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Vol. LXIV, No. 9
April 27, 2012

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Former NICHD Scientific Director Lowe Is Mourned

Dr. Charles U. Lowe

Dr. Charles U. Lowe, a former associate director of special projects at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, died on Feb. 9 at age 90.

A distinguished research scientist, pediatrician and administrator, Lowe joined NICHD in 1968 as scientific director. There he led the institute’s intramural research effort, focusing on nutrition and developmental disorders. During his tenure, Lowe initiated and conducted a multi-site study of mid-trimester amniocentesis, a procedure that had just been introduced for the prenatal diagnosis of certain genetic disorders.

In 1974, Lowe joined the staff of the assistant secretary for health as a special assistant for child health affairs. He served as executive director for two key initiatives passed by Congress: the President’s Biomedical Research Panel and the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The national commission’s recommendations for human subject protection were implemented as federal requirements and continue today with little change.

Lowe returned to NICHD in 1983 as a special assistant to the director. In 1987, he became the institute’s associate director for special projects, where he oversaw a number of critical research activities. He played a leading role in the clinical trials that tested vaccines later approved for the prevention of pertussis and typhoid fever.

Lowe was born in Pelham, N.Y., in 1921 and graduated from Harvard University in 1942. He received his M.D. degree from Yale School of Medicine in 1945 and completed his internship in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston and his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. While serving as chief resident in pediatrics, Lowe provided the first description of a rare metabolic disorder that causes intellectual disability, kidney dysfunction, cataracts and glaucoma. The disorder was named for him, and is known as Lowe syndrome or oculo-cerebro-renal syndrome of Lowe.

Before joining NICHD, Lowe held academic and research positions at the University of Minnesota, the University of Buffalo and the University of Florida. He was the founder of Pediatric Research, the journal of the Society for Pediatric Research, and served as its editor for 12 years.

In addition to his scientific contributions, Lowe is remembered for his efforts in establishing an onsite day care center at NIH in 1973. The center, one of the first in the federal government at the time, served as a model for many others and is still in operation today. After his retirement from NICHD in 1994, Lowe returned to Cambridge, Mass., where he endowed the Charles and Eileen Lowe Career Decision Fund at Harvard, served as historian and archivist for Lowell House, an undergraduate residence at Harvard, and pursued his personal passions as a cellist, gardener, master woodworker and art collector.

Mercado, Former NIAID Researcher, Dies

In a photo from the 1960s, Dr. Teresa Mercado (r) talks with colleagues.
In a photo from the 1960s, Dr. Teresa Mercado (r) talks with colleagues.

Dr. Teresa Isabel Mercado died peacefully in her sleep on Mar. 11 at age 90. She was an established researcher in NIAID’s Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases for about 30 years beginning in the 1950s. She spent most of her career studying Chagas disease, a potentially life-threatening illness spread by insects that is found mainly in Latin America. Originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, Mercado earned her doctorate in 1947 from Catholic University. Memorial contributions may be made in Mercado’s name to the Msgr. Quinn Education Fund, Our Lady of Lourdes School, 7500 Pearl St., Bethesda, MD 20814.

Three Honored in ORS Photo Contest

Drs. Daniel Appella, Amlanjyoti Dhar and Dale Lewis first place photo, taken by Appella
At left, photo contest winners (from l) Drs. Daniel Appella, Amlanjyoti Dhar and Dale Lewis; at right, first place photo, taken by Appella
In a photo from the 1960s, Dr. Teresa Mercado (r) talks with colleagues.
Second place—submitted by Lewis (subject); photo by Dhar
The Division of Occupational Health and Safety, ORS, recently honored winners in its “In Focus! Safe Workplaces for All” photo contest. The contest challenged entrants to highlight workplace safety in an entertaining way. Winning first place was Dr. Daniel Appella, senior investigator in the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, NIDDK. Second place went to Dr. Dale Lewis, staff scientist, and Dr. Amlanjyoti Dhar, postdoctoral fellow, both from the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, NCI. The winning images depict workers in laboratory workplace settings wearing proper personal protective equipment. The photos will appear in safety posters and newsletters and will be featured on the DOHS web site.

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