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Vol. LXV, No. 24
November 22, 2013
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Milestones

Brown Takes Reins of NIH Emergency Care Research

Dr. Jeremy Brown

Since he came to NIH this summer, Dr. Jeremy Brown has listened—a lot. As the first permanent director of NIH’s Office of Emergency Care Research, his initial goal is to chart the most effective course for the relatively new office. To do that, he’s engaging clinicians, researchers, policymakers and professional organizations from coast to coast to get their input on national challenges in the field and how best to address them.

Conditions that require emergency care include heart attack, stroke, traumatic injury, burns, allergic reactions, bone fractures, infections, drug overdoses, bleeding, asthma, poisoning, psychiatric or neurological problems and ill-defined, symptom-based medical complaints such as difficulty breathing or severe pain in the chest, spine or abdomen—basically anything that would be treated in an emergency department. Among the issues affecting research in this field is getting informed consent from patients who may be unconscious or severely injured.

Brown is an emergency medicine physician and clinical researcher who most recently was an associate professor of emergency medicine and chief of the clinical research section in George Washington University’s department of emergency medicine. Prior to that, he was an attending physician at Beth Israel Medical Center and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Brown earned his medical degrees from University College Hospital Medical School in London and completed a residency in emergency medicine at Boston Medical Center.

He replaces NINDS deputy director Dr. Walter Koroshetz, who served as OECR’s acting director from its inception.

Established in 2012 and housed in NIGMS, OECR is a focal point for basic, clinical and translational emergency care research and training across NIH. Rather than funding grants, the office’s role is to coordinate, catalyze and communicate about NIH funding opportunities in emergency care research and foster the training of future researchers in this field.

“It’s a big mission for a very small office,” Brown says. “But we are fortunate to have many energetic partners across NIGMS, NIH, the government and the broader community, as well as to have benefitted from the able leadership of Dr. Koroshetz.” Those partners will be essential players as Brown seeks to help improve the care of anyone in need of emergency treatment.

For more information visit www.nigms.nih.gov/About/Overview/OECR.

OHR’s Lenowitz Wins Causey Award
By Jan Ehrman

Phil Lenowitz

It’s an honor that anyone who works in human resources would be proud to attain. Phil Lenowitz, deputy director of the Office of Human Resources, recently received the 4th annual Causey Award, given by Federal News Radio (1500 AM) for contributions “above and beyond the call of duty” in the human management field. He was credited with “creating and developing initiatives beneficial to minorities, veterans and disabled workers.”

Lenowitz, a three-time winner of the NIH Merit Award and a 2012 recipient of the NIH Director’s Award, was surprised by the commendation.

“I was sitting in a staff meeting when one of my colleagues broke the news. I really thought it was some kind of joke,” Lenowitz recalled. “We have a great jokester in the office and I thought it came about through him.”

The award, given annually in the name of Mike Causey, the long-time federal news journalist noted for his reports on pay, benefits and workforce management issues, was decided on by a panel of experts in human relations, as well as staff members from Federal News Radio.

Lenowitz has been deputy director of OHR, which includes some 375 employees, since 2004. Before joining NIH, he held personnel management positions with the Department of Veterans Affairs in five different VA Medical Centers and, from 1998 through 2002, was a supervisory HR management specialist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Long before his NIH career, he was a stock trader on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange for 10 years.

One of his proudest achievements has been helping implement and carry out NIH’s efforts to hire and retain older workers. In acknowledgement of that effort, NIH recently became the first federal agency to be named AARP’s Best Employer for Workers over 50. “It’s no secret that we place a certain emphasis on hiring older workers. In fact, about 47 percent of our current staff are age 50 and older,” he noted.

Lenowitz also was a co-creator and oversaw establishment of the NIH Federal Career Intern Program (known as administrative fellows), which translated into 100 hires in the first year of operation. Further, he has been instrumental in developing and overseeing special programs for employees with disabilities, minorities and veterans at NIH.

“Phil is a critical member of the leadership team here at NIH and has routinely demonstrated his dedication to the NIH mission and the workforce that supports it,” said OHR Director Christine Major. “I am thrilled he has been recognized for some of his outstanding achievements and couldn’t be prouder to have him on my team.”

