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Vol. LX, No. 9
May 2, 2008

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Zerhouni Wins France’s Highest Honor
Zerhouni Wins France’s Highest Honor

On Apr. 10, French President Nicolas Sarkozy awarded NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni the Légion d’honneur (French National Order of the Legion of Honor), the highest decoration in France. In the United States, generals of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur are among the Americans who have received the honor. Others include Gen. Wesley Clark, actor Kirk Douglas, film director and actor Clint Eastwood and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Looking on is Dr. Nadia Zerhouni.

NIGMS’s René Retires After 50 Years of Service

NIGMS’s Dr. Anthony René (second from l) meets with students at a 2005 conference.
NIGMS’s Dr. Anthony René (second from l) meets with students at a 2005 conference.

A number of monumental events occurred in 1957: President Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in for a second term in office, U.S. Surgeon General Leroy E. Burney reported the direct link between smoking and lung cancer and Althea Gibson became the first African- American tennis player to win a Wimbledon singles title. That year also marked the beginning of Dr. Anthony A. René’s career with the federal government.

Fifty years later, René, who has served in a number of positions at NIH, has retired.  

He joined NIH in 1973 as a grants associate in the Division of Research Grants. The next year, he moved to NHLBI as a health scientist administrator. In 1980, René became chief of what was then known as the NIGMS Office of Review Activities. He assumed the newly created position of NIGMS assistant director for referral and liaison in 1989. His varied duties included managing research training programs for underrepresented minorities, individuals with disabilities, people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those re-entering research after a hiatus.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here, particularly the last 18 years in my role as NIGMS assistant director for referral and liaison. I’ve had the opportunity to advise high school, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows and young faculty who were interested in pursuing or enhancing their careers in biomedical research,” René said.

He was both mentor and matchmaker, helping students find research labs to work in and helping scientists find students to join their research teams. He regularly attended the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) meeting and the annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, where he urged undergraduate and graduate students to take advantage of the wealth of biomedical and behavioral research and research training opportunities available to them.

“Tony has played an instrumental role in NIGMS’s outreach efforts to underrepresented minorities,” said Dr. Clifton Poodry, director of the NIGMS Division of Minority Opportunities in Research. “He has a real knack for communicating with the students. It wasn’t uncommon for him to walk up to a group and ask if they had their ‘meal tickets.’ If they said ‘no,’ he’d hand them his business card and a packet of information about summer internships and funding opportunities.”

NIGMS and other NIH staff members and friends paid tribute to René at a retirement party. Institute director Dr. Jeremy Berg was among the many speakers at the event. “I can remember the first time I heard Tony’s name mentioned,” he said. “I was working at Johns Hopkins, and I told one of my colleagues that I was applying for the position of NIGMS director. Her response was, ‘Oh, that’s where Tony René works!’”

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett was among the special guests at the celebration. Leggett presented René with a certificate in recognition of his “distinguished and outstanding 50-year career as a dedicated scientist, educator and mentor.” Also in attendance was Dr. Roland Nardone, professor emeritus of biology at Catholic University and René’s former professor and mentor, who offered congratulatory remarks.

Other colleagues shared fond memories of working with René. “I remember how warmly Tony welcomed me when I joined NIGMS,” said Executive Officer Sally Lee. “He has been a tremendous asset to the institute and to the scientific community. To work with Tony was to become his friend, and we will truly miss him.”

Before joining NIH, René directed the cell physiology program at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute from 1965 to 1973. He earned a B.S. in biology from Southern University in Baton Rouge and a Ph.D. in cell biology from Catholic. René’s many awards for his mentoring efforts include three NIH Director’s Awards, the distinguished professional mentor award from SACNAS, a certificate of appreciation for commitment to diversity from the American Society for Cell Biology and honors from Harvard University’s biomedical science careers program and committee on institutional cooperation.

Even after leaving NIGMS, René plans to continue mentoring. “Students need someone to give them guidance,” he said. “I’ve had many mentors throughout every stage of my education and career—and it’s important for me to give back.” An avid tennis player, he also intends to spend some of his time on the court teaching children how to play the game.

