NIH Logo
September 23, 2016
Milestones

Birnbaum Honored by North Carolina

Dr. Linda Birnbaum has received the 2016 North Carolina Award.
Dr. Linda Birnbaum has received the 2016 North Carolina Award.

PHOTO: STEVE MCCAW

NIEHS and National Toxicology Program director Dr. Linda Birnbaum has received the 2016 North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor. The awards are presented each year in the fields of science, literature, fine arts and public service.

“It is an honor to pay tribute to these remarkable individuals who have made North Carolina better by their extraordinary involvement in this state,” said Susan Kluttz, secretary of the North Carolina department of natural and cultural resources. “Each has enriched the lives of our citizens and propelled North Carolina onto the national and world stages.”

The award cites Birnbaum’s international recognition in the fields of environmental health and toxicology and her position as the first woman to lead NIEHS, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Before coming to NIEHS, she directed the experimental toxicology division at the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Her work exploring the effects of dioxins, asbestos, flame retardants and Agent Orange has impacted practices and health outcomes worldwide,” the award read in part. “Birnbaum was a trailblazing woman in the science lab as a student in the 1960s. She was encouraged by her high school cheerleading coach who also taught science, making it cool for girls in science.”

Birnbaum received the award from Gov. Pat McCrory at a Sept. 22 banquet and ceremony. Other honorees in the field of science this year are NIEHS grantee Dr. Aziz Sancar and Dr. Paul Modrich, who shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Dr. Tomas Lindahl, for work on DNA repair.—Kelly Lenox

New NCAB Members, Chair Appointed

Six new members have been named to the National Cancer Advisory Board and Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee has been appointed as NCAB chair.

Jaffee is deputy director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli professor of oncology and co-director of the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer at Johns Hopkins University. She has focused her scientific career on the pre-clinical and clinical development of vaccines for the treatment of cancer.

Acting NCI director Dr. Doug Lowy (l) welcomes new NCAB members (from l) Lawrence Gostin and Drs. Nancy Raab-Traub, Electra Paskett, Margaret Spitz, Francis Ali-Osman, Scott Hiebert and Elizabeth Jaffee.
Acting NCI director Dr. Doug Lowy (l) welcomes new NCAB members (from l) Lawrence Gostin and Drs. Nancy Raab-Traub, Electra Paskett, Margaret Spitz, Francis Ali-Osman, Scott Hiebert and Elizabeth Jaffee.

Dr. Francis Ali-Osman is the Margaret Harris & David Silverman professor of neuro-oncology research and professor of surgery and pathology at Duke University School of Medicine. He is a world leader in experimental oncology, cancer therapeutics and pharmacology and cancer-drug resistance.

Lawrence Gostin is university professor, faculty director and founding Linda D. and Timothy J. O’Neill professor in global health law at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health, Georgetown University. Gostin has extensive expertise in legal issues in health care, including the issues of national and global health, human rights, HIV testing and reporting, privacy, disability and discrimination.

Dr. Scott Hiebert is the Hortense B. Ingram chair in cancer research and professor of biochemistry in the department of biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He has research specialty in the molecular mechanisms of acute leukemia, cell cycle control and the action of tumor suppressors and co-repressors.

Dr. Electra Paskett is the Marion N. Rowley professor of cancer research and director of the division of cancer prevention and control in the department of internal medicine at the School of Medicine, Ohio State University. She is nationally recognized for studying cancer health disparities and work in intervention research directed at cancer prevention, early detection and survivorship issues.

Dr. Nancy Raab-Traub is a professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the School of Medicine, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She specializes in the role of Epstein- Barr virus in the etiology of human disease and has identified the genes that are expressed in nasopharyngeal carcinoma by cloning and sequencing cDNAs directly from tumor tissue.

Dr. Margaret Spitz is professor at the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. She has a longstanding interest in genetic susceptibility to lung cancer and has developed a lung cancer risk prediction model.

Koretsky Joins NIGMS’s Scientific Review Office

Dr. Tracy Koretsky
Dr. Tracy Koretsky

Dr. Tracy Koretsky recently joined NIGMS as a scientific review officer in its Office of Scientific Review. Her responsibilities include managing the review of research, training and capacity-building grant applications. Koretsky initially came to NIGMS as a contractor after having served as a special volunteer at CSR. Prior to that, she was a research specialist at NICHD and an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Koretsky earned a B.S. in cell and molecular biology from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in biology from Carnegie Mellon University. She conducted postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

 

Eight Named to Council of Councils

The Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director, NIH, recently welcomed 8 new advisory members to the Council of Councils who will advise on DPCPSI policy and programs.