The team is what it’s all about, explained Lenowitz. Individual awards are nice, he said, and “I may be the one that is recognized, but for every successful project, I have a wonderful team of employees supporting me in the mission.”

Lenowitz says he feels fortunate to be working at an agency that is as well respected and accomplished as NIH. “Employees stick around here on average about 5 years after they are eligible for retirement. So we must be doing something right.”

Chanock Appointed Director of NCI Division

Dr. Stephen Chanock was recently appointed director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and an NCI scientific director.
Dr. Stephen Chanock was recently appointed director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and an NCI scientific director.

Dr. Stephen Chanock was recently appointed director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and an NCI scientific director. He takes over from DCEG’s founding director Dr. Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr., who stepped down in July 2012 after reaching a career milestone of 50 years at NCI, and Dr. Margaret Tucker, who served as acting director.

Chanock is an internationally recognized expert in cancer epidemiology and genetics. He has been a leader in the discovery and characterization of cancer susceptibility alleles by genome-wide association studies and whole genome sequencing. He had been chief of DCEG’s Laboratory of Translational Genomics since 2007.

He received his A.B. from Princeton University and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining DCEG, he served as a tenured investigator in the genomic variation section of NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch. From 2012 to 2013, he was acting co-director of the NCI Center for Cancer Genomics.

Chanock has received a number of awards for his scientific contributions and is an elected member of the Society for Pediatric Research, American Epidemiology Society and the Association of American Physicians. Since 1995, he has served as medical director of Camp Fantastic, a pediatric oncology camp that is a joint venture of NCI and Special Love, Inc.

Chanock follows in the footsteps of his father, the late Dr. Robert M. Chanock, who was an internationally recognized expert in pediatric infectious diseases and vaccine development who spent his career at NIAID.

NCCAM and NIAID Senior Leader Killen Retires
By Ellen O’Donnell

Dr. John “Jack” Killen, Jr.

Dr. John “Jack” Killen, Jr., retired this fall.

Photo: Rhoda Baer

Dr. John “Jack” Killen, Jr.’s many achievements during a 32-year NIH career were celebrated recently.

From 2008 to his retirement Sept. 30, he served as deputy director of NCCAM. His experience in designing, implementing and managing multidisciplinary clinical research programs and his interests in chronic conditions and complementary health approaches made this a natural fit.

His work at NCCAM began in 2003, when he became head of the Office of International Health Research. He later became acting director of the Division of Extramural Research and of the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation before taking on the deputy directorship.

“I cannot overstate the positive impact that Jack has had on NCCAM, and, I believe, on the broader scientific research enterprise on complementary and integrative health approaches,” said Dr. Josephine Briggs, NCCAM director. “He has been an indispensable leader in developing NCCAM’s strategic direction, building our research enterprise and ensuring that we always meet the highest NIH standards of rigor. Jack brought to our planning processes a clear understanding of the need for research on non-pharmacological approaches for symptom management, particularly for chronic pain, and the huge potential impact of NCCAM’s investing in this area. As my ‘right hand,’ he has been a wonderful partner in developing a new vision for our center.”

Killen’s work at NIAID is also esteemed across NIH. From 1987 to 2001, he was deputy director and then director of the institute’s Division of AIDS. He later served as associate director for research ethics for NIAID and head of the NIAID Office of Biodefense Research. During his tenure in those positions, he had a leading role in the evolution of NIH’s HIV/AIDS research programs. This was a period of incredible scientific advances. Among his many contributions was the central role he played in NIAID’s efforts to bring people with HIV/AIDS and members of their communities into active participation in the research enterprise, an undertaking widely recognized to have strongly shaped scientific progress and affected the clinical biomedical research landscape.

“Jack was an extraordinarily valuable member of the NIAID leadership team during two critical periods in the institute’s history: the early years of HIV/AIDS, and after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director. “He helped us establish new or expanded research programs and then tackled the enormous challenges they posed with perseverance, creativity and intelligence. In doing so, he not only performed an exceptional service to medical research, he also helped make the world a healthier and safer place.”

