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Vol. LXII, No. 20
October 1, 2010
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Milestones

Fauci Wins 2010 Janssen Award

Dr. Anthony Fauci (r) and Dr. Erik De Clercq receive the 2010 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research.
Dr. Anthony Fauci (r) and Dr. Erik De Clercq receive the 2010 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research.

NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci has been named a co-recipient of the 2010 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research. The award was established in 2004 by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to salute the most passionate and creative scientists in basic or clinical research whose scientific achievements have made a measurable impact on human health. Fauci was selected for his pioneering work in understanding and combating viral diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS.

“It’s wonderful to do impactful, meaningful work that you love,” Fauci said. “While we should be proud of the many scientific advances that have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we know that in many respects, our work is just beginning. Developing HIV interventions and delivering them to the people who need them will require scientific and public health vision, and dedication from all sectors of society.”

“NIH is extremely proud to see Dr. Fauci’s outstanding record of scientific achievement recognized in this way,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. “I cannot think of a better person to receive this honor, which salutes researchers whose work has had a truly transformative impact on human health.”

Fauci shared the award with fellow researcher Dr. Erik De Clercq, professor emeritus at the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven, Belgium. Fauci declined his portion of the award’s $100,000 prize to comply with government ethics rules. Johnson & Johnson will donate his portion to two organizations: Partners In Health, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to delivering quality health care to people and communities devastated by the joint burdens of poverty and disease, and Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc., one of the largest nonprofit black AIDS organizations in metropolit

Nutrition Scientist Picciano Mourned

Dr. Mary Frances Picciano

Dr. Mary Frances Picciano, senior nutrition research scientist in the Office of Dietary Supplements, died Aug. 29 after a battle with cancer.

“Mary Frances was that remarkable combination of gifted scientist, committed teacher and beautiful person whom you meet only now and then,” said ODS director Dr. Paul Coates. “She was always a strong proponent of bringing the best science to bear on our work and nowhere was this more evident than with vitamin D.”

Picciano first came to ODS in 1999 as a visiting scientist then rejoined in 2001 as a senior research scientist and director of the Training and Career Development Program. Among her innovations was creation of an ODS Research Seminar Series as well as the Dietary Supplement Research Practicum, a 5-day annual course to provide fundamental scientific knowledge of dietary supplements to academicians and their advanced students. Picciano also directed the ODS Vitamin D Initiative, a comprehensive, multifaceted effort to synthesize available research on this nutrient, identify research needs and challenges and evaluate their application to public health policy. Earlier this year, she received the NIH Director’s Award “in recognition of exceptional leadership resulting in a broader understanding of vitamin D that will benefit the public health.”

During her career, Picciano collaborated with dozens of investigators on scientific projects covering a range of human nutrition science from basic studies through human clinical trials. According to Dr. Johanna Dwyer, senior scientist at ODS and a long-time friend and colleague, “Mary Frances was remarkably bright and generous, yet intellectually humble in spite of her encyclopedic knowledge of the field, and a great joy to work with.”

Prior to joining ODS, Picciano was a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and, earlier, professor of nutrition in medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests emphasized nutrition and dietary requirements for pregnant women, infants and children. She was a member of several professional organizations, numerous advisory boards and review panels and on the editorial boards of four journals.

Picciano co-authored the textbook Human Nutrition and co-edited two other books. She served on the National Academy of Sciences’ subcommittee on nutrition during lactation and was president of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML).

Picciano was especially proud of opportunities to mentor graduate students. Among her protégés is Dr. Regan Bailey, now a nutritional epidemiologist at ODS. “Mary Frances was one of a kind,” remembers Bailey. “As a mentor, she not only imparted her scientific influence but also was a supportive, nurturing friend willing to go the extra mile to help. She worked tirelessly to promote learning opportunities for young scientists.”

Earlier this year, Picciano received the David Kritchevsky Career Achievement Award in Nutrition from the American Society for Nutrition “in recognition of an outstanding career in nutrition.” She was also awarded the 2010 Macy-Gyorgy Award from ISRHML for “outstanding, original scientific contributions to the study of human milk and lactation.”

