NIH Logo
January 1, 2016

Nobel Laureate Kandel Opens ‘Demystifying Medicine’ Series, Jan. 5

Dr. Eric Kandel

The “Demystifying Medicine” course for 2016 begins on Tuesday, Jan. 5 with a lecture by Dr. Eric Kandel, co-recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. The lecture is from 4 to 6 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.

Kandel’s talk is titled “The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain from Vienna 1900 to the Present,” based on his most recent book of the same name. He is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, as well as a senior investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Kandel trained at NIH in neurobiology in the late 1950s.

Lauded for his scientific contributions, Kandel is also a talented science communicator and popularizer. He chronicled his life and research in the book In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, which won the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Science and Technology. His latest book explores how the interaction of artists, writers, physicians and scientists in the salons of turn-of-the-century Vienna gave birth to a new way of thinking about the mind.

Demystifying Medicine, now in its 12th year at NIH, is directed primarily toward Ph.D. students, trainees, clinicians and program managers. Sponsored jointly by the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences and NIH, the course is designed to help bridge the gap between advances in biology and their application to major human diseases. Each session includes clinical and basic science components presented by NIH staff and invitees.

Course materials are posted at Registrants who attend at least 10 sessions and pass a computerized final exam will receive a certificate. All students, fellows and staff are welcome to attend any lecture without participating in the course. For more information, contact course director Dr. Win Arias (

NIDA Discusses ‘Monitoring the Future’ Results

Presenting 2015 MTF results were (from l) NIDA deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton; the University of Michigan’s Dr. Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the survey since its inception in 1975; Dr. Marsha Lopez, NIDA program official for MTF; Michigan’s Dr. Richard Miech; and NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow.
Presenting 2015 MTF results were (from l) NIDA deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton; the University of Michigan’s Dr. Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the survey since its inception in 1975; Dr. Marsha Lopez, NIDA program official for MTF; Michigan’s Dr. Richard Miech; and NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently hosted a press teleconference and Twitter chat to discuss the findings of the 41st annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey. This year’s survey of drug use and attitudes among American 8th, 10th and 12th graders continued to show encouraging news, with decreasing use of a number of substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, prescription opioid pain relievers and synthetic cannabinoids; and stable rates of marijuana use among teens; and a general decline over the last two decades in the use of illicit drugs.

However, the survey suggested a high rate of daily marijuana use reported among 12th graders—with daily marijuana use exceeding daily tobacco use for the first time in the survey’s history. Additionally, while cigarette smoking rates have declined, rates of use of other tobacco products, including hookah, small cigars and e-cigarettes remain high.

The MTF survey, funded by NIDA, is conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. For more on the 2015 MTF survey, go to

Interest Group on Biomarkers in Pediatric Therapeutics Forms

A new biomarkers special interest group in pediatric therapeutics has been established with the primary goal of promoting information exchange and interactions in the application of biomarkers for diagnosis, prognostication, evaluation of disease progression, response to therapy and toxicity in the different pediatric subpopulations. Other goals are to promote initiatives that address knowledge gaps and address issues preventing the implementation of research in this area and to collect and disseminate information related to pediatric biomarkers. In addition, the group will also address pre-clinical biomarkers related to the development of new molecular entities or toxicity evaluation of new drugs tested or developed at NIH.

The first in a series of monthly presentations is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 12 at noon in Rockledge II, Rms. 9100/9104. The lecture is titled “Application of Metabolomics To Provide Pediatric Biomarkers,” given by Dr. Susan Sumner, director, NIH Eastern Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core, RTI International.

For registration, contact George Giacoia at

NLM Tours by Appointment Only This Month

The National Library of Medicine will offer tours of the library by appointment only during January. The decision to temporarily suspend the daily 1:30 tour resulted from an analysis of visitor statistics from the last 5 years. Those interested can book a tour by completing the form at Groups of five or larger can use this form to arrange a tour for any point during the coming year. The 1-hour tour originates in the NLM Visitor Center, located in the lobby of the Lister Hill Center. Walk-in visitors are welcome to browse the offerings at the NLM Visitor Center weekdays (except federal holidays) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Visitor Center offers an orientation to NLM through interactive computer displays and print materials.

UMD Jazz Quintet Entertains

Dr. Eric Kandel

The University of Maryland School of Music Jazz Quintet gave two performances at the Clinical Research Center over the holidays. The group played holiday tunes and jazz standards.

‘Little Stars’ Give CRC Holiday Show

Dr. Eric Kandel

The Zvjezdice Girls Choir, from Zagreb, Republic of Croatia, gave a holiday concert on Dec. 10 in the atrium of the Clinical Research Center. In town for a performance at the Kennedy Center, the choir performed works by Strauss, Britten, Offenbach and Gruber among others. Zvjezdice, or “Little Stars,” Girls Choir is one of the most representative music ensembles in Zagreb. Founded in 1985, the choir consists of outstanding middle and high school students from across the nation’s capital. In three decades of its existence, the choir has worked closely with the most prominent Croatian ensembles and performers, as well as with many conductors from both Croatia and abroad.

back to top of page