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Vol. LX, No. 24
November 28, 2008

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NIEHS’s Johnson-Thompson Retires
One of the things young people have heard at programs organized by Dr. Marian Johnson-Thompson at NIEHS and elsewhere is an admonition to follow their dreams. “Do what you love,” she says, “and the money will follow.”

One of the things young people have heard at programs organized by Dr. Marian Johnson-Thompson at NIEHS and elsewhere is an admonition to follow their dreams. “Do what you love,” she says, “and the money will follow.”

On Sept. 30, microbiologist Dr. Marian Johnson-Thompson began a well-deserved hiatus from her work as a researcher, science educator, mentor and advocate for women and minorities in science when she retired from NIEHS after 16 years of service. Her immediate plans include enjoying time with her family and pursuing other interests as she decides where next to put her talents and energy to work.

During her career at NIEHS, Johnson-Thompson served as director of education and biomedical research development in the Office of the Director. She was responsible for identifying the environmental health research and training needs of underserved populations and organizing programs and partnerships to address them. She was particularly interested in the unique biomedical research needs of women of color and the potential they have for reducing health disparities.

As the institute’s lead person for science education collaborations with schools, universities and organizations on the local and national levels, Johnson-Thompson developed programs that included the Bridging Education, Science and Technology Program, the extramural K-12 Environmental Health Science Education Program and the Advanced Research Cooperation in Environmental Health Program.

Johnson-Thompson also chaired the NIEHS institutional review board for protection of human subjects. She served as a member of the NIH human subjects research advisory committee and the trans-NIH human microbiome working group.

Prior to joining NIEHS in 1992, Johnson-Thompson was professor of biology at the University of the District of Columbia and adjunct professor of pharmacology at Georgetown University Medical School. A Florida native, she received her post-secondary education in Washington, D.C., at Howard University, where she earned a B.S. and M.S. in microbiology, and Georgetown University, where she received a Ph.D. in molecular virology.—

NICHD’s Stratakis Named 2009 Oppenheimer Awardee
Dr. Constantine Stratakis

Dr. Constantine Stratakis, head of NICHD’s Program on Developmental Endocrinology & Genetics and director of the institute’s Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship Program, was named the 2009 Ernst Oppenheimer Award recipient. The Endocrine Society bestows the award each year to an investigator under age 45 in recognition of meritorious accomplishment in the field of basic or clinical endocrinology. Stratakis will receive the award at the society meeting June 10-13, 2009, in Washington, D.C. His research has focused on understanding the molecular basis of inherited diseases involving the endocrine glands.

Stratakis was honored for identifying genetic defects associated with multiple endocrine neoplasias and related genetic associations, among them Carney-Stratakis syndrome, a disease that now bears his name. He was also cited for his contributions to the understanding of familial glucocorticoid resistance and deficiency (triple A syndrome), inherited aromatase excess, primary pigmented nodular adrenocortical disease and other forms of adrenal hyperplasias. Stratakis has also devised methods to improve diagnostic testing and treatments for Cushing syndrome and other diseases of the pituitary and adrenal glands.

ORS’s Harvey-White Mourned
erlon “Bobby” Harvey-White

Verlon “Bobby” Harvey-White, a long-time surgery technician in the Division of Veterinary Resources, ORS, died Oct. 8 of an intracranial hemorrhage he suffered 3 days earlier due to malignant hypertension. He was 57 and had battled hypertension for 20 years.

Harvey-White started his career in the Army as a dental hygienist in May 1972 at Ft. Monroe, Va. In December 1976, his unit, the 8th Division Artillery, was transferred to Germany where he served as a medical aids worker in charge of medical records, teaching health and first-aid classes. He was also the emergency medical technician at the local medical facility serving about 17,000 people.

In August 1980, he returned to the U.S. and was assigned as a medical specialist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. There he worked on a urology and general surgery ward, providing surgical support and patient care. Later he worked in the immunization clinic, where he gave immunizations and maintained the medical record files for the facility.

In May 1984, he came to NIH and began working as an animal caretaker for the National Institute of Mental Health. In September 1987, Harvey-White began his tenure in the Division of Veterinary Resources as a laboratory animal technician in Surgery Services, where he worked for 21 years.