CSR’s Davidson Ends Long Federal Career

Dr. Harold Davidson

After 46 years of coordinating NIH peer review committees, Dr. Harold Davidson has retired as scientific review officer of the arthritis, connective tissue and skin sciences study section at the Center for Scientific Review. “I enjoyed getting a medical education here,” he said, “and being a witness to medical history.”

Davidson began his science career working in his father’s pharmacy as a child. In 1944, he completed work on a B.A. in chemistry and biology at Harvard and joined the Navy. After the war, he earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Oregon and did his postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, working in the lab of Nobel laureate biochemist Otto Meyerhof.

Davidson then went to the Overly Biochemical Research Foundation, which was funded by the makers of a chocolate-flavored drink called Bosco. He soon moved to Tufts University, where he conducted biochemical and cancer research for 10 years.

In 1962, he joined NIH to become executive secretary of the arthritis and metabolic diseases program- project committee. Twelve years later, he coordinated reviews for the general medicine A study section. When it split, he went with the general medicine A-1 study section, which focused on dermatology, rheumatology and related autoimmune diseases.

Davidson survived suicide bombers in the Pacific during World War II in 1944, and in the 1990s, he survived a revolt by his study section. Members of the group “decided they weren’t going to spend all day talking about applications if they weren’t going to be competitive, so the reviewers finished their work in one day instead of two,” said Davidson. “It was like a steamroller.” NIH thought the applicants were harmed and the reviewers had to meet again, but the results were the same. The reviewers were certainly ahead of their time, as CSR review groups now only discuss the top 50 percent of their applications, though reviewers still produce written reviews.

Being close to major advances in medicine was a great joy. Davidson was there when Dr. Belding Scribner submitted an application to develop a shunt that would make dialysis available to patients suffering from kidney failure. The application almost didn’t get funded, but it finally did with much effort by reviewers, council members, Davidson and others. He was also there when Dr. Alan Steere put in an application to figure out why children in Lyme, Conn., were suffering from arthritis. Steere discovered the connection between ticks and Lyme disease.

After more than four decades of choosing the right reviewers to get the best reviews, Davidson now will be doing something not altogether different. He took up figure painting last year and will spend a lot of free time choosing just the right colors to paint the best pictures.

Harper Austin Appointed NINDS Associate Director for Management, EO

Joellen Harper Austin

Joellen Harper Austin has been appointed to two positions at NINDS—associate director for management and executive officer.

“Ms. Harper Austin is an outstanding administrator, manager and supervisor,” said NINDS director Dr. Story Landis. “Her leadership skills and extensive knowledge of federal management principles and practices, as well as her expertise in NIH and NINDS policies, programs and processes, will serve the institute well.”

As associate director for management, Harper Austin serves as principal advisor to the director on all management issues affecting NINDS. This includes overseeing the institute’s financial management, human resources, information technology, administrative services and analysis activities, as well as coordinating the institute’s ethics and equal employment opportunity and diversity programs. In her role as EO, Harper Austin serves as a key member of the senior leadership team in executing the strategic mission for NINDS.

Harper Austin joined NIH in 1989 as a presidential management intern in the NIH Office of the Director. In January 2000, she became the NINDS chief grants management officer. Her previous positions at NIH include chief grants management officer for NCRR and assistant grants policy officer in the NIH Office of Extramural Research. Before becoming EO and associate director for management at NINDS, she served as deputy executive officer and acting executive officer for the institute.

Harper Austin has served on several NIH committees and was the 2005-2006 chair of the NIH administrative training committee, which oversees the NIH career development programs. Previously she served as chair of the NIH grants management vision steering committee. She is currently a member of the NIH competitive activities steering committee and cochair of the A-76 working group for the administration and HR functions.

