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Vol. LVIII, No. 4
February 24, 2006
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Former NIEHS Student Worker Zhou Named 2005 Davidson Fellow

A 16-year-old high school student who spent the summer of 2004 at NIEHS was named a 2005 Davidson Fellow. The award carries a $25,000 scholarship. John Zhou of Northville, Mich., won the science award for his project, "A Study of Possible Interactions Among Rev1, Rev3 and Rev7 Proteins from Saccharomyces Cerevisiae."

 
John Zhou  

His project used yeast cells to study the role of proteins in DNA with results that suggest a new molecular model for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) of translesion DNA replication, according to the Davidson Fellow web page. His research indicates the same molecules that have the ability to let the DNA replication process occur may also be a source of mutations. The results of his study not only impressed the contest judges, but also will help scientists learn to enhance or suppress the function of these molecules, which is important in a wide variety of cancer treatments.

Zhou was a special volunteer in Tom Kunkel's lab, the Laboratory of Structural Biology, under the supervision of Sean Zhong. During the 5 weeks he worked at NIEHS during the summer between his sophomore and junior years in high school, he conducted hands-on lab research related to DNA replication fidelity, learning technical procedures such as PCR, electrophoresis and restriction enzyme digestion.

Zhou said Kunkel, Zhong and the other lab members taught him the ropes of their research, showed him lab techniques and taught him how to use equipment, all the while making him feel at home. "As a result of the exposure to molecular biology and the expert guidance from NIEHS, I have developed a keen interest towards the biomedical sciences and plan to pursue that area at Harvard, where I will most likely be attending next year. The laboratory skills and research fundamentals at NIEHS have been a tremendous factor in the other research that I have pursued in the past year and will continue to be important in college and beyond," Zhou said by email.

The whiz kid hopes to work at NIH again to continue building his knowledge and skills in biology. That interest, he said, has "already been fostered so thoroughly by the NIEHS experience."

NIH Intramural Animal Program Accredited

The NIH Intramural Animal Program was notified recently that it was awarded "continued full accreditation" based on a July 2005 review by site visitors from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International. AAALAC is a private nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals used for scientific research purposes through a voluntary accreditation program.

NIH was first site-visited in 1991 and has continuously maintained AAALAC accreditation for nearly 15 years. For a program to be accredited, it must conform to the principles outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (National Research Council, 1996). This site visit is similar to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations review of the patient care program provided in the Clinical Center.

Dr. Michael Gottesman (l), NIH deputy director for intramural research, and Dr. Richard Wyatt, executive director, Office of Intramural Research, exult with attendees at the AAALAC recognition reception. Jennifer Concannon, Mathew Tenace (c) and William Givens of Priority One work for ORS in Bldg. 10A and enjoy the reception.

The Bethesda and Poolesville animal facilities comprise the largest single site for laboratory-related animal facilities in the world (545 animal rooms totaling nearly 700,000 square feet). Due to the scope and magnitude of the intramural animal program, a team of 12 experts from academia, government and the biomedical industry, representing domestic and international biomedical institutions on behalf of AAALAC, reviewed the NIH animal facilities and animal care and use committees for 5 days during July. They thoroughly assessed all 15 animal programs, reviewing not only the veterinary care and husbandry provided in the animal facilities but also the 1,500 animal study proposals used to prescribe how animals are used in research at NIH. They also studied support programs including occupational health, training, security and disaster planning.

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