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Vol. LXII, No. 5
March 5, 2010

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OTT Wins Industry Award

Senior licensing and patenting manager,
DrRichard Rodriguez, director of the Division of Technology Development and Transfer; Dr. Mark Rohrbaugh, director of OTT; Steve Ferguson, deputy director of licensing and entrepreneurship; and Charles Duffney, senior advisor for monitoring and enforcement. Fatima Sayyid
NIH’s Office of Technology Transfer recently won an award for successfully executing a complex agreement involving 10 separate entities. OTT evaluates, protects, markets, licenses, monitors and manages the wide range of NIH and FDA discoveries, inventions and other intellectual property as mandated by the Federal Technology Transfer Act and related legislation. It oversees patent prosecution and negotiates and monitors licensing agreements. The Licensing Executives Society (U.S. and Canada) gave one of its five annual awards to OTT for its role in coordinating the exclusive licensing agreements for scientific discoveries generated by four ICs (NINDS, NHLBI, NIDDK and the CC) and developed in collaboration with four universities (Loma Linda University, Louisiana State University, University of Alabama and Wake Forest University) to two pharmaceutical firms that will develop new treatments based on the discoveries. Shown above with the award are OTT team members (from l) Richard Rodriguez, director of the Division of Technology Development and Transfer; Dr. Mark Rohrbaugh, director of OTT; Steve Ferguson, deputy director of licensing and entrepreneurship; and Charles Duffney, senior advisor for monitoring and enforcement. Fatima Sayyid (r), a senior licensing and patenting manager, was instrumental in coordinating the effort.

Edwards Named Director of NCCAM Extramural Research

Dr. Emmeline Edwards

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has appointed Dr. Emmeline Edwards as new director of its Division of Extramural Research. A specialist in neural mechanisms of complex behaviors, she will oversee NCCAM-funded research and training programs and provide guidance on research interests, priorities and funding. She will also coordinate research efforts with other institutes and centers.

Prior to joining NCCAM, Edwards was deputy director of the extramural program at NINDS, where she provided oversight to all scientific and administrative aspects of research programs. Before that she was program director for systems and cognitive neuroscience at NINDS.

Before joining NIH, Edwards was program director for behavioral neuroscience at the National Science Foundation and was NSF representative to the Human Brain Project. She was also a faculty member in the pharmacology and neuroscience programs at the University of Maryland.

“Her background and her proven expertise in the oversight of basic and applied research will prove invaluable to NCCAM,” said NCCAM director Dr. Josephine Briggs.

Edwards earned her B.A. from the College of New Rochelle and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Fordham University.

Smith To Head NIGMS Branch

Dr. Ward Smith

Dr. Ward Smith is the new chief of the Structural Genomics and Proteomics Technology Branch in the NIGMS Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics (CBB). The branch supports studies that take a genomics or computational approach to determining protein structure and function.

Before joining the branch as a program director in 2007, Smith was a protein crystallographer at Argonne National Laboratory, where his research focused on the structure and function of biological macromolecules and structure-based drug design.

In addition to being selected to serve as branch chief, Smith was also recently named director of the NIGMS Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), a network of research centers that are making protein structure determination faster, easier, cheaper and more useful to a broad range of scientists.

“Dr. Smith brings a fresh perspective because of his industrial background and his strong expertise in x-ray crystallography and synchrotron technology,” said CBB director Dr. Catherine Lewis. “His in-depth knowledge of structural biology will serve him well in his dual role of leading the branch and directing one of its major programs, the PSI.”

Smith earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ex NIH’er Skolnick Joins NIDA to Lead Drug Discovery

Dr. Phil Skolnick

Dr. Phil Skolnick has been appointed director of NIDA’s Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse.

He was most recently a research professor of psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. He also served as chief scientific officer at DOV Pharmaceutical, Inc., from 2001-2009. Under his leadership, DOV discovered and developed novel reuptake inhibitor platforms, including the first triple (norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine) reuptake inhibitor tested in humans. At NIDA, he will lead a team that stimulates and conducts all phases of medications development from synthesis and screening of potential drug entities to preparing submissions for New Drug Applications.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Skolnick join our team of scientists looking for solutions to the management of drug addiction,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow. “His many remarkable years of innovation and leadership in both public and private research arenas will strengthen our complex medications development process and enhance our search for pharmacotherapeutic and immunological treatment agents.”

Skolnick’s appointment marks a return to campus. He first joined NIH in 1972 as a staff fellow under Dr. John W. Daly in the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Diseases. After a brief stint as a senior investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, he returned to NIAMDD in 1978. In 1983, he became chief of the section on neurobiology, and in 1986, chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience. Skolnick retired from government service in 1997 when he accepted a position as a fellow in neuroscience at Eli Lilly.

“I am delighted to return to the NIH community, which was a wonderful professional home for 25 years,” said Skolnick. “My new position at NIDA will enable me to take what I have learned in the private sector about medications development and apply it to the challenging field of drug abuse and addiction.”

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