|Vol. LXIX, No. 1|
Four scientific staff members recently joined NIGMS in several program areas.
Dr. Anissa Brown is a program director in the Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity (TWD), where she oversees the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative. Formerly, she was an acting health science administrator and program analyst in the Office of AIDS Research of the NIH Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives. Brown earned a B.A. in biological sciences and psychology and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Delaware, where she was also a graduate fellow.
Dr. Manas Chattopadhyay is a scientific review officer in the Office of Scientific Review. He coordinates the review for the Support of Competitive Research program as well as for applications in the areas of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology. Before joining NIGMS, Chattopadhyay was a staff scientist in the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics at NIDDK, where he was also a research fellow. He earned a B.Sc. in zoology, botany and chemistry from the University of Calcutta and a Ph.D. in biological science from the Bose Institute and Jadavpur University, both in India. Chattopadhyay conducted postdoctoral research at Jikei University School of Medicine in Japan and at NIDDK.
Dr. Haluk Resat is a program director in the Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. He oversees grants in bioinformatics, computational biology, systems biology and biological networks modeling. Resat comes to NIGMS from Washington State University, where he was an associate professor in the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. He has also worked as a senior research scientist at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Resat formerly was an associate professor on the faculty of science at Koc University in Turkey. He earned a B.S. in physics and electrical engineering from Bogazici University in Turkey and a Ph.D. in physics from Stony Brook University. Resat was a postdoctoral fellow at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Desiree Salazar is a program director in TWD. She administers Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training and BUILD grants. Salazar also manages the Research Supplements to Promote Re-entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers program. She was most recently a scientific program manager at the American Society for Cell Biology. Formerly, Salazar was a program education coordinator for the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) program at the University of California, San Diego. She earned a B.S. in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Salazar conducted postdoctoral research and was an IRACDA fellow at the University of California, San Diego.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse honored its grantee Dr. Lloyd Johnston, who 42 years ago designed and began the nation’s annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey. NIDA recognized him for his many years of contributions to public health on the eve of his departure as the survey’s principal investigator.
Johnston is an Angus Campbell collegiate research professor and university distinguished research scientist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. He has been the lead investigator for MTF since its inception in 1975, and will continue to advise the new survey leadership.
The MTF survey, which is released each December, tracks annual drug use trends in 8th, 10th and 12th grade students, including attitudes and perceived risks of specific drugs. In 1975, Johnston oversaw the first nationwide survey of about 16,000 seniors in more than 130 public and private high schools nationwide, recruiting all of the high school principals himself. The survey has now grown to more than 45,000 participants from close to 400 schools around the country.
Johnston believes that rapidly identifying upswings in substance use, including new substances arriving on the scene, and documenting the benefits of intervention, are among MTF’s major achievements during his tenure.
On Dec. 13, just after the 42nd news conference outlining survey findings, NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow surprised Johnston with a certificate of appreciation from NIDA as well as letters from NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and congressional representatives from Michigan. For Johnston’s full bio, visit http://monitoringthefuture.org/invest.html. For a more in-depth article spanning his career, see http://home.isr.umich.edu/research/researcher-profiles/lloyd-johnston/. For videos, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/monitoring-future.
Dr. Joy Ann Williams of Bethesda passed away at the age of 55 on Nov. 18, 2016, after a 4-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was born in Arlington, Va., and obtained bachelor’s degrees in biology and piano performance from Oberlin College and Conservatory. She earned a master’s degree in molecular biology and a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Maryland.
As a graduate student, she worked at the National Cancer Institute as a pre-doctoral Intramural Research Training Award fellow in the Laboratory of Genetics under Dr. Michael Potter. She then worked as a biologist under her graduate mentor, Dr. Emily Shacter, first in the Laboratory of Genetics, and later in the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. The year after earning her Ph.D., Williams joined the laboratory of Dr. Richard Hodes in NCI’s Experimental Immunology Branch as a postdoctoral fellow. She then worked as a regulatory/research scientist at the FDA. In 2006, Williams’ love of basic research brought her back to Hodes’ lab at NIH as a staff scientist.
Williams had an intense and infectious love of science, said coworkers. She brought intellect and commitment to her work and was a successful and productive scientist, they recall. In her most recent work, she advanced the understanding of the biology of thymic development and the cross-talk between thymic epithelium and the developing T-cell repertoire. Her acknowledged expertise in this area, both intellectual and technical, made her a resource at NIH as well as to the international immunology community; she generously helped those who approached her.
