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Vol. LXIV, No. 12
June 8, 2012

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Byrnes Named Director of CSR Division

Photo of Dr. Noni Byrnes

The Center for Scientific Review has named Dr. Noni Byrnes director of its Division of Basic and Integrative Biological Sciences. She has been acting director of the division since November 2011.

“Dr. Byrnes brings impeccable leadership and mentoring skills to this key post,” said CSR acting director Dr. Richard Nakamura. “She also brings a strong commitment to peer review and the basic sciences community.”

He noted that Byrnes led CSR’s successful review of over 20,000 Challenge grant applications for American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds in 2009 and 2010. In this effort, she managed the activities of over 200 scientific, professional, technical and support staff.

The Division of Basic and Integrative Biological Sciences includes 6 integrated review groups that consist of 50 study sections that review NIH grant applications in: biological chemistry, macromolecular biophysics, bioengineering, cell biology, genetics, molecular sciences and basic and translational oncology.

Since 2006, Byrnes has been chief of the cell biology integrated review group. Dr. John Bowers will continue to serve as acting chief of this IRG until a new chief is appointed.

Byrnes came to CSR in 2000 to be scientific review officer for the enabling bioanalytical and biophysical technologies study section, which reviews applications to advance cutting-edge tools development for biochemical and cell biological studies. She also coordinated CSR’s Review Internship Program.

She earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Emory University, where her research focused on the development of fluorescence spectroscopic methods. Before coming to CSR, she worked for Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, where she was a staff scientist in the bioanalytical drug development section.

Linde Named OSPPC Director at NIAMS
Photo of Anita Linde

Anita Linde has been appointed director of the newly organized Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The Office of Science Policy and Planning and the Office of Communications and Public Liaison recently joined to become branches within the new office. Linde is responsible for overseeing the science policy, strategic planning, program evaluation, legislation, communications and public liaison activities of the institute.

“We believe this new structure will enable us to better leverage the expertise of our staff, share knowledge, streamline the decision-making and reporting processes and maximize our resource utilization,” said NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz. “Moreover, Anita’s leadership abilities and diverse experience make her ideally suited to direct the new office.”]

Linde had been director of OSPP since 2005, where she managed science policy, strategic planning, program evaluation, legislative liaison and speechwriting activities. For the past year, she also served as acting director of OCPL, overseeing NIAMS press and social media activities, science writing, web site, health information and education initiatives and public outreach efforts.

Linde came to NIH as a Presidential Management Intern in 1994, and has held a number of positions across the agency in management and program analysis; legislative analysis; science policy and planning; and communications and public liaison. During her tenure, she has served on many agency-wide groups including the administrative training committee, the evaluation oversight committee and the governance group for the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Planning.

Linde has received numerous awards including the NIH Director’s Award for exemplary service as a mentor in 2010. She is a 2004 graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Linde is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia, where she earned a bachelor of arts in comparative literature and French. She holds a master of public policy degree from Vanderbilt University.

Rene Marks 50 Years of Service

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (l) recently recognized Dr. Anthony Rene at the HHS offices in Washington, D.C., for 50 years of federal service.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (l) recently recognized Dr. Anthony Rene at the HHS offices in Washington, D.C., for 50 years of federal service. The majority of his active career was at NIGMS, where he managed research training programs for underrepresented minorities, individuals with disabilities, people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those re-entering research after a hiatus. Rene continues this work as a volunteer in the NICHD Division of Special Populations. “My passion is working with students,” he said. He gets requests for advice from students in high school and college levels and those seeking doctoral degrees. One of the hallmarks of his mentoring style is his accessibility. “I tell them I’m available evenings and weekends. They can always get in touch with me,” he said. “It’s what I do.”

OER’s Ellis Retires After 34 Years at NIH
By Manju Subramanya
Photo of Joe Ellis

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Joe Ellis, director of NIH’s grants policy and compliance hub, paid a visit to hard-hit research institutions in New Orleans. From that visit came a new NIH grants policy to consider extensions for principal investigators during natural disasters to reestablish research.