Killen also served as head of the international research section of the department of clinical bioethics at the Clinical Center from 2001 to 2002. He began his NIH career at the National Cancer Institute, working with multicenter clinical trials and anticancer drug development, eventually leaving NIH for 1 year to be medical director of Washington’s Whitman-Walker Clinic (1986-1987).

The NIH Merit Award, the NIH Director’s Award, the Public Health Service Special Recognition Award, the PHS Superior Service Award and the Senior Executive Service Meritorious Executive Rank are among Killen’s many honors and awards.

Briggs added, “I am very pleased that, postretirement, Jack will continue working with us at NCCAM, as a consultant and in tandem with our new deputy director, Dr. David Shurtleff.”

NIAMS’s Gourley, Mentor to Trainees, Retires
By Sara Rosario Wilson

Dr. Mark F. Gourley

Dr. Mark F. Gourley, former director of the Rheumatology Fellowship and Training Branch, NIAMS, recently retired after two decades of federal service. He also oversaw clinical care at the NIAMS Community Health Center (CHC), a medical research program in the Washington, D.C., region that provides health care services to people affected by arthritis, lupus and other rheumatic diseases.

A graduate of Tulane University Medical School, Gourley completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin in 1988. During medical school, he completed a 9-week immunology rotation at NIH. “I was so taken with the magnitude of how wonderful the NIH academic environment was that I knew continued training at NIH was my calling,” he said.

Gourley developed an interest in lupus when he became a rheumatology fellow at NIAMS in 1988 and trained with experts in the field. After completing his 2-year fellowship and then struggling to conduct research with limited funding, he became a senior fellow, which transformed his lab career into a clinical one. Gourley conducted a large randomized controlled clinical trial comparing three treatment arms (cyclophosphamide, methylprednisolone and the combination) in patients with lupus nephritis. The trial results, which were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1996, set the standard for clinical trials and lupus treatments used to this day.

He left NIH in 1996 to establish D.C.’s first lupus clinic at Washington Hospital Center, where he served as attending rheumatologist. Gourley credits this experience with helping expand his clinical skills immensely. The clinic continues to treat patients today.

In 2002, Gourley returned to NIH, this time as a clinician at NIEHS. “It was an exciting opportunity to get back to clinical research, and I jumped on it,” he recalls. His work at NIEHS focused on investigating the environmental causes of autoimmune diseases.

In 2007, Gourley returned to NIAMS—the institute he calls home—to serve as director of the Rheumatology Fellowship Program. As a former fellow himself, he brought a unique perspective to the program, elevating it to the top-notch training environment it is today. “Gourley was instrumental in raising the standards of this program and he has been a trusted mentor and advisor to our fellows,” said clinical director Dr. Richard Siegel.

“Mentorship is incredibly important at the NIH,” says Gourley. He is grateful to those who mentored him throughout his career. Guiding young rheumatology fellows and watching them develop are the most rewarding aspects of his career. “To me, there is no greater thrill than watching them grow and flourish,” he said.

“His work with the CHC expanded this outreach clinic to provide state-of-the-art care and access to clinical research to a large underserved population in the area. Gourley’s clinical acumen and empathetic care for hundreds of patients in his career at NIAMS have been an inspiration to us all,” Siegel noted.

Gourley intends to continue mentoring young scientists after his retirement. He will serve as a special volunteer and assist in teaching the NIAMS rheumatology fellows, as well as aid the new program director during the leadership transition. When asked to give advice to young people wishing to pursue a career in science, Gourley stressed that science is a truly exciting career, but it requires self-determination and focus. “You need to think outside the box, dream the impossible dream and be really creative,” he said. “Never give up on the dream, and with time it will develop and come true.”

NEI Deputy Scientific Director Sohraby Retires

Dr. Sarah Sohraby

NEI deputy scientific director Dr. Sarah Sohraby has retired from NIH. She provided administrative oversight to the NEI intramural research program, making sure “the science flowed,” as she put it. “I made sure our scientists’ needs for personnel, supplies, equipment, space, animals and other resources were met in the best possible way.” She said coordinating these activities was akin to weaving an elaborate carpet with all levels of the institute contributing essential threads.

