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Vol. LXVII, No. 21
October 9, 2015

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Dr. Pauline Kay Lund

Dr. Seymour Garte,

Dr. Anne Clark

NIAMS Summer Program Trains Young Scientists


Milestones

It’s  Academic
Lund Heads New Biomedical Research Workforce Division
By Manju Subramanya

Dr. Pauline Kay Lund
Dr. Pauline Kay Lund

Coming from a hardscrabble background has made Dr. Pauline Kay Lund appreciative of those who mentored her along the way. Her rich career in academia, mentoring young scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and beyond for 33 years, has provided a unique perspective.

Her experience will stand her in good stead as director of NIH’s newly created Division of Biomedical Research Workforce in the Office of Extramural Research (OER), with responsibilities for shaping the future direction of research training for the biomedical workforce.

The division is part of a slew of solutions emerging from NIH’s high-profile biomedical workforce initiative to address a growing challenge—more Ph.D.s than tenure-track jobs—that has sparked a national conversation.

“Dr. Lund has been intimately involved with these issues and made it her mission to mentor trainees at UNC,” said Dr. Sally Rockey, former NIH deputy director for extramural research and OER director. “She brings a lot of passion to training and workforce issues. We are excited to have her on board.”

Growing up in the tiny town of Golborne, England, Lund was in the first generation of her family to attend college. Her grandfather was a coal miner; her mother a textile worker. She is thankful for British university funding and the mentors who guided her U.S. career since she landed in Boston as a fellow in 1979.

Lund has spent a lifetime mentoring trainees—from students to senior faculty—at UNC, where she served as Sarah Graham Kenan professor of cell and molecular physiology, winning mentoring awards. Lund was the first to clone the proglucagon gene that led to the discovery of two new hormones now used in clinical trials and holds two patents.

“Whenever I met with trainees,” she said, “I increasingly heard concerns of whether they will make it in research with the current level of research and funding.”

Lund applauds the solutions under way before her arrival at OER, crediting a great team: higher stipends for postdoctoral researchers; a new, user-friendly Research Training & Career Development web site; a new eRA system, xTRACT, “an incredibly useful tool” to gather data on NIH-funded trainees; and a new program, BEST, which exposes Ph.D.s to research careers outside of conventional academia.

Lund, mentored by the late Dr. Jud Van Wyk, considered a father of pediatric endocrinology, is also contemplating programs that encourage scientists to learn through pairing—say, a physiologist with a biomedical engineer. A 2016 workshop on encouraging physician scientists to enter research earlier is also planned.

Outside work, Lund enjoys walking with her husband, artist Mark Smith; reading, especially science fiction; eschewing TV and listening to NPR; and cooking traditional English and Indian dishes. “There is something about molecular biology and cooking that go hand in hand,” she chuckled.

The couple has two daughters—Emma, a medical resident in Philadelphia and Alice, a high school science teacher in Winston-Salem, N.C.

So does she look to mentor Emma and Alice? “We turn to each other for advice, as all are in new jobs,” she said with a smile.

CSR Division Director Garte Retires
By Paula Whitacre

Dr. Seymour Garte
Dr. Seymour Garte

Dr. Seymour Garte, who retired as director of the Division of Physiological and Pathological Sciences in the Center for Scientific Review recently, is looking forward to thinking about new evolutionary theory and the relationship between science and faith.

“I see no boredom in sight,” he quipped. Through a nonprofit he created called the Natural Philosophy Institute, Garte will study and write about the theoretical aspects of science in which he has long been interested, but never had time to pursue fully. The John Templeton Foundation awarded the institute a grant for the project.

Garte came to NIH in 2009 after a career in academia. “I was at the University of Pittsburgh but wanted to look at different opportunities in science administration or writing,” he said. As a CSR division director, he helped coordinate and strengthen the peer review process. In addition to overseeing the work of about 40 scientific review officers, he worked with other CSR senior staff to ensure peer review policies and practices remained consistent and of high quality across CSR’s many study sections and special emphasis panels.

“The place is terrific,” he said of his 6 years at NIH. “The people are wonderful. I really enjoyed it.”

CSR deputy director Dr. Rene Etcheberrigaray said Garte’s background resulted in a unique perspective. “As a long-term academician, he was one of the first CSR division directors who came from the ‘outside,’” Etcheberrigaray said. “He brought a different way of viewing things and how to accomplish our mission.”

Etcheberrigaray also praised Garte’s analytic strengths, which he used to help CSR pioneer several projects, including a method of bibliometric analysis to determine how peer review outcomes could predict the impact of NIH-funded research.

