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Vol. LIX, No. 18
September 7, 2007

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Dr. Kenner C. Rice

NIH's Rice Receives Smissman Award

Dr. Kenner C. Rice-whose research has led to the development of compounds or medications that have the potential to treat or prevent drug addiction-has received the 2007 Smissman Award presented by the American Chemical Society. Rice, chief of the Chemical Biology Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse with a joint appointment in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, was recognized at the ACS national meeting in August.  

Among his contributions spanning a 35-year career are the development of the NIH Opiate Total Synthesis, which allows medical opiates to be produced synthetically in any quantity, offering opiate researchers independence from foreign sources of opium and providing insights for the development of new non-opioid drugs. Rice's work also led to the discovery of an imaging agent for positron emission tomography (PET)-a medical imaging technique for study of biochemistry in living humans-that is now being used to study how opioid drugs work in the brain; and the development of medications that prevent cocaine self-administration in rhesus monkeys. These agents may be useful in treating cocaine and methamphetamine abuse in humans as well. Currently, no effective medication therapies exist for addiction to these stimulant drugs.

"During his tenure at NIH, Dr. Rice has designed and directed the synthesis of many drugs and research tools that have helped identify and characterize different drug effects and drug receptor interactions," said NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. "His work has suggested new therapeutic applications of cannabinoids, for example, an area of expanding potential that NIH researchers continue to explore. In addition, his fellowship programs have helped to create a whole new generation of scientists producing exciting research in the fields of organic and medicinal chemistry."

Since joining NIH in 1972, Rice has mentored more than 70 postdoctoral fellows from 20 countries, many of whom have gone on to prominent scientific positions in industry, government and academia. He has authored or coauthored more than 600 published papers and has over 40 patents.

Rice received his B.S. degree from Virginia Military Institute in 1961. He then received his doctorate in organic chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1966, where he also did postdoctoral work. He conducted antimalarial research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as an active duty member of the Army and also was a senior scientist at Ciba-Geigy for 3 years before joining the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases (now NIDDK) as a senior staff fellow in 1972. Rice moved to NIDA and NIAAA in 2006-the research program that he currently directs there began in 1939 and is one of the oldest continuous programs at NIH.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Smissman Award, established by the ACS in honor of Prof. Edward E. Smissman of the University of Kansas, is given to a living scientist whose research, teaching or service has had a substantial impact on the intellectual and theoretical development of the field of medicinal chemistry.

  Fernando Leon (r) enjoys the company of coworkers at Aug. 10 retirement party.
  Fernando Leon (r) enjoys the company of coworkers at Aug. 10 retirement party.

ORS Mail Clerk Leon Retires

Fernando L. Leon, Jr., retired on Aug. 3 after 42 years of service at NIH. He was with the ORS Division of Mail and Courier Services during his entire career and spent all but 2 of those years working in the mailroom in Bldg. 31. During the 2 years away, he helped establish mail services for the Neuroscience Center when it opened.

Leon-most people called him by his last name-came to NIH at age 18 in June 1965 as a high school graduate of the Kennedy Institute in Washington, D.C. He believed he had the best job in the world and every day he looked forward to working with the best people in the world. He was proud to serve the research community at NIH.

Leon can reflect on a time when there were no ZIP plus 4s, no mail stop codes, no computers and he located people the best way he could. With the technology now in place, he says it is much easier to locate any employee at NIH and get mail to him or her quickly.

He has been recognized numerous times for outstanding performance. His most notable awards include a Sustained High Quality of Work Performance Award in 1976, a Special Achievement Award in 1978, the Outstanding PHS Employee with a Disability Award in 1994, the NIH Director's Award in 2002 and the NIH Merit Award in 2007.

In retirement, Leon is looking forward to the Dallas Cowboys winning another Super Bowl, relaxation, spending more time with his family and generally enjoying life. He also plans to add to his already enormous music collection by visiting music stores and acquiring vintage vinyl records to burn onto CDs.

Everyone will miss Leon's patented greeting, which is a big smile, a wave and a loud, "Hey!"

Dr. Igor KlatzoNINDS Mourns Retired Scientist Klatzo
By Shannon E. Garnett

Dr. Igor Klatzo, a retired senior scientist in the NINDS Stroke Branch, died on May 5 of metastatic prostate cancer and congestive heart failure. He was 91.