The new members are:

Dr. Eric Boerwinkle, professor and director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine Center for Human Genetics, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. His research interests encompass the genetic analysis of common chronic diseases in humans, including coronary artery disease, hypertension and non-insulin dependent (type II) diabetes.

The current Council of Councils members are (back row, from l) John Postlethwait, Terry Magnuson, Norbert Pelc, Marlene Belfort, Philip Alderson, DPCPSI Director James Anderson, David Holtzman (not a member), Jorge L. Contreras, Sharon Anderson, Joseph Buckwalter (not a member); (middle row, from l) Vivian Lee, Kimberly Leslie, Lila Gierasch, Gail Yokote, J. Leslie Winston, King Holmes, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Terry Jernigan; (front row, from l) Jonathon Epstein, Melissa Brown, Ana Cuervo, Mary Carnes, Hakon Heimer. Not shown are Eric Boerwinkle, Judy Garber, Norma Sue Kenyon, Guillermina Lozano and Keith Reimann.
The current Council of Councils members are (back row, from l) John Postlethwait, Terry Magnuson, Norbert Pelc, Marlene Belfort, Philip Alderson, DPCPSI Director James Anderson, David Holtzman (not a member), Jorge L. Contreras, Sharon Anderson, Joseph Buckwalter (not a member); (middle row, from l) Vivian Lee, Kimberly Leslie, Lila Gierasch, Gail Yokote, J. Leslie Winston, King Holmes, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Terry Jernigan; (front row, from l) Jonathon Epstein, Melissa Brown, Ana Cuervo, Mary Carnes, Hakon Heimer. Not shown are Eric Boerwinkle, Judy Garber, Norma Sue Kenyon, Guillermina Lozano and Keith Reimann.

Dr. Melissa Brown, professor of ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University and president and CEO for the Center for Value-Based Medicine in Pennsylvania. She is lead author of Evidence-Based to Value-Based Medicine, an acclaimed text published by the AMA Press (2005) that defines the field of value-based medicine and its application to the clinical setting.

Jorge Contreras, associate professor at the University of Utah and senior policy fellow at American University Washington College of Law, with an adjunct faculty appointment in human genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He has written extensively on the institutional structures of intellectual property, technical standardization and biomedical research, particularly in the areas of genomics and genetics.

Dr. Jonathan Epstein, professor of cell and developmental biology and executive vice dean and chief scientific officer of the Perelman School of Medicine and the William Wikoff Smith professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular development and understanding and treating human disease.

Dr. John Postlethwait, professor of biology at the Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon. He developed mutational models for Fanconi anemia in zebrafish via conducting a small molecule screen for compounds to rescue zebrafish Fanconi anemia mutants as a way to identify potential therapeutics for human Fanconi anemia patients and to understand disease mechanisms.

Dr. J. Leslie Winston, associate director of the Global Oral Care Professional and Scientific Relations Health Care Research Center at Procter & Gamble Co. She is responsible for representing Crest Oral-B science and products to the dental and research communities, dental professional organizations and opinion leaders and has experience in clinical trials research and technology development.

Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, executive director of the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Washington, D.C. As a leader in the field of children’s environmental health, she has conducted nationwide presentations and lectures on children’s vulnerabilities and the need to protect them.

Gail Yokote, librarian emeritus, University of California, Davis. She chaired the National Library of Medicine’s board of regents and has served on several NLM and other NIH study section panels associated with informatics or library special services and operations.

NIAMS Program Trains New Generation of Scientists

This summer, 18 students from all regions of the United States spent 8 weeks in the NIAMS Summer Research Program. They received career mentoring from senior researchers, participated in poster sessions, attended lectures and symposia and engaged in basic and clinical research.

The valuable experience they gained at NIH will help them achieve their career goals in biomedical research and academic medicine. “I feel honored to have had this experience, as it allowed me to learn lab techniques and think like a scientist under the guidance of helpful mentors,” said one intern. “I absolutely recommend this program to all individuals who are looking to do world-renowned biomedical research,” said another student.

The NIAMS Summer Research Program provides outstanding training opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students. Students can apply online at https://www.training.nih. gov/programs/sip. The application for summer 2017 will be available in mid-November.

2016 summer students with Dr. Robert Walker (center, back row), chief of the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch, and Dr. Stephanie Mathews (third from left, back row), scientific program manager
2016 summer students with Dr. Robert Walker (center, back row), chief of the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch, and Dr. Stephanie Mathews (third from left, back row), scientific program manager

back to top of page