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October 23, 2015

Denny To Speak in NLM Series

On Aug. 27, the NIH Division of International Services (DIS) played cornhole (above) on the lawn near the Bldg. 31B entrance during their lunch break. Immigration specialist Katie McLaughlin, one of the organizers, said the game was part of a bi-weekly effort called the “DIS Olympics” to encourage teamwork and physical activity. Another organizer, operations coordinator Valerie Martini, said past “Olympic” events have included a basketball free-throw shooting contest and a bocce ball game.

The National Library of Medicine Informatics Lecture Series will feature Dr. Joshua Denny on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. in Lister Hill Center Auditorium, Bldg. 38A. He will discuss “Use of Clinical Big Data to Inform Precision Medicine.”

Denny is an associate professor in the departments of biomedical informatics and medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His team has linked phenotypic information from de-identified electronic health records to a DNA repository of nearly 200,000 samples, creating a “virtual” cohort. This approach allows study of genomic basis of disease and drug response using real-world clinical data. Denny is an advisor to the Precision Medicine Initiative at NIH.

Sign language interpreters will be provided. Individuals who need reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Ebony Hughes, (301) 451-8038, or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

NIH SGM Strategic Plan Open for Comment Until Nov. 2

The NIH 2016-2020 Strategic Plan to Advance Research on the Health and Well-Being of Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) has been finalized. The plan is currently posted for public comment in the Federal Register (see

Planners are eager to hear from the community about the proposed goals and objectives outlined in the NIH SGM Strategic Plan.

Those interested may review the plan and submit comments to by Nov. 2. For more information on SGM-related activities at NIH, contact Karen Parker at or (301) 451-2055.

NIDA’s Compton Rappels 12 Stories to Raise Awareness

NIDA deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton makes a dramatic point about drug and alcohol addiction. NIDA deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton makes a dramatic point about drug and alcohol addiction.
NIDA deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton makes a dramatic point about drug and alcohol addiction.

On Sept. 25, NIDA deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton (above, l) rappelled down 12 stories on Lafayette Tower in Washington D.C., as part of a national movement to raise awareness about drug and alcohol addiction. Shatterproof, a national organization committed to protecting children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by this disease, is hosting more than 20 events in 2015 in cities across the United States. Before the rappelling, Compton participated in a press conference along with Shatterproof founder and CEO Gary Mendell and several congressmen. In the rooftop photo at right, Compton (l) prepares for his descent.

Alter Awarded Fries Prize for Improving Health

Dr. Harvey Alter and Dr. James F. Fries

On Oct. 6, Dr. Harvey Alter (l, in photo), chief of the infectious diseases section and associate director of research for the Clinical Center’s department of transfusion medicine, received the 2015 Fries Prize for Improving Health. He was honored for scientific research and leadership in translating science into practice that has prevented millions of new infections and cases of severe disease and death from hepatitis C and B virus and HIV. Alter received the award at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta and presented information about his research to a crowd of nearly 500 people.

Alter is the 24th honoree to have received the Fries award. The prize amount is $60,000 and the award itself is a bronze statuette titled “Celebration of Life.”

Dr. James F. Fries (r), professor of medicine emeritus at Stanford University School of Medicine and namesake of the prize, told Alter in an email, “The Fries Prize is independent of field of endeavor and represents improvement of health outcomes. Informally, we refer to it as ‘the Noblest Prize of all.’ The jury recognized and discussed [many] elements in your own quest toward the eradication of three of the most important viral diseases of our time and of mankind. Our congratulations again and our thanks.”

Annual Leave: Use or Donate It

Annual leave in excess of the maximum carryover limitation (in most cases 240 hours) is normally forfeited if not used or donated by the end of the current leave year. If you have not already planned to use those excess hours of annual leave, then discuss your leave with your supervisor now while there is still time to schedule it. Your bi-weekly Leave and Earnings Statement tells you how much annual leave you must use or donate so that you will not lose it when the leave year ends on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016.

In spite of planning, circumstances sometimes arise that prevent you from taking leave that has been scheduled and approved earlier during the leave year. In such cases, you and your supervisor are jointly responsible for ensuring that any use or donate leave is officially rescheduled in ITAS. This year, your use or donate leave must be scheduled in ITAS no later than Saturday, Nov. 28.

Excess leave can also be donated to a colleague in need due to a medical emergency through the NIH Leave Bank ( or to a participant of the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. Both of these donations can be made in the Integrated Time and Attendance System.
If you or your supervisor have questions about use or donate leave, contact your administrative officer.

NOV. 6
Symposium Marks PRAT’s 50th Anniversary

The NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) program is marking its 50th anniversary with a day-long scientific symposium on Friday, Nov. 6 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Kirschstein Auditorium, Bldg. 45.

PRAT is a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship program that provides laboratory experience in the NIH intramural program along with career development and networking opportunities. Created in 1965 to address a national need for well-trained pharmacologists, the program expanded over the years to include all research areas within the NIGMS mission. To date, PRAT has supported more than 400 fellows who have become leaders in academia, industry and government.

The symposium will feature presentations by 10 PRAT alumni on topics ranging from the cellular response to starvation to harnessing the prognostic and diagnostic potential of the microbiome, as well as remarks by NIGMS director Dr. Jon Lorsch and NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman. The event will also include a mid-day poster session where current PRAT fellows will present their research.

For details, visit You can also watch the event live or later at

Next Protocol Navigation Lecture Set

The IRP Protocol Navigation Training Program Seminar Series continues with a lecture on Monday, Nov. 2 from 2 to 3 p.m. in Bldg. 50, Conf. Rm. 1227/1328. The program is a trans-NIH effort to develop resources and tools and to provide training for intramural staff and contractors involved in protocol development, writing, coordination and management. Dr. Carrie Wolinetz, NIH associate director for science policy, will present “The Common Rule NPRM: What You Need to Know.” For more information, contact Marcia Vital, (301) 451-9437,

NCI Postdocs Complete SRK Program

The graduates are (from l) Liz Yanik, Khadijah Mitchell, Leah Randles, Maria Novikova, Rachel Van Duyne, Pam Gallagher, Clara Bodelon, Tiffany Lyle and Maeve Mullooly. Not shown is Liz Spehalski.

A cohort, competitively elected from the current female NCI postdoctoral trainee pool, recently completed the Sallie Rosen Kaplan Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women Scientists in Cancer Research (SRK) Program. The goal of the 1-year program is to strengthen leadership skills through workshops and seminars, mentoring and coaching, and providing a community of peers to retain and to help transition them to independent research careers. The fellows, research and second mentors and division directors attended a celebration that was followed by a potluck reception. The graduates are (from l) Liz Yanik, Khadijah Mitchell, Leah Randles, Maria Novikova, Rachel Van Duyne, Pam Gallagher, Clara Bodelon, Tiffany Lyle and Maeve Mullooly. Not shown is Liz Spehalski.

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