In 2003, Harper Austin received a master of science degree in business management through the Sloan Fellows Program at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In addition, she holds a master of public affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor of arts degree in economics and government from Skidmore College. She is a 2006 graduate of the HHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. She received the NIH Director’s Mentoring Award in 2007.

Human Resources’ Palmer Is Mourned

Charles H. Palmer, Jr.

Charles H. Palmer, Jr., chief of employee and labor relations in the NIH Office of Human Resources’ Workforce Relations Division, died Mar. 19 of a heart attack. He was 53.

A bachelor of science graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of the football and track teams, Palmer earned a master of science degree in labor relations from the University of Massachusetts. Before joining NIH, he worked at the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service from 1989 to 1994. Prior to that, he also served at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. His career in federal government spanned more than 29 years.

“I know that many of you have had the opportunity to work with Charlie over the years and have always found his assistance to be invaluable,” said Christine Major, director of OHR and the Office of Strategic Management Planning. “I considered him a key advisor to me and he helped me and the NIH through many challenges over the last few years. We will miss him greatly.”

Known for his expertise in a wide variety of HR matters, Palmer shaped the employee and labor relations program at NIH.

“I always appreciated Charlie’s quick wit and wonderful humor,” recalled Helene Noble, director of OHR’s Workforce Relations Division. “I could always count on him to do the research on whatever project I gave him and he’d always come up with a satisfactory answer, even in really tough situations.”

Noble, who had known Palmer for about 25 years and worked with him at another agency, continued, “I always relied on him for his expertise. He was a master at employee relations and labor relations not just at NIH, but throughout his career. Not only did HR staff look up to him for advice and guidance, but even the most senior levels of management sought him out for help on some of the most sensitive issues.”

The welfare of employees was not just something Palmer preached, however. According to coworkers he also regularly practiced concepts that improved the work lives and productivity of staffers.

“Most recently, I was impressed that he attended training with us on Mar. 14,” said Susan Reider, a human resources specialist at OHR. “He did not have to be there but he told us that he wanted us to attend if it was ‘at all humanly possible.’ I don’t think many of us were very enthused about going at that particular time and having to change schedules and plans, but Charlie let us know how important it was to him and to the agency in those few, simple words. We had so much respect for Charlie, there was little whining and when I walked in, there he was, demonstrating without words his support.”

“Charlie was a gentleman through and through,” added Maria Gorrasi, an OHR senior employee/labor relations specialist who worked with Palmer for more than 14 years. “He will be sorely missed.”

For more than 20 years, Palmer was an active member of Long Reach Church of God, and as an amateur chef, supported several fundraisers and fellowships of the kitchen ministry. Through his family’s current affiliation with Cornerstone Church, he was active in the small group fellowships and the sick and shut-in ministry.

Survivors include his wife of more than 29 years, Jacqueline McKissick Palmer, two daughters, Lauren and Cassandra; his mother, Lauretta Palmer; a sister, a brother and many other relatives.

Long-time NIH Library Translator Crump Dies

Donald T. “Ted” Crump

Donald T. “Ted” Crump, a translator for 28 years at the NIH Library and head of the library’s translation service, died on Mar. 29 at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., after an extended illness. He was 68 years old.

Crump was born in McCammon, Idaho, and attended Idaho State University where he received a B.A. in political science in 1962. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where his facility with languages was recognized. With the Cold War as a backdrop, he was sent to a 75-week Russian language program at the Defense Language Institute in California and subsequently served as a Russian language specialist in the U.S. Army Security Agency, Rothwestern, Germany.

Upon completing military service, Crump attended the University of Utah where he earned a master’s degree in Russian. From 1976 to 1980, he worked as a translator/abstracter for the Biosciences Information Service in Philadelphia, where he developed his knowledge and understanding of biomedical literature. Simultaneously, he worked as a freelance translator and editor in German, Russian and Serbo-Croatian to English. While in Philadelphia, he participated in a Ph.D. program in Russian at Bryn Mawr College.

