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Vol. LXI, No. 18
September 4, 2009

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Seminar Series on Obesity Continues

Could your cell phone help you count calories? Do gut bacteria contribute to obesity? These are some of the cutting-edge research questions being explored in the new NIH Obesity Research Task Force Seminar Series. The task force initiated the series this year to bring the exciting and diverse fields of obesity research to the attention of the broader NIH community.

The next seminar will be held Thursday, Sept. 24, with the theme of non-traditional risk factors for obesity. Dr. Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis will present “The human gut microbiota: dining in with a few trillion fascinating friends.” Dr. Nikhil Dhurandhar, from Pennington Biomedical Research Center, will speak on the potential role of viruses in obesity development: “Infectobesity–Obesity of Infectious Origin.” NIEHS’s Dr. Jerry Heindel will discuss “Chemicals in the environment: What doesn’t make us sick makes us...fatter.” Dr. Elissa Epel of the University of California, San Francisco, will address, “What’s eating you? Stress pathways to obesity.” Gordon and Dhurandhar are supported by NIDDK; Epel is funded by NIA. The seminar will be in Lister Hill Auditorium, Bldg. 38A, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All NIH staff are welcome to attend the seminars. The seminars are also videocast at

NIH Institute Relay Set, Sept. 17

The 26th NIH Institute Challenge Relay will be held Thursday, Sept. 17 in front of Bldg. 1, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The NIH Recreation and Welfare Association, members of the original NIH Health’s Angels and ORS’s Division of Amenities and Transportation Services invite you to this year’s race. The relay consists of teams of five runners, each of whom runs a ½-mile loop around Bldg. 1. All institutes, centers, divisions and contractors are invited to enter as many teams as they wish. Each team must have men and women runners with at least two runners of the same sex (two females-three males or three females-two males). The winning team will have their names engraved on the Allen Lewis NIH Memorial Trophy located at the Bldg. 31 Fitness Center. There is a $10 entry fee per team. Group leaders should email with your group leader, team name and team participants. Volunteers are also needed; call David Browne or Kallie Wasserman at (301) 496-6061 or email if you would like to help.

Wednesday Afternoon Lectures Resume

The 2009-2010 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series kicks off the season on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10, with Dr. Helen Piwnica-Worms. As the Gerty T. Cori professor of cell biology and physiology at Washington University in St. Louis and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Piwnica-Worms will present “Targeting Chk1 in Breast Cancer.”

To learn more about the “research all-stars” coming to campus this year, visit the new WALS web site at You can check out the entire 2009-2010 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series schedule; request a 2009-2010 poster; sign up for lunch with a speaker if you’re a postdoc or grad student; follow WALS on Twitter; save lecture dates directly to Outlook, iCal or Entourage; join the LISTSERV; download previous lectures to your iPod.

For any questions or requests, contact Sarah Freeman at or (301) 594-6747.

First Hotel Fair Set for Sept. 11

The first annual BPA Hotel Fair will be held on Friday, Sept. 11 at 6701 Rockledge Dr. from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the upper parking deck behind the Rockledge II Bldg. Representatives of BPA hotels will visit from several major U.S. cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Durham, Chicago and the D.C. metro area. Scientific review officers and others who assist in planning and scheduling peer review meetings can gather information about meeting space, hotel amenities and other accommodations and develop a network of personal hotel management contacts. Shuttles will be provided. For details, call David Browne, (301) 496-6061.

Employees’ Kids Get Into the Mystics

NIH employees were welcomed to the Verizon Center on July 21 for a game with the Washington Mystics. R&W arranged for employees to shoot baskets from the floor after the game and get basketball tips from Mystics star player Alana Beard (l). With Beard are Jabraughn Hill (c), 11, daughter of NINDS employee Renee Hill, and her friend Christine Benson, 12—both girls played for St. Jane de Chantal’s A team last season. Beard stayed after the game to discuss basketball, pose for pictures and sign autographs. Also part of the evening, Eryn Crosby, son of NIH contractor Marco Crosby, won a basketball signed by all members of the Mystics team

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