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NIH Record  
Vol. LXIV, No. 23
  November 9, 2012
Researchers Study Ways to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
NIAID Discovery May Help Eliminate River Blindness
Renowned British Researcher Addresses TB Workshop
Mingling with Nature May Help the Depressed
Lecture on Tackling Cataract Blindness in China, Nov. 14 at Stone House
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Research Festival Celebrates 125 Years of Discovery

Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz participates in plenary session at Research Festival 2012.

Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz participates in plenary session at Research Festival 2012.

The 26th annual NIH Research Festival, held Oct. 9-12, was a moveable feast.

“Find out what is going on in this remarkable community,” NIH director Dr. Francis Collins advised attendees in opening remarks. “Here’s a chance to enlarge your circle.”

Nearly 6,000 scientists conduct research in NIH’s own laboratories, most of them on the Bethesda campus. As the showcase for the Intramural Research Program, the festival brings people together, invites speakers and students and celebrates science for 4 days in October. The effects last a good deal longer.

“I can tell you many stories about how this Research Festival has triggered many collaborations,” said Collins, introducing the quasquicentennial theme: “NIH at 125: Today’s Discoveries, Tomorrow’s Cures.”

The plenary session in Masur Auditorium opened with 3 “big vision” talks. NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons spoke on a systems approach to health inequities. Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz of NICHD addressed advances in technology and imaging and NIAID’s Dr. Ron Germain took the audience on a journey through the immune system.

‘Options Are Very Wide for You’
At Hispanic Heritage Program, Cintrón Encourages a Life in Science

Dr. Nitza Cintrón

Dr. Nitza Cintrón

Dr. Nitza Cintrón’s quest for scientific truths began when she was a little girl, growing up in the small district of Santurce in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Eat your vegetables, her mother told her, because they’re good for you. They make you healthy and keep you strong. That made young Nitza wonder. Just how do vegetables work in the body?

“I really wanted to know what made things work—not all things, but living things,” Cintrón said recently at NIH’s 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month observance, explaining her 34-year science career.

“I had no clue how to go about pursuing this vision I had that I was going to be a mad scientist somewhere,” she continued, describing her upbringing by a mom and dad who never received schooling themselves beyond high school and 8th grade, respectively. “I didn’t come from a family of scientists…but what my parents did give me and my two sisters was the sense that education was really, really important—not so much because they didn’t have it, but because they knew that the future was going to be that of choices if we had an education.”