“Sy has a great sense of humor and would bring up a comment in many discussions that made us laugh but also moved the conversation along,” said Dr. Karyl Swartz, director of the Division of AIDS, Behavioral and Population Sciences. She also praised his passion for the quality and fairness of peer review, which, she said “permeated all that he did while at CSR.”

Garte spent the first part of his life in New York. He majored in chemistry, followed by a Ph.D. in biochemistry at City University of New York. Garte went on to the Institute of Environmental Medicine at New York University, rising to full professor in 1992. Supported by NIH and other institutions, his research focused on environmental toxicology and molecular oncology.

For about a decade, he had one of the more unusual academic commutes, serving as professor of public health at Rutgers in New Jersey and scientific director of the Genetics Research Institute in Milan, Italy. In 2005, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 3 academic books, Garte wrote Where We Stand. The 2007 mass-market book focuses on improvements in the environment since the 1970s. Explaining the book’s genesis, he said, “Neither I nor anyone I spoke to knew the extent of the positive effects of environmental laws and regulations.” Considering a sequel, he is writing another book on science and faith.

With his work through the Natural Philosophy Institute, along with learning the saxophone (he already plays guitar and flute), Garte won’t have to worry about a boring retirement.

Clark Retires from CSR
By Paula Whitacre

Dr. Anne Clark
Dr. Anne Clark

Science and art both require creativity and discipline. Fortunately, Dr. Anne Clark has both in good measure.

Clark retired recently as associate director in the Division of Receipt and Referral (DRR) at the Center for Scientific Review. In addition to her scientific contributions as a researcher and administrator, she is an accomplished artist, using glass as her medium.

She spent most of her 25-year career at NIH in CSR. “I have a soft spot for CSR,” Clark said. “It provides a service to the rest of NIH rather than any particular area of science. Its mission has spoken to me for a long time.”

Except for a postdoc at Oklahoma State University with Dr. Kermit Carraway, Clark spent her early life in New England. Supportive teachers encouraged her to pursue a career in science. She grew up in Connecticut, majoring in chemistry at Bates College and earning her doctorate at Dartmouth. On the faculty of the University of Maine for 10 years, she was principal investigator on a National Cancer Institute grant to study sialylation of a tumor cell glycoprotein.

“I was trying to understand if the structure of a glycoprotein was related to the ability of tumor cells to evade the immune system,” she explained about one of her studies.

A sabbatical at NIH in 1986 changed her life. She realized she enjoyed the Washington area, with its milder climate and active cultural life. She became exposed to science administration as a career path. And, she took a class in stained glass-making, which she said has led to a fulfilling “second life” as an artist.

Clark returned to NIH in 1990 through the year-long Grants Associates Program, rotating through review, programs and policy details. She became a scientific review officer at CSR (then the Division of Research Grants), then spent 7 years in review positions in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, before returning to CSR in 2004.

In addition to her work in DRR helping to direct grant applications to the appropriate institute or center and committee for peer review, she was the CSR research integrity officer.

“Anne is dedicated to the extramural process,” said Dr. Suzanne Fisher, former DRR director. Fisher singled out Clark’s role in handling early-stage investigator applications, the transition to electronic submission from paper applications and her care and discretion as research integrity officer. Clark, Fisher added, also played in a lunchtime bridge game for years.

As for her art, “the first sun-catcher I made, I was gone,” Clark said. “It provides a creative outlet where I can design my own pieces and have artistic control.”

In her CSR office, her evocative creations of the natural world hung to catch the light through the windowpanes. In addition to stained glass, Clark creates fused-glass pieces and paints directly on glass. She displays at a gallery and at craft shows, where she often shares a booth with her husband, an accomplished woodworker.

Though Clark has left her “9-to-5” scientific life behind, she continues to balance science and art as she works with the intricate chemical compositions that make up each piece of glass.

NIAMS Summer Program Trains Young Scientists

This past summer, 18 interns with diverse backgrounds

This past summer, 18 interns with diverse backgrounds and scientific interests spent 8 weeks in the NIAMS Summer Research Program. Flanking this summer’s cadre are Dr. Robert Walker (r) chief, NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch, and scientific program manager Dr. Stephanie Mathews (l). The youngsters received career mentoring from senior researchers, attended lectures and symposia, engaged in basic and clinical research and gained experience that will help them pursue their career goals. Many had participated in the program before and returned to expand their skills. “I truly felt like I was part of the research team and knew that I was actively contributing to the project at hand,” said one intern. “I am very grateful for being able to participate in this program, and thankful for the mentorship and guidance I have received.” The program provides opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students. Students can apply online at www.training.nih.gov/programs/sip.

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