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NIH Record  
Vol. LXII, No. 1
  January 8, 2010
Woodmont House To Open in Spring
Nobel Laureate Greider To Give Trent Lecture
Four Busy NIH’ers Discuss Work-Life Balance
Three NIH’ers Named 2009 AAAS Fellows
Symposium Highlights Research in Women’s Health
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A Busy To-Do List
Collins Convenes First ACD Meeting as Director
  Dr. Francis Collins holds his first ACD meeting as NIH director.
  Dr. Francis Collins holds his first ACD meeting as NIH director.
Host the President. Account for unprecedented stimulus windfall. Meet reps from dozens of constituency groups. Announce new stem cell lines. Plan to avoid fall from future fiscal cliff. These were just a few items on the to-do list of NIH director Dr. Francis Collins in the first 4 months of his new job. At the Dec. 4 meeting of the advisory committee to the director, he described life in the top chair at NIH.

“This has been a pretty wild ride, this first 115 days. Trying to figure out the right metaphor is sort of like this,” Collins joked, showing a slide of a boy attempting to sip from a rush of water. “I don’t think it quite does justice, though, because it really feels like drinking from a fire hose while riding a rollercoaster. There are so many things coming at you every day, but the staff here is phenomenal and the science is truly exciting.”

Where Science, Hope and Sadness Intersect
New Undiagnosed Diseases Program Awash in Potential Patients
  Dr. William Gahl of Undiagnosed Diseases Program
  Dr. William Gahl of Undiagnosed Diseases Program
If the Clinical Center is the “House of Hope,” then one of NIH’s most recently established components, the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, must seem like a harried gatekeeper at the house’s new entryway. Similar to a bouncer at the most exclusive club in town, the UDP evaluates those waiting anxiously in a long queue to get in.

“This is a program that lets us see the juxtaposition of science and sadness in the world,” said Dr. William Gahl, head of the intramural program at NIH’s Office of Rare Diseases Research, which began the UDP nearly 2 years ago. “It lets us as investigators see the human condition in the person of all the patients who apply.”