Understanding the needs of the research community while formulating policy that hews to NIH regulations and keeps its larger mission in mind characterized Ellis’ 34-year career at NIH, including the last 9 years as director of OER’s Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA). He retired June 2.

“Facilitating change while reducing the burden on recipients and managing the stewardship of NIH funds for health research is very rewarding,” said Ellis, who began his NIH career as an auditor in 1978 and gravitated to the grants management field, joining NHLBI in 1987 before moving on to NIA, then to NIGMS as chief grants management officer in 2000 and finally OER in 2003.

“He has done such a phenomenal job at NIH and with the grantee community. People can’t think of extramural without Joe Ellis,” said Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH deputy director for extramural research.

Ellis had a major hand in NIH grants policy initiatives, including the revised Financial Conflict of Interest regulations in August 2011, the changes in stem cell policy, the unprecedented opportunity of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants and, more recently, the pilot for a government-wide progress report. He is particularly proud of his recent efforts to streamline “effort reporting” and to overhaul cost principles that govern federal grants.

He forged important relationships with the research community through his representation on the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) and work with the Council on Governmental Relations, among others. In 2010, Ellis won the Carrabino award, an honor bestowed by the National Council of University Research Administrators on a federal partner who has made a significant contribution to research administration.

“His knowledge and thoughtful approach to streamlining processes has been of immense benefit to the extramural community and particularly the FDP,” said Susan W. Sedwick, FDP chair and director, Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of Texas, Austin. “He is truly a partner.”

Ellis said his challenge was to address the constant barrage of policy requirements while trying to keep a life. “I am thankful that I have skilled, resourceful staff who do the work that makes me look good.”

“When things are swirling, he is the calm influence that keeps the office sane,” Marcia Hahn, director of OPERA’s Division of Grants Policy, said of her boss.

“He is a listener, collaborator, consensus-builder,” said Diane Dean, director of OPERA’s Division of Grants Compliance & Oversight.

In retirement, Ellis looks forward to spending more time with his wife of 34 years, Theresa, and his two grown children—Kate, a grants management specialist at NIBIB, and Andrew, who just finished college.

Ellis, an avid outdoorsman, also aims to soak in the serenity of fly-fishing.

“Fly-fishing is the antithesis of what we do at NIH, where we are on a treadmill all the time. It is to take what nature and the environment give you and enjoy it,” he said.

NIGMS’s Zatz Retires from Range of Roles
By Shelly Pollard
Dr. Marion Zatz

When you walk into Dr. Marion Zatz’s office, you immediately notice the recognitions and photos that span her 28 years at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. She points to several images, remembering the grantee whose biomedical research career she helped start and the meetings she participated in that played a role in shaping NIH’s stem cell policy. It’s not surprising that, after decades of service in a range of areas, Zatz retires with many fond memories.

With a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Cornell, she spent the early years of her career as a faculty member at the Yale, Georgetown and George Washington University schools of medicine. She also directed tissue-typing labo15 ratories at two of those posts. During her research career, Zatz held R01 grants from two NIH components and published more than 50 papers.

She first came to NIH as a guest scientist in the Immunology Branch, NCI, where she worked from 1974 to 1977. She joined NIGMS as a program director in 1984, initially managing grants on cell growth and differentiation and, somewhat later, on cell cycle and programmed cell death. She became a branch chief in 1990 and at the time of her retirement was chief of the Developmental and Cellular Processes Branch in the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology.

Zatz says that one of the most rewarding aspects of her job was identifying emerging areas of science and fostering their development. When she first arrived at NIGMS, she built a new program in the rapidly expanding field of molecular immunobiology. She also had an integral part in the stem cell arena as a member of the NIH stem cell task force and developer of a series of initiatives for a new NIGMS grant program in basic stem cell biology. Zatz also created a program for administrative supplements for collaborative science as a rapid and flexible mechanism to allow NIGMS grantees to form new collaborations.

“Marion has been a tremendously valuable colleague, with the capacity to juggle many balls at the same time,” said acting NIGMS director Dr. Judith Greenberg. “She’s had an impact that goes well beyond her division, making important, lasting contributions in the research, training and workforce development and diversity arenas.”

