|At left, Sen. Kay Hagan (l) and NIEHS director Dr. Linda Birnbaum gather during the reception at the CRU. Hagan said it is “critical to fund” research at NIEHS. At right, NIEHS acting scientific director Dr. John Pritchard (l) and NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman enjoy ceremony. Birnbaum gave special thanks to Gottesman for his support at the NIH level.
Friends, supporters and dignitaries were on hand at the NIEHS campus on July 27 to celebrate the grand opening of the much-anticipated clinical research unit (CRU). The day’s events began with a series of short addresses moderated by emcee Joe Graedon, radio celebrity and co-host of the public radio program The People’s Pharmacy. Guests toured the new facility after a formal ribbon cutting and enjoyed afternoon lectures at a clinical research symposium.
NIEHS and National Toxicology Program director Dr. Linda Birnbaum and NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman delivered opening remarks. Dr. Robert Califf, vice chancellor for clinical research at Duke University, presented “A Local Perspective” on the benefits he expects from research at the facility.
They were followed by federal representatives, including U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Reps. David Price, Bob Etheridge and Brad Miller, and representatives of state and local governments. NIEHS acting clinical director Dr. Darryl Zeldin concluded the formal portion of the celebration with the presentation of awards to employees for their contributions to clinical research at NIEHS. Afterwards, with scissors in hand, the speakers officially cut the ribbon at the entrance of the CRU as NIEHS employees and visitors applauded.
That afternoon, CRU medical director Dr. Stavros Garantziotis hosted talks by three physician-scientists on aspects of clinical research. Califf returned to the podium and was joined by National Children’s Study principal investigator Dr. Philip Landrigan of Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Northwestern University endocrinologist Dr. Franck Mauvais-Jarvis.
NIEHS broke ground for the CRU in 2007. The 14,000-square-foot outpatient facility will be used to conduct studies that involve on-site human sample collection, analysis and functional assessment. The unit will partner with the Clinical Research Center in Bethesda and serve as what Birnbaum called “a clinical training ground” for public health research in the region.