Klatzo, who retired in 1994 with 38 years of service, began his NINDS career in 1956 as head of the clinical neuropathology section of the Surgical Neurology Branch. Throughout his tenure he held many positions within the institute, including chief of the Laboratory of Neuropathology and Neuroanatomical Sciences, and senior scientist and head of the section of cerebrovascular pathophysiology in the Stroke Branch.

Klatzo gained international recognition for his extensive work in the areas of blood-brain barrier disruption, edema and other pathophysiologic mechanisms associated with ischemic or traumatic brain injury. In fact, he was a pioneer in the field of brain edema, having defined two new classifications: vasogenic and cytotoxic.

In the early 1970s, Klatzo helped establish a basic neuroscience initiative within the NIH intramural program to study brain ischemia. He also developed animal models of brain ischemia and was the first person at NIH to conduct research in this area.

"He was one of the first to observe that short-term ischemia protects against later, more severe, ischemia, a phenomenon that underlies ischemic tolerance," said Dr. John Hallenbeck, chief of the Stroke Branch, NINDS.

Klatzo was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1916. From age 1, he was raised and educated in eastern Poland. In 1939, before World War II, he completed medical studies at King Stefan Batory University in Vilnius, Lithuania (formerly part of Poland). During the war, he served as a physician in the Polish underground (Home Army) directed from London by the Polish government-in-exile. Shortly after the war, he spent a few years with Drs. Cecile and Oskar Vogt at the Brain Research Institute in Neustadt, Black Forest, Germany. Klatzo earned his medical degree from the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 1947, and his master of science degree (summa cum laude) from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in 1952.

"He was a creative and intuitive researcher who had a great lust for life," said Hallenbeck.

Among his professional accomplishments are numerous publications dating back to 1952 and many awards and honors, including the Nicholas Copernicus Medal from the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1990, and an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Poznan, Poland, in 1993. He also served as co-editor of several books including Brain Edema, Neurotransmitters in Cerebral Coma and Stroke, and Maturation Phenomenon in Cerebral Ischemia.

In retirement, Klatzo continued his research by collaborating with scientists- both nationally and internationally-including Drs. Francesco Orzi of Italy, and Nicholas Bazan and Myron Ginsberg of the U.S. He also wrote a biography of the Vogts, the founders of neuroscience in Germany, titled Cecile and Oskar Vogt: The Visionaries of Modern Neuroscience (2004).

According to Dr. Maria Spatz-retired chief of the NINDS section of neurocytobiology and Klatzo's longtime friend and colleague-Klatzo was often invited to speak at international meetings and conferences after he retired, and he continued to enjoy his life-long hobbies of world travel, sports and photography.

Survivors include his children Marie Louisa "Masha" Treusch-Pelzer of Marine City, Mich., and Michael Klatzo of Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Dr. Daniel C. Sullivan

Sullivan Retires From Cancer Imaging Program

Dr. Daniel C. Sullivan recently left NCI's Cancer Imaging Program and retired from the federal government to work with Duke University and the Radiological Society of North America.

Coincidentally, at the same time, NCI's Cancer Imaging Program (CIP) celebrated its 10th anniversary. Sullivan's move means that he and his wife can enjoy their grandchildren in North Carolina. Sullivan says it is about the only place to which his wife Cathy would move.

At a party given in his and CIP's honor, Sullivan said, "For these past 10 years I feel like we've had a wonderful journey together. And I am enormously grateful for all the help, support and collaboration I've received from my family, friends and colleagues here." He was honored with a retirement party June 12. Nancy Pursell, CIP administrative program assistant, summed it up when she said "I've had a great boss for all these years."

Sullivan reflected on the past 10 years at a retreat in May. The NCI leadership proposed a Diagnostic Imaging Program in 1995. It began with a series of imaging sciences working group meetings, including one plotting the future for in vivo molecular imaging development and chaired by Dr. Elias Zerhouni, then chair of the radiology department at Johns Hopkins and a member of the NCI board of scientific advisors.

With the realization that the program's mission was broader than diagnosis, the name was changed to the Biomedical Imaging Program in 1999. When the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering was created, the confusion of names prompted another name change, this time to the Cancer Imaging Program.

Under Sullivan, the program grew to four branches; grant-funding managed by CIP went from under $50 million per year in 1995 to about $180 million in 2006. Research areas include nuclear medicine, optical imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and ultrasound imaging.