Another fulfilling element of her work, Zatz recalls, was helping applicants and grantees. “I consider an important part of my job to be a social worker for scientists, trying to lead investigators and trainees through ever-changing policies, practices and budgets and providing as much information as possible along the way,” she wrote in an essay published last year in Molecular Biology of the Cell.

A staunch supporter of the research training mission, Zatz directed the institute’s largest Ph.D. training program, which focuses on the cellular, biochemical and molecular sciences. She also developed new Ph.D. training grant programs in bioinformatics and computational biology and in molecular medicine. In addition, she served on the institute’s training strategic plan committee and worked on implementing the plan’s recommendations.

Zatz was active in workforce diversity efforts, organizing a workshop and creating a web site on diversity recruitment and retention strategies. In 2011, she took on responsibility for the NIGMS diversity and career re-entry supplements program. She plans to continue her involvement in this program as a contractor.

“Marion is committed to preparing the next generation of biomedical researchers, especially from underserved populations,” said Dr. Clifton Poodry, director of the NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity. “She played a vital role in the institute’s efforts to increase biomedical workforce diversity.”

In addition to her many roles at NIGMS, Zatz served as a mentor to staff, applicants, grantees and trainees. She was a founding member of the American Women in Science Bethesda chapter and served as its president from 2000-2001. Her honors include an NIH mentoring award, an NIGMS diversity awareness award and NIH Director’s Awards in 1998 and 2005.

Retirement may mean it’s time to pack up the photos and awards, but Zatz leaves behind a rich legacy of contributions to science and those engaged in it.

NCI’s Long Mourned
Photo Dr. Cedric W. Long

Dr. Cedric W. Long, assistant director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Extramural Activities, passed away unexpectedly on May 3. He was 75.

Long spent his entire 32-year federal career at NCI, including 15 years with DEA. As assistant director, some of his responsibilities included overseeing committee management functions, research integrity compliance issues and serving as project officer for the contract supporting operations of the National Cancer Advisory Board and the NCI board of scientific advisors. Long was an advisor to the DEA director on matters of extramural policies, especially those involving interface between extramural, intramural and contract operations.

Prior to his position with DEA, he was general manager/project officer of the NCI Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center from 1980 to 1997. Long’s positions with NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment/Biological Resources Branch/Biological Response Modifiers Program were as acting associate director (1985); acting chief (1984-1985); and chief, procurement, formulation and preclinical trials (1980-1986). From 1976 to 1980, he was chief of Litton Bionetics, Inc.’s RNA Virus Laboratory/Biological Carcinogenesis Program. Long was chief of the Cell and Viral Biology Laboratory for Flow General, Inc., from 1970 to 1976. He was an NCI postdoctoral fellow with New York University School of Medicine and an NIH pre-doctoral fellow at Princeton University’s chemistry department.

Long published more than 90 original papers and abstracts. A major study area was to understand the factors controlling expression of leukemia and sarcoma viruses and how they related to cell growth and malignant transformation of tissues.

Long was a member of the American Society of Biological Chemists, the American Association for Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi. He served as a referee for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Analytical Biochemistry, the International Journal of Cancer and the National Science Foundation.

Born in Michigan, Long was raised in California. He received B.A and M.A. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, June 14 at 2 p.m. at the Neuroscience Bldg., 6001 Executive Blvd., Conf. Rms. C & D.

Sandler Honored by Public Health Society
Photo Dr. Cedric W. Long

NIEHS epidemiologist Dr. Dale Sandler has been elected as an alumni member of the Alpha chapter of the Delta Omega honorary society in public health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she earned her doctorate. New student, faculty and alumni members were formally recognized May 15 in Baltimore at the chapter’s annual dinner and induction ceremony. Sandler is head of the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch and a lead researcher on several large, high-profile prospective studies including the Sister Study, the GuLF Study and the Agricultural Health Study. She joined NIEHS in 1979 and was appointed head of the Epidemiology Branch in 2003, after 2 years as acting chief.

Photo: Steve McCaw

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