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Vol. LXIV, No. 24
November 23, 2012

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Katz, Ozato Honored by Japanese Government

Drs. Stephen Katz and Keiko Ozato
Drs. Stephen Katz and Keiko Ozato

Two NIH scientists were recognized recently for their work fostering scientific collaboration and information exchange between the United States and Japan. The ceremony took place in Washington, D.C., at the residence of the Japanese ambassador to the U.S., Ichiro Fujisaki.

NIAMS director Dr. Stephen Katz was honored with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for his contributions to “the education of Japanese dermatologists and to the development and internationalization of dermatological research in Japan.”

Also honored was Dr. Keiko Ozato, chief of NICHD’s section on molecular genetics of immunity. She received the Japanese government’s Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

Over his long career, Katz has hosted many Japanese scientists in his laboratory in the NCI Dermatology Branch and has trained some 32 Japanese investigators, many of whom now play leading roles in the field of dermatology. As a member of the board of directors and president of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, he urged cooperation between the society and the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID), chairing a joint U.S.-Japan academic research meeting between the two in 1986. Katz has also served on the editorial boards of numerous Japanese dermatology journals and given many lectures at Japanese universities. In addition, he is an honorary member of JSID, a designation rarely given to foreign scientists.

The Order of the Rising Sun, established in 1875, is Japan’s second-most prestigious award after the Order of the Chrysanthemum. Its design, featuring rays of sunshine, symbolizes both the powerful energy of the sun and the concept of Japan as the “Land of the Rising Sun.” The award has multiple classes and has been bestowed over the years to such figures as Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Sen. Daniel Inouye and actor/director Clint Eastwood.

NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman, who attended the award ceremony, said, “I’m told that Dr. Katz’s award was great news among the Japanese dermatology community and was printed in their newsletters. We at the NIH are equally proud to have Dr. Katz in our ranks as an administrator, a remarkable scientist and a mentor to scientists around the world.”

The Order of the Sacred Treasure recognizes Ozato’s contributions to science and scientific interactions between Japan and the U.S., particularly at NIH. She has chaired the fellowship committee of the NIH-Japan Society for the Promotion of Science since the committee’s beginning in 1996. As a mentor, Ozato helped train 27 Japanese researchers, many of whom have become leaders in their fields after returning to Japan. After the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Ozato and several other NIH scientists organized a relief effort for biomedical researchers in the earthquake-stricken area.

Said Gottesman, “Dr. Ozato represents all that we admire about NIH scientists. Aside from her illustrious research career, she is a mentor, role model and true global citizen.” The Order of the Sacred Treasure is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in research, business industries, health care, social work and other fields.

Buckholtz Named Head of NIA Division of Neuroscience
Dr. Neil Buckholtz

Dr. Neil Buckholtz has been appointed director of NIA’s Division of Neuroscience. He comes to this position after 19 years as chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch in the division.

“Dr. Buckholtz’s experience in the development, coordination and implementation of basic and clinical Alzheimer’s research will be a tremendous asset at this critical juncture in research on cognition, Alzheimer’s and aging,” said NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes.

Buckholtz and colleagues led the successful NIH/HHS Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit held in May. At the summit, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius introduced the nation’s first National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which placed NIA at the forefront of that research effort.

Buckholtz holds a doctorate in physiological psychology from the University of Wisconsin. He was a faculty member in the Medical University of South Carolina department of psychiatry from 1970 to 1983, before coming to NIH.

Singh, Sesma Named NIGMS Branch Chiefs
Dr. Shiva P. Singh Dr. Michael Sesma
Dr. Shiva P. Singh (l) and Dr. Michael Sesma are new NIGMS branch chiefs.

NIGMS recently appointed two branch chiefs in the Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity that it created early this year.

Dr. Shiva P. Singh is chief of the Undergraduate and Predoctoral Training Branch, which supports a range of predoctoral research training programs as well as special programs to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups. He also continues to manage a portfolio of grants in the institute’s Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology focused on host-microbe symbiotic relationships and microbial community ecology.

Singh has been at NIGMS since 2001, serving most recently as chief of the Special Initiatives Branch in the former Division of Minority Opportunities in Research. Earlier, he was a scientific review administrator in the institute’s Office of Scientific Review. Singh came to NIGMS from Alabama State University in Montgomery, where he was chair of the department of biological sciences and director of the university’s biomedical research and training programs, including the NIGMS-sponsored Minority Biomedical Research Support and Minority Access to Research Careers programs. He earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in plant sciences from India’s Pant University of Agriculture and Technology and a Ph.D. in microbiology from Auburn University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Auburn and at Argonne National Laboratory.

Dr. Michael Sesma heads the Postdoctoral Training Branch, which administers research training, fellowship and career development programs.

Sesma returns to NIGMS after 10 years at NIMH, where he was chief of the Research Scientist Development Program in the Office for Special Populations. Before joining NIMH, he was a scientific review administrator in the NIGMS Office of Scientific Review and a program director in the institute’s Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology. Sesma came to NIH from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was a visiting assistant professor and research instructor in the department of psychiatry. He also previously held a position as an assistant professor of optometry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Sesma earned a B.A. in biology and psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Riverside. He conducted postdoctoral research at Vanderbilt University.

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