Sohraby came to NEI in 2006 from the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) where she served as chair of the department of biomedical sciences. Her research investigated the regulation of epithelial ion transport in lung- and kidney-derived cells in culture. She also chaired the department of physiology at the University of Lubumbashi in the Republic of Congo. At both institutions she taught physiology to medical students.

“Dr. Sohraby will be remembered as a community builder,” said Dr. Sheldon Miller, who directs the NEI intramural research program. “She was a catalyst for collaboration within the intramural community and worked very hard to bring everyone— especially fellows—into the fold.”

Sohraby, who said she cares deeply about people and sees teaching as her passion, also oversaw the NEI intramural training program. She instituted measures to help trainees develop as scientists and acquire skills to become more competitive in the workplace. Sohraby’s contributions to scientific training were recognized twice with an NIH Director’s Award, in 2010 and 2012.

She is returning to academia in Belgium and has plans to continue lecturing in the Congo.

CSR Retiree Hickman Mourned

CSR’s Dr. Jean Hickman served NIH for 57 years before retiring in 2008.
CSR’s Dr. Jean Hickman served NIH for 57 years before retiring in 2008.

Dr. Jean Hickman, a Center for Scientific Review scientist who led the way for many female scientists, died Aug. 26 at her home in Washington, D.C.

After 57 years of service to NIH, she retired in 2008 as scientific review officer for CSR’s tropical medicine and parasitology study section. In 2003, she was recognized for an exceptional career with awards from the NIH director and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Jean will be fondly remembered for her commitment to advancing the biomedical issues she has worked on over many years,” said Dr. Alexander Politis, chief of infectious diseases and microbiology. “She generated extraordinary respect from the scientific community.”

Upon learning of Hickman’s death, many of her former reviewers sent tributes. “She was really a legend in her time,” said Dr. Scott Landfear, professor at Oregon Health and Science University. “She was incredibly dedicated to the field and was a constant source of encouragement during thick and thin. She made everybody feel great about being part of the team.”

Hickman received such tributes well before she retired. The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene convened a scientific seminar in her honor in 1999 and issued her a certificate of recognition for “meritorious contributions toward the control of tropical diseases.” The society also held a special symposium in her honor in 2002.

“Jean made major contributions to the globally important area of research that involved eukaryotic pathogens through her remarkable dedication to managing the review of grant applications,” said Politis. “In a study section meeting, she reminded me of the E.F. Hutton commercial: When Jean Hickman talks, reviewers listen.”

Dr. John Pugh, who worked closely with Hickman, recalled the generous way she shared her knowledge of the parasitology and vector biology research communities and her passion for movies, mystery novels and BBC dramas. “We had wonderful conversations that were fueled by a seemingly endless supply of candy she kept in her office,” he said.

Hickman came to NIH in 1951 as a GS-5 biologist in the Laboratory of Physical Biology in what was then the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases. She soon became a chemist there, continuing in this position for the next 7 years as she pursued a Ph.D. from Georgetown University. She received her degree in 1957.

After 30 years as a bench scientist, Hickman moved into the Arthritis Extramural Program in 1984. A year later, she joined the Division of Research Grants, now CSR. She was hired to coordinate the review of grant applications for the tropical medicine and parasitology study section.

Hickman showed the same level of dedication in her personal life. She spent many years caring for her beloved sister, Irma Hickman, and their mother. And she was known for her love of animals. She fed neighborhood cats in her backyard for decades and took it upon herself to have the strays neutered.

Hickman is survived by her nephews and their wives Carl and Bonnie Ford, James and Claire Ford; and by her nieces Nicole Laskau, Arielle Laskau and Megan Ford.

NCI’s Harford Receives AACE Honor

Dr. Joe Harford

The American Association for Cancer Education recently presented the Margaret Hay Edwards Award, its highest honor, to Dr. Joe Harford of NCI’s Center for Global Health at its annual meeting in Seattle. The award was established to honor sustained outstanding contributions to cancer education. Edwards was an NCI employee who was instrumental in establishing peer-reviewed cancer education support mechanisms.

