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NIH Record  
Vol. LXIII, No. 14
  July 08, 2011
Budget Concerns Voiced at Director’s Advisory Committee
NINDS Hosts Nonprofits at Forum to Advance Partnerships in Therapeutics
Treating Mom’s Depression Improves Behavior in Youth
Experts Probe Challenges of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
NLM Holds First Disaster Information Symposium
NEI, FDA Work Together on Clinical Trials
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‘Start Thinking a Level Up’
Lander Sends Out Clarion Call in 1st Nirenberg Lecture

Dr. Eric Lander gives first Nirenberg Lecture.
Dr. Eric Lander gives first Nirenberg Lecture.
Attention, next-generation scientists. Dr. Eric Lander has issued you a challenge. In fact, he assigned you a few major projects during the inaugural Marshall Nirenberg Lecture held recently.

“We’re not done,” declared Lander, referring to work remaining in genome science. “It’s time to start thinking a level up.”

Been There, Done That?

Here’s a question for you. How does DNA encode biology? If that query seems more fit for a history test, Lander said, then you haven’t been paying attention to the latest in genome science.

The query recurred often in “From the ‘Genetic Code’ to the ‘Genetic Code,’” the first lecture of what will be an annual scientific tribute to a genome visionary.

While conducting research at NIH in the 1960s, Nirenberg discovered the genetic code, how DNA fundamentally works. The revelation is one of biology's transformational breakthroughs. Following a lifetime of unparalleled scientific achievement, Nirenberg, the first NIH intramural scientist to win the Nobel Prize, died in January 2010.

Loneliness Good for Humanity, but Deadly
Cacioppo Lectures on ‘Social Isolation And Health’

Dr. John Cacioppo
Dr. John Cacioppo
“I’m so lonesome, I could cry,” sang country star Hank Williams. Although he described the emotion of lonesomeness beautifully, he could not have realized that his feelings were tied up in biological processes that went far beyond crying. On June 2, the fifth Matilda White Riley Lecture in the Behavioral and Social Sciences featured Dr. John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago and honored him for his work characterizing the biological mechanisms and effects of loneliness.

Since 2006, the memorial lecture and award has recognized a researcher whose work reflects the commitments of Dr. Riley (1911–2004), former associate director for behavioral and social research at the NationalInstitute on Aging. She was “the most important and influential person in gaining recognition for the behavioral and social sciences at NIH,” said Dr. Robert Kaplan, director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, which sponsors the event.