ACD Supports Early Investigators, Applauds Collins’ Reappointment

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (l), flanked by ACD member Dr. Jose Florez of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, told the group that he thought last December’s ACD meeting might have been his last.
NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (l), flanked by ACD member Dr. Jose Florez of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, told the group that he thought last December’s ACD meeting might have been his last.
 

Two days before the 114th meeting of the advisory committee to the NIH director on June 8, the President invited NIH director Dr. Francis Collins to remain in that post permanently.

“I am grateful and honored to have received that invitation,” said Collins, who had been serving as a holdover appointment since Jan. 18, “and I am happy, along with my wife Diane, to accept it.”

The news was met with a round of applause before the ACD got down to a 2-day agenda that included announcement of the Next Generation of Researchers Initiative (NGRI) to support early and mid-career investigators; presentation of NIH’s efforts to reduce the nation’s opioid Dr. Fiona Marshall Dr. David Valle epidemic; and an argument for an accelerated pathway toward a universal influenza vaccine.

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JUNGLE TRAVEL NOT REQUIRED
Daly Lecturer Describes 21st Century Drug Discovery

Dr. Fiona Marshall
Dr. Fiona Marshall
 

Just recently back from a trip to South Africa, where she had a “pretty scary” face-to-face with a deadly black mamba snake, Dr. Fiona Marshall had the perfect introduction to NIH’s 2017 Daly lecture.

Renowned jungle explorer Dr. John W. Daly, the late NIDDK biochemist and pharmacologist for whom Marshall’s talk was named, pioneered in natural product research.

In much of the last half of last century, he traveled to remote locations in such places as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Madagascar, tracking down would-be medicines from their herpetological sources—frogs, lizards and snakes.

As a fellow laborer in pharmacological chemistry—albeit several generations removed—Marshall, chief scientific officer at Heptares Therapeutics in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, recently presented “From the Jungle to the Synchrotron—Seven Millennia of Discovering Medicines Targeting G Protein-Coupled Receptors.”

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