also served as moderator for the briefing, which drew dozens of media participants in person and by teleconference. The gathering was intended to raise awareness about the World Parkinson’s Congress, to be held Feb. 22-26, 2006, in Washington, D.C. The first-ever international meeting on Parkinson’s is expected to draw more than 1,000 physicians, patients and health care professionals. To find out more about the congress or to register online, go to www.worldPDcongress.org.

In Memoriam: NCI’s Jim Strickland

Dr. James E. Strickland, a senior investigator at NCI from 1972 until his retirement in 1996, died on Sept. 19 of B cell lymphoma. He died a month short of his 63rd birthday.

Strickland is remembered by his many NIH friends as a fiercely honest scientist, a wonderful mentor, a pioneer in bringing computers and the Internet into the laboratory and an ardent critic of anti-scientific administrative directives, with his frequent lament, “This makes no sense!” familiar to many.

He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Duke University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Tulane University. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1972, he joined NCI in the tumor virus program on the Frederick campus. His research focused on leukemia viruses; his discoveries on the mechanism of vertical transmission were at the forefront of the field. In 1980, he joined the Laboratory of Experimental Pathology in the Division of Cancer Etiology on the Bethesda campus and continued with that group as it evolved into the Laboratory of Cellular Carcinogenesis and Tumor Promotion until his retirement.

In Bethesda, Strickland focused on the mechanisms underlying genetic susceptibility to cancer, stromal-epithelial interactions and crosstalk between normal and neoplastic cells in mouse models. He developed many experimental tools required to pursue those nascent issues. His prescience in experimental approach is obvious as these are current areas of intense interest in cancer research. In addition, he contributed to the discovery of a novel pathway involved in cutaneous carcinogenesis and is an inventor on a licensed NCI patent for the treatment of skin cancer.

Outside of laboratory research, Strickland had an equally intense interest in the arts. He was a nationally recognized photographer with images appearing in Time magazine and other popular journals and newspapers. He was the official photographer for the Washington Ballet Company for many years, and his photographs of ballet, classical Indian and Chinese dancers were inspired by his love of dance and music. His photographs can be seen at http://classical-images.com.

Strickland and his wife of more than 40 years, Amparo, traveled frequently in retirement and often visited his many students and alumni around the world. In a tribute held in his memory on Oct. 16, the anniversary of his birthday, many of those colleagues and friends gathered to honor his contributions to science and art. It was fitting that the memorial took place in his home garden, where he had instructed his wife to spread his ashes with this directive: “If this violates any county or state ordinances, do it anyway, in secret.” To Strickland, this really made sense.