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Vol. LXV, No. 15
July 19, 2013

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Three New Chiefs at CSR

Dr. Weijia Ni
Dr. Weijia Ni
Dr. Gabriel B. Fosu
Dr. Gabriel B. Fosu
Dr. Arnold Revzin
Dr. Arnold Revzin

The Center for Scientific Review recently named three new chiefs to its scientific staff.

Dr. Weijia Ni is chief of the risk, prevention and health behavior integrated review group (IRG). He had been scientific review officer of the language and communication study section in the biobehavioral and behavioral processes IRG.

“Weijia has distinguished himself as a leader with a deep grasp of the principles of peer review and knowledge of many scientific fields,” said CSR director Dr. Richard Nakamura. “He has done a masterful job leading the scientific review officers at CSR to manage the reviews of applications for the NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards.”

Dr. Gabriel B. Fosu is new chief of the health care delivery and methodology IRG. He had been managing the risk, prevention and intervention for addictions study section previously.

“Gabriel brings impressive team-building and leadership skills to this important position,” said Nakamura. “He played a key role in leading the development of HDM’s health disparities and equity promotion study section. Before he came to CSR, he also excelled in leading teams of officials from the UN, USAID and foreign governments.”

Dr. Arnold Revzin is chief of the oncology 1-basic translational IRG. He had been scientific review officer for the macromolecular structure and function B study section as well as a CSR referral officer.

“Arnold stood out in a field of impressive candidates for his depth of experience and unflagging commitment to peer review and the scientific community,” said Nakamura. “In addition to having great insights into CSR’s practices and policies from 15 years at CSR, Arnold benefits from having had a remarkable career in academia.”

NLM’s Lipman Named ‘Champion of Change’ by White House

Dr. David J. Lipman, director of NLM’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), was honored at a June 20 White House ceremony for recipients of the Champions of Change awards in the “open science” category. All were recognized for their outstanding work in “promoting and using open scientific data and publications to accelerate progress and improve our world.”

Dr. David J. Lipman

In his 24 years as founding director of NCBI, Lipman has played a major role in expanding public access to scientific data and biomedical literature. An advocate of open exchange of genomic data, he led efforts to streamline submission, curation and international exchange of genetic sequence data with Europe and Japan, expanding GenBank to become the world’s largest public database of DNA data.

Under Lipman’s leadership, NCBI added more than 40 interlinked genomic and bibliographic databases freely available on the web, making many innovations in data standards, data submission and curation along the way.

Lipman received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his M.D. from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards including election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005.

NEI Welcomes New Council Members

The National Eye Institute recently appointed three new members to its National Advisory Eye Council.

NEI’s Dr. Loré Anne McNicol (l) and NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving (r) welcome new council members (from l) Dr. Laura Frishman, Dr. Rafael Yuste and Dr. Jayne Weiss.
NEI’s Dr. Loré Anne McNicol (l) and NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving (r) welcome new council members (from l) Dr. Laura Frishman, Dr. Rafael Yuste and Dr. Jayne Weiss.

Dr. Laura J. Frishman is the John and Rebecca Moores professor of optometry, vision science and biology and associate dean for research and graduate studies for the College of Optometry at the University of Houston. She is a retinal physiologist whose research has focused on refining noninvasive electrophysiological approaches for evaluating the function of the retina in vivo and, more recently, the central visual pathways.

Dr. Jayne S. Weiss is chair of the department of ophthalmology, professor of ophthalmology, pathology and pharmacology and the Herbert E. Kaufman, M.D., endowed chair in ophthalmology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Her expertise is in Schnyder corneal dystrophy, an eye disorder in which the cornea, the normally clear dome-shaped surface at the front of the eye, becomes opaque due to a build-up of materials.

Dr. Rafael Yuste is a professor of biological sciences and neuroscience at Columbia University, where he is also co-director of the Kavli Foundation’s Institute for Brain Science. He has a longstanding interest in understanding the function of the visual cortex and is pursuing a reverse engineering strategy to decipher the structure and function of its microcircuits.

