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Vol. LIX, No. 2
January 26, 2007

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Portier Honored by World Innovation Foundation

Dr. Christopher Portier

Dr. Christopher Portier, NIEHS associate director, has been named a fellow of the World Innovation Foundation. According to WIF, “Membership in the World Innovation Foundation is now becoming considered in many parts of the world…[as] recognition of being a major global innovator of the highest order.” Members include a number of Nobel laureates, heads of international organizations and inventors. WIF invites into its membership individuals who have profoundly influenced the development of research and made innovative applications in their fields. The foundation honored Portier for his contributions to environmental medicine and the development of cutting-edge toxicological risk assessment.

Ambudkar Named Chief of NIDCR’s Gene Therapy Branch

Dr. Indu Ambudkar

Dr. Indu Ambudkar was recently named chief of NIDCR’s Gene Therapy and Therapeutics Branch (GTTB). Prior to her appointment, she was acting chief of the branch. Ambudkar is known for her work on Ca2+ signaling and calcium entry mechanisms. Her research addresses the physiology of salivary glands and has led to the identification of calcium channels critical for the regulation of salivary gland fluid secretion. She and her colleagues at GTTB are working to understand the molecular basis of salivary gland function and to develop strategies for treating salivary hypofunction caused by conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome or radiation treatment for head and neck cancer.

Ambudkar joined NIDCR in 1985 as a visiting associate and became a senior staff fellow in 1988. In 1993, she was tenured and appointed chief of the secretory physiology section in the branch she now heads. She also held an appointment as an adjunct assistant professor in the department of pathology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine between 1991-1996.

Before coming to NIDCR, Ambudkar was a research assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and also served as a research associate in its department of biological chemistry.

A native of India, she earned a B.Sc. in biology and an M.Sc. in biochemistry from Lucknow University in India. She then received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Madurai Kamaraj University, also in India.

Ambudkar has published extensively on calcium signaling mechanisms in health and disease. She has also served as a member of the editorial board of several journals in her field, including Cell Calcium (current), the Archives of Oral Biology and Membrane Biochemistry. She is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Society of General Physiologists and the Biophysical Society, as well as other professional organizations.assessment.

NCI Appoints Hesse Branch Chief

Dr. Bradford W. Hesse

Dr. Bradford W. Hesse has been named chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch in the Behavioral Research Program of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI. He has been with NCI for 3 years, first as a health scientist administrator in the branch for a year and then as acting chief for the past 2 years.

Hesse received his Ph.D. in social psychology in 1988 from the University of Utah, where he studied the interpersonal aspects of computer-mediated communication. He then served as a member of the committee for social science research on computing at Carnegie Mellon University and went on to co-found the Center for Research on Technology at the American Institutes for Research in Palo Alto, Calif.

As a contractor before coming to NCI, he directed projects for the Departments of Education and Labor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NIH. He has consulted for Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, Xerox, Microsoft, Sun and Netscape and serves on the board of advisors for the American Psychological Association’s online resource, PsycINFO.

Among his current responsibilities, Hesse serves as program director for NCI’s Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research and is director of the biennial Health Information National Trends Survey. Since coming to NCI, he has focused on using the power of health information technologies to help lessen the burden of cancer.

“Brad’s two decades of research and development experience in health communication, health informatics, survey methodology and user-centered computing provide an ideal foundation for his leadership of this critical and rapidly growing area,” said Dr. Robert Croyle, DCCPS director.

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