Lawrence J. Ray

Ray Named NCI Deputy Director

Lawrence J. Ray has joined the National Cancer Institute as deputy director for management and executive officer. Ray, who worked at NCI for 14 years earlier in his career, will serve as the institute's chief operating officer, overseeing administrative management of NCI programs.

Prior to joining NCI, he served for 4 years as vice president for research operations at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Previously, he was vice president of clinical program development at Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare and program administrator for clinical sciences at Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center.

Earlier in his career, Ray spent 26 years in federal service. At NCI, he was chief administrative officer of the Division of Extramural Activities; coordinator of patent licensing and collaborative research and development agreements for the institute; chief administrative officer of the Division of Cancer Treatment and deputy associate NCI director, responsible for all aspects of administrative management.

Ray earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Kentucky. He also earned a J.D. from Catholic University. He is a member of the Pennsylvania and District of Columbia bars.

Catherine O'Connor

NICHD's O'Connor Retires

NICHD's Catherine O'Connor, a senior biomedical research program assistant in the Office of the Scientific Director, recently retired after 24 years at NIH. During her career, she worked with three NICHD scientific directors: Dr. Arthur Levine (1987-1998), Dr. Igor Dawid (1998-2000) and Dr. Owen Rennert (2000-2007). O'Connor began working at NIH in NCI with Dr. Peter Greenwald in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, and Lawrence Ray, Division of Extramural Activities. In 1987, she joined NICHD in the Office of the Scientific Director. Before coming to NIH, she worked for the Department of State for 10 years, which included a Foreign Service assignment in Bonn, Germany, while serving as secretary to the American ambassador from 1966 to 1968.

Dr. Karin RemingtonRemington To Direct NIGMS Computational Biology

Dr. Karin Remington, a leader in genomics research and the development of computational tools, is new director of the NIGMS Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB).

She will oversee more than 250 research and training grants totaling about $92 million to support projects that join biology with computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and physics. Research activities range from software development to modeling and simulation, computational genomics, database design and high-throughput data.

"To take advantage of all the data being generated by today's biological scientists, we need to develop the tools and methods that synthesize this information into new understanding of basic biology and, ultimately, human health," said NIGMS director Dr. Jeremy Berg. "Karin Remington has the skills and vision to contribute greatly to these endeavors."

Existing interdisciplinary programs under CBCB include the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study, which builds computer models to improve the detection, control and prevention of emerging infectious diseases; the National Centers for Systems Biology, which focus on the systems-level analysis of biological phenomena; and the National Centers for Biomedical Computing, an NIH Roadmap for Medical Research initiative to develop and implement a universal computing infrastructure for the biomedical research community. CBCB also leads NIH's Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative and partners with the National Science Foundation to support research and training in mathematical biology.

"Computational biology faces the challenge of bringing together different disciplines in effective and energizing ways," said Remington. "With its cross-cutting nature, CBCB has the ability to coordinate and foster this interdisciplinary synergy."

Before joining NIH, she served as project manager for a large-scale effort supported by NSF to construct ecological data collection facilities across the United States and Puerto Rico. Earlier, at Celera Genomics, she applied her training as a computational scientist to develop mathematical methods and computation leading to the completed sequences of the fruit fly, human and mouse genomes. While working as vice president of bioinformatics research at the Venter Institute, Remington spearheaded a traveling laboratory-based educational program for public school students in Washington, D.C.

"The idea was to get middle school students, especially ones from underrepresented backgrounds, excited about the life sciences before they decided it wasn't cool or that it was unobtainable," she said.

With her interest in fostering the next generation of researchers, Remington said she hopes to contribute to ongoing NIGMS efforts that encourage students to pursue scientific careers. Her enthusiasm has already sparked interest in one youngster, her 9-year-old daughter Maria, who for a class project dressed up as genomics pioneer and former NIH scientist Dr. Craig Venter.

Remington graduated magna cum laude in 1985 from the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University in her home state of Minnesota and in 1991 received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Kentucky. She completed postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She is a member of numerous professional societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of University Women.

Dr. Pan GangulyNHLBI's Ganguly Retires

After 20 years of federal service, Dr. Pan Ganguly is retiring as leader of NHLBI's hemostasis and thrombosis extramural program in the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources.