Harvey-White used many of the skills he had acquired as a dental hygienist and medical specialist to provide comprehensive anesthetic, radiological and surgical support for a variety of surgical procedures such as heart and kidney transplants, fetal surgery, thoracic, neurosurgery, orthopedic and soft-tissue surgery in support of investigators from many NIH institutes.

He is survived by his wife Judith Harvey-White, his son Shawn, his daughter Vercera and niece Seiako Shaw. The family asks that, “In memory of Bobby, please check your blood pressure and take your medicine if you have hypertension.”

Harvey-White did not want funeral services, but a memorial fund has been set up to benefit the Ciccarone Center at Johns Hopkins for research and education projects on hypertension. Donors should note on the check or in a note: “In memory of Verlon ‘Bobby’ Harvey-White” and that the donation should go to the Ciccarone Center. Checks can be made payable to Johns Hopkins University and sent to: The Johns Hopkins Heart & Vascular Institute, 100 N. Charles St., Suite 433, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Etcheberrigaray To Lead New CSR Division
Dr. René Etcheberrigaray

The Center for Scientific Review has named Dr. René Etcheberrigaray as director of its new Division of Neuroscience, Development and Aging.  

“Dr. Etcheberrigaray will vitalize this key division with his keen management skills and a strong commitment to peer review and the neuroscience community,” said CSR director Dr. Toni Scarpa.

The new Division of Neuroscience, Development and Aging (DNDA) includes all four of CSR’s neuroscience integrated review groups, which were previously dispersed across three divisions. DNDA also includes the biology of development IRG.

Etcheberrigaray has been the chief of CSR’s brain disorders and clinical neuroscience IRG as well as scientific review officer of the clinical neuroscience and disease study section.

He obtained his M.D. from the University of Chile in early 1987, and later that year came to NIH as a postdoctoral fellow in the intramural research program at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He continued in its intramural program as visiting associate and then visiting scientist. Etcheberrigaray later joined the faculty of Georgetown University’s department of neurology. He has an extensive publication record.

Prior to coming to CSR in 2002, he was laboratory director of a biotechnology company in Rockville. His research focused on molecular and cellular mechanisms of memory and their implications for Alzheimer’s disease.

NIAMS Names Carter as Deputy Director
NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz (r) welcomes new deputy director Dr. Robert Carter.

NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz (r) welcomes new deputy director Dr. Robert Carter.

Dr. Robert H. Carter, former director of the division of clinical immunology and rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been selected as deputy director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculo-skeletal and Skin Diseases. He joined the institute on Oct. 1.  

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Carter to the NIAMS,” said Katz. “His stellar credentials as a scientist and his broad experience in NIH extramural activities will contribute to NIAMS’s long history of excellence in biomedical research.”

Carter was professor of medicine at UAB and principal investigator of the NIAMS-supported UAB Rheumatic Disease Core Center. He was also PI of an Autoimmunity Center of Excellence supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He served as staff physician at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Carter is board-certified in rheumatology and internal medicine and has numerous achievements in the fields of rheumatology and immunology. He and his colleagues have been leaders in contributing to the understanding of molecular regulation of B lymphocyte activation to identify targets for therapeutic control of autoantibody production. A major focus of his work has been on signal transduction by the B cell surface molecule CD19.

Recently, Carter and his group expanded their focus to include target identification in human lupus and the study of B cells in the immune response of healthy individuals.

Carter received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College in 1978, magna cum laude, in biology. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1982. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center. In addition, he was a fellow in rheumatology and immunology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and in molecular and clinical rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Two NICHD Mentors Honored
Dr. Richard Maraia Dr. Itai Tzchori

Two researchers were the first to receive the NICHD intramural program’s Mentor of the Year Award. Dr. Richard Maraia (l), senior investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Growth Regulation, was recognized for his emphasis on working with junior investigators to write and publish their results, for helping them to resolve difficult technological and methodological questions and for imparting his unbridled scientific enthusiasm to his trainees. Maraia’s lab studies how RNA is manufactured and processed by cells. Dr. Itai Tzchori, a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Mammalian Genes and Development, was honored for his role in mentoring post-baccalaureate fellows. He was cited for his patience and understanding, straightforward feedback, providing encouragement and fostering enthusiasm. The laboratory employs advanced gene targeting and transgenic technologies to study genes that control specific stages of mouse development.

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