He worked in all the Slavic and Germanic languages (except Icelandic), as well as French and Latin. Said Shadia Kawa, a fellow with NCI, “Mr. Crump kindly translated a Russian article for a literature review project I am working on…Being a language aficionado, I remember asking him how many languages he spoke. When I expressed admiration for the fact that he could work with more than 20 different languages for translation, he responded very humbly. But from the excellent quality of the translated document I later had the chance to read, it was evident he was an extremely talented individual that the NIH community was very lucky to have.”

Crump was a brilliant translator who was revered by colleagues and friends. “Ted was dedicated to his work and to NIH. His understanding and appreciation for the research and training done here and his contribution to it was exceptional,” said Suzanne Grefsheim, director of the Division of Library Services. Dr. Donald Vinh, visiting fellow with NIAID, noted, “My experience with [Ted] has been nothing short of wonderfully pleasant…His work was accurate, but more importantly, extremely well appreciated and critical to the research I (and the NIH community) conduct.” “[Ted] clearly had a love of, and commitment to, his work that showed through his questions and comments about what he translated,” said Dr. Jordan Grafman, chief, cognitive neuroscience section, NINDS.

A life member of the American Translators Association (ATA), Crump was made an honorary member in 2003. He served on its board of directors from 1983 to 1986, was an editor of the ATA Chronicle from 1987 to 1989, and was a founder and longtime editor of the Capital Translator, the newsletter of the National Capitol Area Translators Association. He was the author of Translations in the Federal Government 1985, and Translation and Interpretation in the Federal Government (ATA, 2002), a comprehensive survey of the language needs, resources and missions of over 80 federal agencies and offices. His cartoon series, “Great Moments in Languages,” appeared in the Capital Translator for over two decades.

Said NIH Library fellow translator Shari Lama, “Ted was such a fine colleague—always ready to lend a hand to resolve a terminology problem, share new knowledge and explore new ways to improve our translation services. He was always cordial and happy to help everyone he could. I feel very fortunate to have worked with him all these years.”

When he wasn’t translating, Crump was pursuing his passion for music. An accomplished bass-baritone, he appeared in a recital in 2005 in Germantown, Md., in collaboration with soprano Deborah Sternberg, presenting art songs and arias in several languages. He was also active in a community theater group.

Crump is survived by his wife Natasha Crump of Silver Spring, and three sisters, Jeanne Sherman and Colleen DeWitt of Idaho, and Donna Kidd.

NIBIB Welcomes Three Council Members

NIBIB director Dr. Roderic Pettigrew (c) and deputy director Dr. Belinda Seto (fourth from l) welcome new council members (from l) Dr. Mae Jemison, Dr. Percival McCormack and Dr. Gary Glover.
NIBIB director Dr. Roderic Pettigrew (c) and deputy director Dr. Belinda Seto (fourth from l) welcome new council members (from l) Dr. Mae Jemison, Dr. Percival McCormack and Dr. Gary Glover.

Three new members were recently named to the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. They are:

Dr. Gary H. Glover, professor of radiology and director of the Radiological Sciences Laboratory at Stanford University School of Medicine. His expertise in medical imaging was crucial to General Electric’s early success in the imaging field and resulted in the development of substantial improvements in the performance and capabilities of both x-ray computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, president of Biosentient Corp., a medical technology company. She spent several years in the Peace Corps as a medical officer and later was selected for NASA’s astronaut program, flew on the space shuttle Endeavor as a science mission specialist and has the distinction of being the first woman of color in space.

Dr. Percival D. McCormack, professor of bioengineering, biophysics and physiology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His research interests include fluid dynamics and gene expression, the application of Doppler ultrasound to measure arterial wall elasticity, seismocardiography/contrast echo in the study of myocardial contractility, MRI usage for angiography, free radical distribution in humans and detection of lacunar cerebral lesions in divers.

