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Vol. LXIV, No. 4
February 17, 2012
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Milestones

OER’s Turley Retires After 31 Years at NIH
By Manju Subramanya

Tom Turley

In 1985, when NIH grants management staff were laboriously calculating budgets by hand for the extramural grants they managed, Tom Turley hit upon a solution. Lotus 1-2-3 had just reached the market and Turley, then at NIDDK, quickly devised a customized spreadsheet that became the rage across ICs. A grateful grants management community awarded a stunned Turley the grants management advisory committee’s Excellence Award and a cash award.

That knack for taking a tedious, manual process and making it automated and efficient has been the signature style of Turley, chief of the Web Development and Technology Branch in the Office of Extramural Research (OER), who retired in January after 31 years at NIH.

“His vision, unheralded though it might have been, has been critical in many ways,” said Joe Ellis, director of OER’s Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration. “He has turned around projects almost on a dime and has allowed NIH and OER to respond quickly.”

The projects came fast and furious, fueled by Turley’s reputation for quick turnarounds of complicated projects. His back-end work included the high-profile NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry, the Financial Conflict of Interest database and the GM certification system. Along the way, he picked up six NIH Director’s Awards.

Turley worked for 17 years in grants management at NIDA, NIDDK and NHLBI before transitioning in 1997 to head OER’s web branch. He was dubbed the “Father of the Infonet” for leading the creation, in 1997, of the Grants Management Infonet, a repository of NIH grants policy and procedures that changed the way grants management staff got their information. The web was in its infancy and Turley created the site with HTML code that he taught himself.

“He is willing to help wherever he can and brings his business knowledge of the extramural program to bear on his web projects, which is phenomenal,” said Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH deputy director for extramural research. “He does the work of many men and women. It is going to be really, really tough when he is gone.”

Rockey cited in particular Turley’s work on the stem cell registry; his leadership on the Section 508 compliance project and his work with Grants.gov relating to electronic submission of grant applications.

Turley said it has been a great run in his “GM life” and his “web life,” the dual paths that distinguished his career. “It has been a whirlwind, really a great career—the people I have met, the things I have done,” he said. The Damascus resident credited his wife, Kathy, for being supportive of his many hours of evening and weekend work. With his three grown children, Matt, Keith and Kristin, having left the nest, Turley in retirement hopes to indulge in his passions of woodworking, gardening and camping.

His parting advice for his successor: “Don’t come in and try to change the world overnight. You have a great base to start with—the people who work here are wonderful.”

Weymouth, of Safra Lodge, Mourned
Jan Weymouth

Jan Weymouth, 62, who was executive director of the Edmund J. Safra Family Lodge at NIH before retiring to Rehoboth Beach, died of carcinoid cancer on Jan. 2 at home.

She began her NIH career in 1970 after working at the 4-H Foundation. In 1977, she joined the Division of Space Management. From 1983 until 2000, she helped manage Clinical Center space and facilities.

Weymouth was instrumental in launching the CC’s hospitality services program, which deployed staff to the front entrance and to three hospitality desks to welcome patients and improve customer service.

In 1999, approval was given to begin program and design work on what would become the Safra Lodge, a 34-room house for adult patients and their families adjacent to the CC. For 4 years, Weymouth continued her hospital duties while planning the interior design and management of the lodge. She served as executive director of the lodge from 2004 to 2007, overseeing everything from construction to staffing.

Her colleagues said Weymouth was the kind of person who knew how to get things done; many referred to her as “1-800-CALL-JAN.”

She is survived by her husband of 41 years, Rob Weymouth, who is also retired from NIH; daughter Kristen; and a brother, Richard Hauft.

Contributions in Weymouth’s memory may be made to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health for the Edmund J. Safra Family Lodge, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3999.

CSR’s Martin Retires

Dr. Michael Martin has a sharp eye and keen ear. An avid birder since his late 30s, he has traveled to the Amazon, Antarctica and other locations featuring often-elusive wildlife. But he is also apt to spot an osprey or eagle that fellow commuters completely miss on the Cabin John Parkway.

In his 34 years at NIH, he was also well-known for his big heart and desire to help people—fellow employees, grant applicants and those ultimately served by the research NIH funds. His philosophy: “It’s all about people.”
Dr. Michael Martin
Dr. Michael Martin recently retired after 34 years at NIH. He expected only a brief stint here at first, but a training program exposed him to a rewarding career in research management.

From 1999 until the end of 2011 when he retired, Martin was at the Center for Scientific Review as division director of physiology and pathology and as special scientific advisor to the CSR director. In addition to his people-related talents, he was a creative, thorough thinker.

“He is great with data analysis to understand an issue,” said Christine Melchior, chief of the integrative, functional and cognitive neuroscience integrated review group. “What we refer to as ‘Michael plots’ are now standard.”

Martin grew up in Concord, Calif. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, he went to Fiji with the Peace Corps. Drawing a low lottery number (2, to be exact) in the Vietnam-era draft, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves as a medical corpsman.

He then embarked on what he calls “one of the best moves in my life”—graduate and postdoc work in the University of Bristol, England’s, department of physiology. In addition to satisfying research into the role of amino acids as transmitters, the international perspective, he said, was “a wonderful growing experience for a fifth-generation Californian.”

Martin came to the neurology institute for what he thought would be a few years at NIH. Instead, he discovered his calling through the Grants Associate Program, designed to train investigators in research management. “I met people across NIH,” he said. “I learned about the variety and complexity of what you could do with a Ph.D.—in addition to the lab, I saw lots of other opportunities to work with people and science.”

Martin went to NCI and then became a deputy associate director at NIGMS. He was responsible for coordinating council reviews and developing and evaluating programs. He said he also learned how to supervise others from then-deputy director Sue Shafer. “What she taught me I have used for the rest of my career,” he said.

In turn, Shafer said Martin was a key player in keeping the institute running. “He has a good problem-solving approach,” she said. “That and a good sense of humor really helped him accomplish so much.”

Melchior reported to Martin for many years. “You could count on him to be supportive,” she said, noting he encouraged many co-workers to start or complete degrees. He was also known for, and teased about, his love of chocolate. “If I had something non-urgent to talk to him about, I would email him I had chocolate in my office. He’d always show up at the door.”

Martin is a member of the Cherokee Nation. His grandmother was born in the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, before it became part of the United States. She eventually graduated from Stanford School of Nursing. His background spurred an interest in minority health, especially health research and training in Native American/Alaska Native communities. While at NIGMS, he helped coordinate a national conference on Native American research and careers in health. He also helped develop an RFA, Native American Research Centers for Health, still in use, in which the principal investigator is an American Indian or Alaska Native organization.

In retirement, he and his wife plan to visit family in California and friends in Europe. But their first trip is a birding expedition to Malaysia and Borneo in February.


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