NEIís Ferris, Chew Receive Keller Prize for Vision Research
|At the Keller prize ceremony are (from l) Drs. Miriam and Frederick Ferris, Dr. Emily Chew, Keller Johnson-Thompson, who is the great-grandniece of Helen Keller, and Dr. Robert Murphy, who is Chew’s husband.
Dr. Frederick L. Ferris III and Dr. Emily Y. Chew, who are director and deputy director of the NEI Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, have received the Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research.
“It is a real honor to be chosen for the Helen Keller prize and it has been a tremendous privilege to work at the National Eye Institute with such a large group of brilliant collaborators on projects with major public health significance,” said Ferris.
The award recognizes significant contributions to vision science; the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education has bestowed it to one or two researchers each year since 1994.
Ferris and Chew received the award for their efforts to investigate new treatments for cataract, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disease through large, multi-center clinical trials.
For example, in a landmark trial, they helped establish that laser treatment can reduce the risk of severe vision loss by up to 95 percent in people with diabetic retinopathy, a common type of diabetic eye disease. They are also founding members of the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network, which has enabled other large clinical trials on the condition by joining together nearly 1,000 investigators in 48 states. Ferris and Chew also launched—and continue to lead—the NEI Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2). These studies have found that certain high-dose antioxidants and minerals can reduce the risk of vision loss for people with AMD.
“I am extremely honored to receive this recognition. We are grateful to have had tremendous mentors. The Helen Keller prize is shared by our entire NEI team and collaborators involved in clinical epidemiologic research,” Chew said.
Helen Keller laureates are selected by an international panel of experts. The prize ceremony took place in Orlando at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, which attracted more than 13,000 scientists and physicians this year.
NIBIB Mourns Lopez’s Passing
Dr. Hector Lopez of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering died June 21. He had a distinguished career in government that lasted more than 40 years. He joined NIBIB early in its history—almost a decade ago—bringing his expertise in medical ultrasound imaging.
Prior to joining NIBIB, he worked for the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, where he conducted research in the development of methods and tools for the objective measurement of imaging system performance. His research also included development of innovative ultrasound imaging techniques and measurement methods in the body.
While diagnostic and interventional ultrasound, as well as x-ray, electron and ion beam were his areas of expertise, Lopez was well known for his extensive knowledge in many areas of imaging. Many at NIBIB relied on his sound analysis of a variety of scientific issues. A true physicist at heart, he was as likely to be found discussing the fundamentals of special relativity as the minutia of ultrasound technology. His unique intelligence and attention to detail will be greatly missed by his colleagues at NIBIB.
Lopez served in the Air Force and received the Air Force Commendation Medal for discovering a leaking radioactive source and his prompt, decisive action in initiating decontamination procedures. He received numerous awards during his time at FDA and participated in professional societies.
In 1995, he was elected fellow of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and served as chair of the AIUM technical standards committee from 1999 to 2001, as well as chair of working group 9 of the International Electrotechnical Commission from 1999 to 2004. He was also a member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
Lopez is survived by his sister Gloria and brother Antonio.
Bare Named CSR Executive Officer
Joanna Derksen Bare has been named executive officer at the Center for Scientific Review.
She will lead the efforts of staff and contractors who provide administrative, financial management, committee management, procurement and management analysis services that enable CSR to fulfill its mission.
Each year, the center receives over 80,000 grant applications, engages more than 17,000 reviewers from the scientific community and hosts about 1,500 electronic and face-to-face review meetings.
“Joanna brings to CSR an incredible set of people and management skills,” said CSR director Dr. Richard Nakamura. “She is known for building and leading successful teams at NIH that excel in challenging times. She also has a unique scientific and engineering background, which will help her better understand and work in a scientific organization.”
Bare holds master’s degrees in industrial engineering and physics from the University of Washington and a B.A. degree in physics from Carleton College.
She comes to CSR from the NIH Office of Research Facilities, Division of Facilities, Operations and Maintenance, where she was deputy director and, earlier, chief of its Project Control Office. Prior to this, Bare worked at Management Analysis, Inc., in Vienna, Va., where over the course of 12 years, she rose from being an industrial engineer to being a project manager and corporate secretary.
Boyle Heads NIDA Science Policy Branch
Dr. Maureen Boyle has been named chief of the Science Policy Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications, NIDA. She comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, where she coordinated efforts to develop solutions for health IT challenges facing the behavioral health community in this era of health care reform.
Prior to joining SAMHSA, Boyle was a science and technology policy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science serving at NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. She received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied the genetic and molecular basis of depression and anxiety-related behaviors. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, where she investigated neuropathological, molecular and genetic abnormalities in autistic children and animal models of autism.