Harford was recognized for his work in capacity building for cancer control internationally. His efforts have focused on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and include NCI support starting in 1998 of LMIC participants in NCI’s Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention. Harford has also supported and participated in capacity-building educational activities ranging from cancer registration to palliative care for individuals from LMICs. He also serves in a leadership role within the Global Education and Training Initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control.

Harford is the first NCI employee to receive this award since Edwards herself was given the inaugural medal in 1986.

NIH Receives Six HHS Awards

Six NIH individuals/teams were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments at a ceremony at HHS headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 31. Awards recognized 35 groups or individual employees in five categories for their achievements in 2012.

The Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service went to Diane J. Frasier, director, Office of Acquisition Management and Policy and head of the contracting activity at NIH; and Dr. Wilson Compton, director of the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research, NIDA.

Winning the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service was NIH’s pneumonic plague treatment team, which includes NIAID’s Dr. Shaohua “Sue” Yuan, Dr. Robert Johnson, Dr. Michael Kurilla, Dr. Judith Hewitt, Dr. Lynda Lanning and Dr. Blaire Osborn. Also on the team were FDA’s Simone Shurland, Dr. Elizabeth O’Shaughnessy, Rebecca McKinnon and Dr. Jane Dean.

Three of the five HHS Career Achievement Awards went to NIH staff. The winners were: Karen Donato, acting director, Division for the Application of Research Discoveries, NHLBI, and coordinator, We Can national education program; Dr. Paul Eggers, director, Kidney and Urology Epidemiology Program, NIDDK; and Dr. Yvonne Maddox, NICHD deputy director and champion of issues related to women and children.

Diane J. Frasier Dr. Wilson Compton Awardees include Diane J. Frasier (l) and Dr. Wilson Compton, (below, from l) Karen Donato, Dr. Paul Eggers and Dr. Yvonne Maddox.
Karen Donato Dr. Paul Eggers Dr. Yvonne Maddox
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (sixth from l) presents award to the NIH pneumonic plague treatment team, which includes (from l) Simone Shurland, Dr. Shaohua ”Sue” Yuan, Dr. Elizabeth O’Shaughnessy, Dr. Robert Johnson, Dr. Michael Kurilla, Dr. Jane Dean, Dr. Judith Hewitt, Dr. Lynda Lanning and Dr. Blaire Osborn. Not shown is Rebecca McKinnon.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (sixth from l) presents award to the NIH pneumonic plague treatment team, which includes (from l) Simone Shurland, Dr. Shaohua ”Sue” Yuan, Dr. Elizabeth O’Shaughnessy, Dr. Robert Johnson, Dr. Michael Kurilla, Dr. Jane Dean, Dr. Judith Hewitt, Dr. Lynda Lanning and Dr. Blaire Osborn. Not shown is Rebecca McKinnon.

Photos: Chris Smith/HHS

NHLBI’s Leonard Honored by Society

Dr. Warren J. Leonard
Dr. Warren J. Leonard, NIH distinguished investigator, chief of NHLBI’s Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and director of the institute’s Immunology Center, recently won the honorary lifetime membership award from the International Cytokine and Interferon Society. The award is made to individuals who have made substantive contributions to the field. Leonard has been at NIH since 1981, first at NCI, then NICHD and NHLBI, where he has worked since 1992. His lab focuses on the biology, signaling and molecular regulation of a key family of cytokines—the interleukins—with studies ranging from basic molecular mechanisms to human disease.

 

 

NIDDK Scientist Emeritus Bennett Honored

From left David L. Bore, president, University of Oklahoma, Harold Hamm and Dr. Peter H. Bennett

NIDDK scientist emeritus Dr. Peter H. Bennett (r) received the first Harold Hamm International Prize for Biomedical Research in Diabetes from the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma on Oct. 28 in recognition of his groundbreaking diabetes research over the past five decades. Shown with Bennett are David L. Bore (l), president, University of Oklahoma; and Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, Inc., lead benefactor of the diabetes center.

Photo: Hamm Diabetes Center


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