She is survived by her husband, Dr. John Milner, chief of the nutritional science research group, Division of Cancer Prevention, NCI, and her daughter, son, mother and two brothers.

NIGMS Director Berg Receives Public Service Award

Dr. Mary Frances Picciano
NIGMS director Dr. Jeremy Berg receives public service award from Dr. Suzanne Pfeffer, president of ASBMB.

NIGMS director Dr. Jeremy Berg is the recipient of the 2011 Howard K. Schachman Public Service Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). The annual award recognizes exemplary dedication to public service in support of biomedical science. The award is named after the eminent scientist who chaired ASBMB’s public affairs advisory committee from 1989-2000.

Berg was cited for his tireless support of investigator-initiated, fundamental research and for his outreach efforts to the scientific community. Previous winners of the Schachman award include Sens. Arlen Specter and Tom Harkin; former Reps. John Porter and Robert Michel; Dr. Ruth Kirschstein; philanthropist John Whitehead; and the Research!America organization.

Berg received the award at an ASBMB public affairs advisory committee meeting in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 20.

Cell Biologist Ainsztein Moves to NIGMS

Dr. Mary Frances Picciano Dr. Alexandra Ainsztein recently joined NIGMS as a program director in the Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics. She is managing research grants related to membrane trafficking, the molecular mechanisms and dynamics of the secretory pathway and organelle biogenesis. She will also be involved with PSI:Biology, the new phase of the NIGMS Protein Structure Initiative. Before joining the institute, Ainsztein served as a scientific review officer in CSR. She earned a B.A. in biochemistry from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Florida, then did postdoctoral research in cell biology at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Edinburgh and NICHD.
an Washington, D.C.

CSR Appoints Chiefs for Three IRGs

Dr. Katherine Malinda Dr. Valerie Durrant Dr. Robert Freund
Three new IRG chiefs at the Center for Scientific Review are (from l) Dr. Katherine Malinda, Dr. Valerie Durrant and Dr. Robert Freund.

The Center for Scientific Review recently named three new chiefs of integrated review groups (IRGs).

Dr. Katherine Malinda is chief of the vascular and hematology IRG. She had most recently been deputy chief of NHLBI’s blood and vascular scientific review group.

Malinda has coordinated reviews in the areas of blood and vascular diseases and complications, proteomics and genomics. As a researcher, she was a developmental cell biologist with expertise in cell migration, cell-matrix interactions, angiogenesis, anti-angiogenesis and wound healing.

Malinda has worked at NIH for a total of 13 years. After receiving her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1995, she was awarded a postdoctoral training fellowship to work at NIDCR. She later served as a staff scientist for NINR and NIDCR. Prior to coming to NHLBI, she was at EntreMed, Inc., in Rockville, where she was involved in anti-angiogenic/angiogenic assay development to screen and identify potential drug candidates.

Dr. Valerie Durrant is new chief of CSR’s population sciences and epidemiology IRG. She will also continue serving as scientific review officer for the infectious diseases, reproductive health, asthma and pulmonary conditions study section.

During part of her tenure at CSR, Durrant served as a program officer at NICHD. Before coming to NIH, she was a program officer at the National Academies’ committee on population, where she directed studies on the transition from childhood to adulthood in developing countries, on leveraging longitudinal data in developing countries and on the economic benefits of investing in youth in developing countries.

She received a Ph.D. in sociology with an emphasis in demography from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Robert Freund is new chief of the AIDS and AIDS-related research IRG. He earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School.

Before coming to CSR, he was at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as an assistant professor in the department of microbiology and immunology. His research involved studying the mechanism of tumor induction using the mouse DNA tumor virus polyomavirus and dysregulation of signal transduction and the cell cycle in oncogenesis. He organized the virology section of the medical school microbiology course and taught graduate courses in virology and signal transduction.

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