Immunotherapy Benefits NIH Scientist/Author

Dr. Barbara Lipska discusses ordeal with cancer at NIMH lecture series.
Dr. Barbara Lipska discusses ordeal with cancer at NIMH lecture series.

One morning in January 2015, Dr. Barbara Lipska sat down at her desk and went to turn on her computer. Her hand disappeared. She couldn’t see anything in her right visual field. The terrifying experience was like a freaky magic trick.

“The first thought that entered my mind was...brain tumor,” said Lipska, director of NIMH’s Human Brain Collection Core and author of The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery, at a recent NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series lecture at the Neuroscience Center.

The vision problems persisted through the morning. The next day she was diagnosed with three brain tumors. Shortly after, she underwent radiation and neurosurgery to remove the biggest one, which was bleeding and blocking her vision. She had been previously diagnosed with melanoma and had the skin tumor resected. Melanoma, however, commonly spreads to other parts of the body, including the brain.

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Tree Population Grows on Campus

a young tree staked, tagged, water-bagged and ready to flourish
Behind the Natcher Bldg., a young tree is staked, tagged, water-bagged and ready to flourish.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it…Brandon Hartz will surely replace it in due time. At least that’s how it works on NIH’s Bethesda campus. The agency’s landscape architect has been busier than usual over the past year or so, overseeing the planting of more than 200 new trees since spring 2017.

“We’ve lost—due to old age, storm damage and safety concerns—a lot of trees,” Hartz reported recently. In 2016, 198 trees were lost; in 2017, the campus lost 125 trees.

On its 300-acre Bethesda campus, NIH has about 8,500 trees (of at least 2 inches dbh, or diameter at breast height—a standard arboreal measuring unit). The Forest Conservation Plan that the agency maintains with the state of Maryland requires one-to-one replacement. Every time we lose a tree, we have to plant one to take its place.

With funding help from the Office of Research Facilities’ Division of Environmental Protection, Hartz authorized 128 trees to be planted last fall. That’s in addition to the 70 plantings completed during spring 2017.

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