NIDCR Summer Intern Shines in Intel Competition

Donald T. “Ted” Crump Benjamin Lu, a 2007 NIH summer intern in NIDCR’s Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch, was a finalist in the recent Intel Science Talent Search (STS). The Intel STS is the most prestigious science competition for high school students in the U.S. Lu, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, was one of 40 finalists out of more than 1,600 contestants. Each Intel finalist received scholarship funds as well as a new laptop computer. Lu was honored for his research on the Drosophila melanogaster genome. He focused on genes that may be involved in the pathway between the Gq-coupled muscarinic receptor type 1 and the AP-1 transcription factor in the nucleus. Such fundamental research could one day illuminate possible targets for cancer therapies.

Gallelli Wins Federal Pharmacist Award

DoThe Clinical Center’s Dr. Joseph Gallelli accepts the 2008 Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award from Winnie Landis, outgoing president of the American Pharmacists Association.
The Clinical Center’s Dr. Joseph Gallelli accepts the 2008 Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award from Winnie Landis, outgoing president of the American Pharmacists Association.

Dr. Joseph Gallelli, senior advisor for biotechnology product development at the Clinical Center, recently received the 2008 Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award from the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

The award recognizes pharmacists who have distinguished themselves and the profession through outstanding contributions in federal pharmacy practice that have resulted in a significant improvement in the health of the nation or a population.

Gallelli devoted 45 years of service to NIH; his contributions in leadership and management have had national and international impact. In 1962, he became chief of the CC pharmacy department’s pharmaceutical development service and in 1970 he became department chief. He conducted compatibility and stability studies on intravenous drugs over a period of 13 years and in 1974 published his findings in his text Parenteral Drug Information Guide. Later editions of his text were incorporated into Trissel’s Handbook of Injectable Products.

Gallelli also established at the CC one of the first postgraduate hospital pharmacy residency training programs, which has graduated dozens of pharmacists in leadership positions today. Other accomplishments include establishing the unit dose system and conducting studies and publishing guidelines for the safe handling, chemical inactivation and disposal of antineoplastic drugs.

Gallelli received a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from Long Island University’s Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, a master of science degree in manufacturing pharmacy from Temple University School of Pharmacy and a Ph.D. from Temple. He has written more than 75 publications and served on committees for numerous professional organizations, including the cell and gene therapy expert committee and the international health expert committee of the U.S. Pharmacopia, where he is a lifetime honorary member.

He has delivered keynote lectures worldwide. His honors include an NIH Director’s Award, Abbott Laboratories Award for Research, Department of Commerce Inventor’s Award and the Andrew Craigie Award.

Founded in 1852, APhA is the first-established and largest U.S. professional association of pharmacists. APhA, which counts more than 63,000 members, is dedicated to improving medication use and advancing patient care.

Weinmann Named Deputy Director of NHLBI Division

DoDr. Gail Weinmann

After a national search, Dr. Gail Weinmann has been appointed deputy director of NHLBI’s Division of Lung Diseases. She replaces Carol Vreim, who retired last October.

“Dr. Weinmann’s broad scientific background as well as her extensive experience with a wide range of extramural programs and clinical research will be a huge asset as we work to implement NHLBI’s new strategic plan and conduct more translational and clinical research in lung diseases,” said Dr. James Kiley, director of the division.

Weinmann joined NHLBI in 1995 to manage the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and environmental lung disease research portfolio. As program director, she managed several large clinical trials on COPD, including the National Emphysema Treatment Trial, a landmark study done in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services evaluating the efficacy of lung volume reduction surgery.

Since 2000, Weinmann has served as chief of the Airway Biology and Diseases Branch within the Division of Lung Diseases, with oversight responsibility for asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis and sleep.

Weinmann came to NHLBI from Johns Hopkins University, where she was an associate professor in the School of Public Health’s department of environmental health sciences with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine’s department of medicine. She conducted research on airway pharmacology, high-frequency ventilation and the lung health effects of trophospheric ozone in addition to treating patients with pulmonary disease.

She has served on several advisory committees, including the American Thoracic Society’s assembly of environmental and occupational health long range planning committee and the air quality control advisory committee for the Maryland department of environment. Weinmann received her M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College and her A.B. from Barnard College. She is board-certified in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine.

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