Really 'Gone Fishing' Now
NIDDK's Badman Retires After 30 Years
Colleagues, friends and family gathered at NIH on May 3 for the
symposium, "New Insights in Iron Biology," and reception honoring
Dr. David Badman, a relentless advocate for iron research. Officially
retired Jan. 1, 2005, after 30-plus years, Badman often sets his
out-of-office message to read "Gone Fishing." But because he has
had one hand on a fishing rod and one on an NIH Roadmap drug development
project, you might not have noticed.
|Fishermen include (from l) new retiree Dr.
David Badman, Dr. Raymond Bergeron of the University of Florida,
Dr. Gary Brittenham of Columbia University and Dr. William
R. Weimar Jr. of South University School of Pharmacy.
"I had a terrific career at NIDDK, a wonderful institute to work
for, encouraging freedom to find things needing to be done and
to do them," Badman said. "There's always a way to do something.
You just have to figure out how."
Growing up around animals on his grandfather's Wisconsin dairy
farm sparked an interest in biology that outstanding college teachers
nurtured, Badman said. Hooked on science, he graduated from the
University of Wisconsin and earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in zoology
from the University of Florida, where Badman just may have learned
a few fishing tips, too.
While teaching biochemistry and physiology at Kalamazoo College
in Michigan, Badman was tapped by NIH for its Grants Associate
Program, which trained a select few health scientist administrators
each year. During the internship, he adopted a "can-do" attitude
from his mentor, Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, then NIGMS director and
now special assistant to the NIH director.
"In addition to being a role model, she opened doors to interesting
assignments and has always given me good advice," Badman said.
That experience induced Dr. Nancy Cummings to hire him as NIDDK
hematology grants program director, "a natural" scientific segue
from animal physiology, Badman explained. He would hold this job
dear for 29 years.
Cummings immediately "got me involved in interesting assignments,
helping me develop my abilities," Badman remembered.
A third person special to Badman is Dr. Josie Briggs, who gave
him "more responsibility and made the job a lot of fun," he said.
"David's quiet fašade hides vast knowledge and resourcefulness
that led me to rely heavily on his solid counsel and leadership," said
Briggs, director of NIDDK's Kidney, Urology and Hematology Division. "In
fact, the rest of the staff has discovered how much David did to
make our jobs easier!"
NIH "has become more proactive" over the years, initiating high-risk,
potentially high-gain research that may not happen otherwise, Badman
said. Danio rerio (the zebrafish) is one of two such "fishing" expeditions
he has been most proud to guide.
|Badman receives congratulations
from grandson Christopher. The T-shirt advertises that the
Florida Gators, Badman’s alma mater, won the 2006 NCAA
Badman and Len Zon at Boston Children's Hospital believed these
aquarium pets could be useful models for human diseases. The trans-NIH
zebrafish coordinating committee was formed, facilitating key advances
in organ development and valuable models for diabetes, kidney disease
Badman also championed iron overload research, which was not being
emphasized elsewhere at NIH. Iron overload is a serious problem
for about 50,000 people in the United States, mostly children with
Cooley's anemia or sickle cell disease who rely on iron-rich blood
transfusions, said Dr. Gary Brittenham of Columbia University College
of Physicians and Surgeons.
"For a long time, it felt like the research was going nowhere.
But we persisted," and some of the many iron-removing compounds
we screened have made it to clinical trials, Badman said.
The research he pushed "has revolutionized the field of hematology.
Major advances in our understanding of iron metabolism, genetics
and hematopoiesis are evidence of his influence," said Brittenham.
Badman is widely seen as not just another Washington bureaucrat.
Mohandas Narla was a young, intimidated new investigator in the
1980s. After meeting Badman, "it came very clear to me that David
is a very caring individual," said Narla, now director of research
at the New York Blood Center. "He deserves lots of credit for whatever
success we have achieved during the last 25 years in our research
We "lose a good friend," added Frank Somma of the Cooley's Anemia
Badman "was invariably intellectually curious, interested in the
science and helpful," agreed Stanford University's Dr. Stanley
In retirement, Badman is traveling with his wife, Paulette, starting
in Oklahoma, her family home, and eventually including Venice — to
make amends for not taking her on an earlier business trip.
"I haven't heard the last of that," laughed Badman.
He's also enjoying time with grandson Christopher, best buddy
and ever-ready fishing partner, and renovating his 100-year-old
Victorian farmhouse near White's Ferry, "about 2 miles from the
Potomac River. Except when it floods it's only 1 mile," Badman
Wherever he is and whatever he's doing, he'll be making the best
"David always tries to figure out how something.can be done, not
why it can't," said Dr. Ernest Beutler at the Scripps Research
Olden Receives Honorary Doctorate from Tulane
Ken Olden (r), former NIEHS director,
was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Tulane University
on May 13. The honor was made even more special because he shared
the podium with two former Presidents, George H. W. Bush and
Bill Clinton. Olden was honored for
his "extraordinary achievements
in linking environmental health sciences with public health,
and bringing attention to health disparities and environmental
justice." Since stepping down as institute director, Olden's
laboratory research has focused on strategies to prevent metastasis
of cancer by developing a greater understanding of the principles
of cell adhesion.
Harlan Named Research Physician of Year
Public Health Service has presented Capt.
David M. Harlan, M.D., with its Research
Physician of the Year Award for work representing the highest
traditions of the service. The award recognizes him for "creativity,
initiative, and accomplishment in performing research into the
pathogenesis and treatment of diabetes mellitus." Harlan was
recently appointed chief of NIDDK's Diabetes Branch after heading
the institute's Islet and Autoimmunity Branch since 1999. A leader
in the immunobiology of type 1 diabetes, he served on the NIDDK
advisory council from 1996 to 1999 while directing the immune
cell biology program of the Naval Medical Research Institute
(NMRI). From 1996 to 1998, he headed the NMRI's combat casualty
care department. He also serves as a professor of medicine at
the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, where he
has been on the faculty since 1992.
Parley's Place Honors 2 Millionth Customer
Cowgill of the Bldg. 31 concession
stand congratulates NIAID's Dr. Ruchira Mitra,
2 millionth customer and lucky winner of $100 cash. Named in
1992 for manager Parley van Sickle, the store handles approximately
1,000 customers a day. The official tally began in 1998, when
the cash register was computerized. "It took almost 8 years to
get to this point," says Cowgill, "so we wanted to honor our
2 millionth customer." The stand is part of the Maryland Business
Enterprise Program for the Blind.
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