This generosity and sincere interest in helping others were constants in Williams’ life, colleagues said, adding, “Joy was a consummate teacher and mentor.” In her years at NIH, she taught courses through the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and at the University of Maryland’s University College. Over her years in the lab, post-bacs, post-docs and colleagues had the good fortune of knowing Williams’ extraordinary ability to teach and inspire via her unique perspectives and sense of humor.
Williams’ love of music continued throughout her life, with performances on piano, flute and accordion. After a 2010 piano concert at the Clinical Research Center, she was quoted in The Scientist: “Playing the piano focuses me” and “absorbs my mind in different ways than science.” Williams remained active in a variety of music activities, including teaching, accompanying other musicians and performing.
Williams was known for her brilliant smile. She loved to ride her bicycle to work on the Capital Crescent Trail and took delight in her trio of dogs. She was reliably cheerful, optimistic and hardworking. Williams is survived by her husband, Todd R. Smyth, her parents Harrison Brownell Williams and Ann Peterson Williams, her sister Julie Arrighetti, her brother-in-law Craig Arrighetti and her nephew Nicholas Arrighetti.
Gifts in Williams’ memory may be directed to support ovarian cancer research at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Checks should be made payable to Johns Hopkins University. Gifts may be mailed with a memo indicating that the gift is in memory of Joy Ann Williams to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, P.O. Box 17029 Baltimore, MD 21297-1029 or make a gift online (https://secure.jhu.edu/form/kimmel).
Dr. Thressa “Terry” Stadtman, 96, died Dec. 11 at her home. She was a retired senior investigator and former chief of the section on intermediary metabolism and bioenergetics in NHLBI’s Laboratory of Biochemistry. She made seminal discoveries on the role of vitamin B12 and the physiological functions of selenium and selenocysteine, the latter an amino acid she discovered.
Stadtman was born in Sterling, N.Y., and studied bacteriology at Cornell University, where she received her B.S. in 1940 and her M.S. in 1942. She and her husband Earl Stadtman were one of the first husband-and-wife scientists at NIH, arriving in 1950. She had received her Ph.D. in 1949 at the University of California, Berkeley.
In a career spanning nearly 60 years, Stadtman became known as the “mother of selenium biochemistry.” She retired from NIH in 2009. She was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982. Among her many awards were the William C. Rose Award of the American Society of Biological Chemists in 1986; the Klaus Schwarz Medal from the International Association of Bioinorganic Scientists in 1988; and the inaugural L’Oreal Lifetime Achievement Award for Women in Science from L’Oreal-UNESCO in 2000. The organism Methanospaera stadtmaniae is named in her honor.
“Terry is perhaps best known as a superb mentor,” said Dr. Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research. “She and her husband Earl developed a unique way of conducting research and training scientists, which colleagues called ‘the Stadtman way,’ referring not only to the extraordinarily high standard of rigor they set in biochemical research, but also to their generous sharing of credit in publications with more junior scientists.”
After Earl’s death in 2008, Terry deeded 5.8 acres of her property to form an expansion of Rock Creek Regional Park, now known as the Stadtman Preserve.
Stadtman is survived by hundreds of close friends. She did not wish to have a funeral service. A scientific symposium at NIH will be planned for the spring in her honor.
Gerald “Jerry” Victor Hecht, a public affairs specialist for the former Audiovisual Branch in the NIH Office of the Director and a photographer who captured many signal moments in NIH history, died Nov. 24 of complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Hecht joined NIH in 1959 in the photo section of what is now the Division of Medical Arts. His duties extended beyond NIH to the U.S. surgeon general’s office and the office of the HHS secretary.
He spent a few years at NIMH, where he helped set up photography, film and television facilities, then returned to OD. Not only did he take photographs, primarily black-and-white images used in such publications as the NIH Record, and Time and Life magazines, but also he produced and directed films of NIH research for television.
Hecht also made public service announcements for TV, alerting people to health and safety hazards such as tick-borne Rocky Mountain spotted fever, high blood pressure and dental caries. He helped the news media produce stories about NIH for such programs as the Today Show and 20/20. He retired from NIH in July 1987.
A collection of Hecht’s prints can be found at https://history.nih.gov/.
Hecht was preceded in death by his first wife, Annabelle Hecht. Survivors include his wife Gisele Dahan Hecht; three sons, Barry Alan Hecht, George David Hecht and Roger William Hecht; sister Davina Hecht; and four grandchildren.