Throughout his career, he has helped identify promising new research directions in thrombosis and hemostasis and was instrumental in building a strong investigator-initiated grant program. Research fostered under his leadership led to advances in such rare diseases as ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), HHT (hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia), APL (antiphospholipid syndrome) and TTP (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura).

Few researchers were working on the difficult rare disease of TTP until Ganguly organized a workshop to bring together basic and clinical researchers to tackle the problem. As a result of the workshop, the gene and protein for TTP were identified, a mouse model was developed and researchers have since cloned a recombinant protein. More recently, he was a member of the planning committee for the recent surgeon general's workshop on deep vein thrombosis.

"From quantum physics to biochemistry, and from electron microscopy to coagulation, he always remained on the cutting edge of science, providing the highest level of expertise and guidance," said Dr. Charles Peterson, director, Division of Blood Diseases and Resources. "His integrity, scientific knowledge, comprehension of the NIH system and dedication to service have earned the respect of his peers at NIH and in the wider scientific community."

R&W Honors Three

R&W Honors Three

The Recreation and Welfare Association recently honored three individuals for their efforts for the NIH community and the NIH charities.

For more than 25 years, Charles Butler, a Clinical Center retiree, has donated 1 week a year to Camp Fantastic. He was given an award for outstanding service and leadership to R&W and the camp.

Linda Doty of NIAAA was recognized for assisting R&W with its nomination process and governance structure.

Karen "Janie" Robak of NLM has volunteered for numerous events, including the NIH Film Festival, where she worked every evening; the Camp Fantastic Barbecue; the NIH Ski Club; and the food tent at the NIH Research Festival. She received the R&W Have a Heart Award.

Dr. Roger GlassFogarty Director Receives Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award

Fogarty International Center director Dr. Roger Glass recently received the Charles C. Shepard Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award, in recognition of his 30-year career of scientific research application and leadership. The award was presented by Dr. Tanja Popovic, chief science officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a ceremony at the CDC facility in Atlanta.

The award citation read, "Distinguished as one of the world's foremost experts in viral gastroenteris, Dr. Roger I. Glass's accomplishments in rotavirus and norovirus research have made him an internationally recognized expert and have vastly increased recognition and prevention efforts for these viruses worldwide. He challenged the assumption that rotavirus diarrhea was not a major problem among U.S. children-which played a motivating role in development of rotavirus vaccines for children in developing countries and the U.S."

Glass and his team developed molecular assays to detect and sequence the agent norovirus, which has been identified in more than 1,000 outbreaks since 1986. He has trained or mentored scientists from more than 30 countries, has authored over 500 publications and has been recognized by numerous professional societies. His work has involved field studies in India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Russia, Vietnam, China and elsewhere and has shaped major public health interventions that continue to help prevent rotavirus deaths.

"I am honored and humbled to receive this wonderful recognition from my peers at CDC," Glass said. "In reality, the award should go to the dozens of medical officers, visiting scientists, postdocs and colleagues who made our 20-year adventure an incredible success and [whose] collective efforts have helped the prevention of diarrhea at home and abroad through the use of vaccines. This effort is not yet over and will only be successful when we can measure the impact of these vaccines in terms of lives saved and hospitalizations averted. I am incredibly proud to be associated with this wonderful scientific effort. Along the way, the effort has been a joy-of science, of people, of mission and commitment."

NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady (second from r) greets new council members (from l) Dr. King Udall, Dr. Kevin Frick and Dr. Jean McSweeney.
  NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady (second from r) greets new council members (from l) Dr. King Udall, Dr. Kevin Frick and Dr. Jean McSweeney.

Three Appointed to NINR Council

Three new members were recently appointed to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research. They are:

Dr. Jean McSweeney, professor in the department of nursing science at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. An active member of the American Heart Association, Southern Nursing Research Society and the American Academy of Nursing, McSweeney conducts a program of research that includes the study of myocardial infarction in women, prodromal symptoms of coronary heart disease and cardiac rehabilitation.

Dr. Kevin Frick, health economist and associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Using his knowledge of economic analysis, he is engaged in interdisciplinary collaborations to conduct cost-effectiveness studies that clarify economic decision-making and inform health policy-makers.

Dr. King Udall, assistant professor in family and community medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. A member of Intermountain Healthcare, he has been involved in family practice and preventive medicine in Salt Lake City for more than 31 years.

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