NIGMS Adds New Program Directors

Dr. Zhongzhen Nie

NIGMS recently added two members to its scientific program staff.

Dr. Zhongzhen Nie joined the Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics to administer research grants in membrane and cytoskeletal dynamics. He came to NIGMS from the University of Florida College of Medicine, where he was an assistant professor in the department of urology. Nie earned a bachelor of medicine degree from Wannan Medical College in China and a Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where he also conducted postdoctoral research prior to a research fellowship in the NCI Laboratory of Cellular Oncology.

Dr. Oleg Barski

Dr. Oleg Barski joined the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology and Biological Chemistry, where he handles research grants in enzyme catalysis and regulation. Before coming to NIGMS, he was an assistant professor in the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He earned an M.Sc. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in chemical kinetics and catalysis from Moscow State University in Russia. Barski conducted postdoctoral research at Osaka Bioscience Institute in Japan and Baylor College of Medicine.


Gregurick Is New NIGMS Division Director

Dr. Susan K. Gregurick, a leader in computational biology who has worked in government and academia, is the new director of the NIGMS Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

Dr. Susan K. Gregurick

“The division’s activities are critical to many areas of science, especially now that we are on the verge of extracting new knowledge from massive biological data sets,” said NIGMS acting director Dr. Judith Greenberg. “Dr. Gregurick’s vision and willingness to take on challenges, her expertise in computational biology and biotechnology and her success in developing effective programs and policies to support these fields make her an ideal choice.”

From 2011-2012, Gregurick was acting director of the biological systems science division at the Department of Energy. She developed and managed DOE’s systems biology knowledgebase, which enables the integration of diverse data sets for modeling, simulation and experimental studies. Starting in 2007, Gregurick’s other DOE activities included developing programs in modeling microbial function, metagenomic analysis from high-throughput sequencing and plant bioinformatics methods. She also oversaw bioinformatics and high-performance computing efforts at DOE’s Joint Genome Institute and Bioenergy Research Centers.

Earlier in her career, Gregurick was a professor of computational biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

She earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Maryland. She has 41 peer-reviewed publications and has given more than 55 invited lectures on her research and programmatic activities.

Aguila Named Deputy Director of CRCHD

Dr. Nelson Aguila

Dr. Nelson Aguila has been named deputy director of the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD).

“Nelson is passionate about scientific research, and he has been an extremely compassionate and a fervent supporter of the training and educational needs of students and faculty from diverse populations,” said Dr. Sanya Springfield, director of CRCHD. “His ability to inspire young investigators and gain respect with his colleagues within the NCI and NIH community, coupled with his broad scientific and research knowledge of cancer, made him the top candidate for this position.”

Previously, Aguila served as chief of CRCHD’s Diversity Training Branch (DTB), a position he has held since 2011. DTB leads NCI’s efforts in the training of students and investigators from diverse populations so that they can become the next generation of competitive researchers in cancer health disparities research.

Aguila has been a health scientist administrator at NIH since 2001, when he joined NCI’s Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch. In 2007, the branch became part of CRCHD. During his tenure, Aguila has been instrumental in implementing and expanding several NCI training initiatives designed to increase workforce diversity, particularly at the graduate level. In 2011, he received the NIH Award of Merit.

Aguila earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree at Austral University in Chile and trained as a neurobiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. He is the author of more than 40 scientific publications.

Shurtleff Appointed NCCAM Deputy Director

Dr. David Shurtleff

Dr. David Shurtleff has been named deputy director of NCCAM, where he will collaborate with director Dr. Josephine P. Briggs in leading the center’s scientific, programmatic and administrative endeavors. He comes to NCCAM from NIDA, where he served as deputy director of the institute and its Special Populations Office. He had previously served as director and deputy director of the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research and as a health scientist administrator over his 18-year career at NIDA. Before coming to NIH, Shurtleff was a research psychologist at the Naval Medical Research Institute, where he conducted behavioral, physiological and neuroscience research related to understanding the effects of environmental stress (such as cold-induced stress) on behavioral and cognitive performance. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in experimental psychology from American University.

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