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Vol. LXII, No. 14
July 9, 2010

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Herpesvirus Expert Cohen To Lead NIAID Lab

Dr. Jeffrey I. Cohen

Dr. Jeffrey I. Cohen has been appointed chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases (LID) in NIAID’s Division of Intramural Research. He has been an investigator in NIAID’s Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases since 1990. He earned tenure in 1994 and became chief of the lab’s molecular virology section in 1997.

His recent work focuses on investigations of the molecular genetics, pathogenesis and clinical aspects of human herpesviruses, particularly Epstein-Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus and herpes simplex virus. He and his research group identify genes important for viral latency and infection, search for novel treatment compounds and develop candidate vaccines for herpesvirus infections.

Cohen earned his M.D. in 1981 from Johns Hopkins University and was an intern and resident in medicine at Duke University. He first came to NIAID in 1984, when he was a medical staff fellow in LID. After a clinical fellowship at Beth Israel and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in Boston, he served as an instructor at Harvard Medical School before returning to NIH.

As chief of LID, Cohen will lead one of NIAID’s premier laboratories. LID was established in 1942 and has a distinguished history of viral pathogen discovery and vaccine development. Cohen takes over the position from co-chiefs Dr. Brian R. Murphy, who retired in April after 40 years at NIH, and Dr. Robert H. Purcell, who will remain as a section chief in LID.

Grantee Bertozzi Wins Lemelson-MIT Prize

Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi

NIGMS grantee and advisory council member Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi is the 2010 winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The award recognizes outstanding innovators and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers. According to the prize announcement, Bertozzi’s work in chemical biology has advanced the biotechnology industry and revealed new ways to diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases. Her research, which is also supported by NIAID, focuses on understanding carbohydrates (glycans) on the surface of cells. The applications of this work range from cancer detection to tailor-making proteins for research or therapeutic purposes. To further develop some of these applications, she co-founded a company in 2008, which received an ARRA Challenge Grant. Among her many inventions are a cell nanoinjector, artificial bone materials, targets for tuberculosis therapy and cell microarray platforms. She is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of a nanoscience institute at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Bertozzi is the first woman to win the Lemelson-MIT Prize, which she received at MIT on June 18. She has won many other honors and awards including the MacArthur “genius” award, the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering and election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Rivera Named NIAMS Deputy Scientific Director

Dr. Juan Rivera

Dr. Juan Rivera, chief, Laboratory of Molecular Immunogenetics, has been appointed as NIAMS deputy scientific director. He is well-known as an outstanding mast cell biologist. He currently serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Immunology and is on the editorial board of Current Immunology Reviews. Rivera previously served as director of the NIAMS Office of Science and Techno-logy and was also appointed by former NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni as leader of the task force that evaluated trans-NIH initiatives, which led to the creation of the Center for Human Immunology. In addition to his other responsibilities, Rivera will assist with the creation of the NIH iPS (induced Pluripotent Stem) Cell Center and will lead NIAMS in the generation of a new strategic plan for its Intramural Research Program.

UNC Honors NIEHS’s Collman

Dr. Gwen Collman

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently conferred its distinguished alumni award on one of the top scientist administrators at NIEHS—Dr. Gwen Collman, acting director of the Division of Extramural Research and Training.

The UNC epidemiology chapter of the General Alumni Association formally presented Collman with the 2009 H.A. Tyroler Distinguished Alumni Award at her recent keynote presentation on “Community Engagement in Environmental Epidemiology” at the UNC School of Social Work.

The award is a memorial to the late Dr. Herman Alfred Tyroler, alumni distinguished professor emeritus of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health, who died in 2007. The award honors his dedication to teaching and mentoring over four decades at UNC.

The award is especially meaningful for Collman, who worked closely with Tyroler from 1979 to 1981 after she came to UNC as part of the Lipids Clinics Program coordinating center. Collman joined NIEHS as an epidemiologist in the Epidemiology Branch following completion of her doctorate in environmental epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health in 1984 and moved to the extramural program in 1992.

CSR’s Olufokunbi Sam Wins Award

Dr. Delia Olufokunbi Sam

CSR’s Dr. Delia Olufokunbi Sam was honored with the King Davis Award for emerging leadership in promoting diversity and reducing disparities by the American College of Mental Health Administration College for Behavioral Health Leadership at its 2010 summit in Santa Fe. She was recognized for her “tireless leadership in bringing health and behavioral health advocates together in the Whole Health Campaign, a multi-disciplinary effort dedicated to ensuring that behavioral issues receive full consideration in national dialogues related to health care, health reform and health policy.” Olufokunbi Sam manages CSR’s health care delivery and methodologies small business innovation research study section and the health disparities and equity promotion study section. She joined CSR in 2009 and received her award based on earlier efforts as deputy director of the Center of Integrated Behavioral Health Policy at George Washington University, where she managed a diverse portfolio of behavioral health research and policy.

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