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NIH Record  
Vol. LXII, No. 16
  August 6, 2010
 Features
Adventures in Biology’ Begins This Fall
New NIH Global Health Course Enlightens Students
NIH Expands Clinical and Translational Science Award Program
Grady Addresses Relationship Between Research, Practice and Policy
Workshop Explores Technologies for Healthy Independent Living
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Ex-NIH Director Varmus ‘Re-Returns’ to Lead NCI
  NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (r) welcomes Dr. Harold Varmus back as 14th director of NCI. Varmus was also the 14th NIH director.
  NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (r) welcomes Dr. Harold Varmus back as 14th director of NCI. Varmus was also the 14th NIH director.

Former NIH director Dr. Harold Varmus (1993-1999) returned to NIH for the second time in his career on July 12, when he became the 14th director of the National Cancer Institute. His first stint at NIH was service as a clinical associate for 2 years (1968-1970) at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases.

Sworn in to his new duties by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius earlier that day, Varmus conducted a 50-minute Town Hall meeting at Kirschstein Auditorium in Natcher Bldg. in the afternoon. He outlined some of his objectives for NCI, shared his philosophy on how science advances, named key associates and divulged some personal preferences on grammar, salutation and deportment before the crowded hall.
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The Tao of Tau
Tangles, Not Plaques, a New Focus in Alzheimer’s Research

Mainstream research on Alzheimer’s disease may be giving short shrift to the tangles part of the two-fisted pathology that has for decades been a hallmark of the disease: the development of plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brains of AD patients.

It is the latter feature that intrigues researchers such as Dr. Karen Duff, professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She presented a Wednesday Afternoon Lecture in Masur Auditorium on June 23.

In a 75-minute talk titled “It Takes Tau to Tangle: Plaques, Tangles and Neurodegenerative Disease,” Duff explained how scientists are “reconciling the contributions of amyloid plaques (or A-beta, a peptide that forms plaques) and tau,” a protein causing tangles.
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