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Vol. LXVI, No. 2
January 17, 2014

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Dr. David Schneeweis

Dr. R. Wayne Albers

Dr. Jessica Faupel-Badger

David Pair

Dr. Paul H. Plotz


Milestones

Schneeweis Named NEI Deputy Scientific Director

Dr. David Schneeweis

Dr. David Schneeweis will help direct the National Eye Institute intramural research program, which includes 26 principal investigators and tenure track investigators and about 275 scientific support staff. In addition to managing day-to-day operations, he will oversee the NEI intramural training program, consisting of about 100 trainees.

Schneeweis is a vision scientist with a background studying cell signaling in primate retina. He earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, in the laboratory of Julie Schnapf. He brings to NEI a range of research, training and administrative experience from positions held at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, the University of Illinois at Chicago and most recently Northwestern University, where he administered a large, interdepartmental neuroscience Ph.D. program.

“With his scientific background, extensive experience in science administration and a passion for mentoring, we look forward to working with Dr. Schneeweis with great enthusiasm,” said NEI scientific director Dr. Sheldon Miller.

NINDS Mourns Scientist Emeritus Albers
By Shannon E. Garnett

Dr. R. Wayne Albers

Dr. R. Wayne Albers, 85, scientist emeritus and retired chief of the section on enzyme chemistry in the NINDS Laboratory of Neurochemistry, died Sept. 28.

Albers was a world-recognized neuroscientist most noted for his research in the field of membrane cation transport and neuronal excitability in the nervous system. According to his colleagues, he was known as a scientist’s scientist, had an insatiable curiosity about the natural world and was thoroughly committed to a life of science. He was always generous with his time and advice to young people and was a valuable mentor to many young scientists at NIH.

“Wayne was an extraordinary investigator and a resource for all NINDS intramural investigators,” said NINDS director Dr. Story Landis. “He liked nothing better than to talk about science and help solve difficult problems.”

Albers earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska in 1950 and his doctorate from Washington University School of Medicine in 1954. His mentor was the renowned biochemist Dr. Oliver Lowry. After receiving his Ph.D., Albers immediately accepted a full-time position at NIH in the Laboratory of Neuroanatomical Sciences, NINCDS (now NINDS). In 1963, together with two other distinguished NINDS scientists, Dr. Roscoe Brady and Dr. Donald Tower, Albers founded the Laboratory of Neurochemistry, where he went on to do ground-breaking research throughout his career.

Along with close colleague Dr. Robert L. Post at the University of Pennsylvania, Albers performed novel experiments that led to the “Albers-Post Model,” an explanation of the mechanism of action of the cation transport enzyme, known as the sodium-potassium-activated ATPase. He published extensively about this work, including a 1967 classic paper describing the model in the Annual Review of Biochemistry—a paper that is still relevant today.

Later, he focused on kinetics and structure-function relationships in the sodium-potassium-ATPase enzyme. Most recently his work centered on an enzyme called cdk5. This work was done in collaboration with NINDS’s Dr. Harish Pant and NIST visiting scientist Dr. Antonio Cardone.

After 57 years of meritorious service at NIH, Albers retired as scientist emeritus in 2011.

Albers was also an outstanding citizen in the scientific community. He was a founding member of the American Society for Neurochemistry and served on its council and several of its committees. He was a professor of biochemistry at George Washington University and on the faculty of the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences.

Albers served as associate editor of the Journal of Neurochemistry and Journal of Experimental Neurology and on the editorial boards of several other publications including Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Metabolic Brain Disease.

He was a founding co-editor of the textbook Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects, first published in 1972. He continued to serve as co-editor for eight more editions; the latest was published in 2012. He twice served as acting chief of the Laboratory of Neurochemistry, from 1973-1976 and 1985-1986.

Albers is survived by his former wife, Frances; their children, Gail Morrell, Belinda Caron and Patricia Steinhoff; 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. A son, the late Jonathan Albers, preceded him in death.

Donations toward a fund for an Albers memorial lecture or research prize may be sent to the American Society for Neurochemistry, 9037 Ron Den Ln., Windermere, FL 34786. Email asnmanager@asneurochem.org.


Faupel-Badger Joins Staff at NIGMS

Dr. Jessica Faupel-Badger

Dr. Jessica Faupel-Badger recently joined NIGMS as a program director in the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry, where she directs the Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program and administers Pathway to Independence Awards. Before coming to NIGMS, she served as a senior biomedical scientist and deputy director of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at NCI. Prior to that, she was a health science policy analyst at NIDDK. Faupel-Badger earned a B.S. in biology from Gettysburg College, a Ph.D. in tumor biology from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and an M.P.H. in epidemiology and biostatistics from George Washington University. She conducted postdoctoral research at NCI, where she currently serves as an adjunct investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.


Longtime Printing Specialist Pair Retires

David Pair

After 41 years of government service in printing—20 at NIH—David Pair begins part two of his life: retirement.

He started his government service in October 1972 in the print shop at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Washington, D.C., as a laborer and moved to printing procurement, where his career in printing began. Printing and color were soaring at the time and Pair wanted to move up in the industry. While working full time he went back to school to learn about the field and it paid off. In 1982, he was promoted to a color specialist position at NASA headquarters.

In 1992, Pair saw an opportunity to work in the NIH Printing and Reproduction Branch. After a few years, he was given the task of creating a program to procure printing and save money for the institutes without going through the Government Printing Office. The program proved to be valuable at NIH: Print products were delivered in a shorter time with a larger savings per year.

In 2000, Pair became lead printing specialist for NIH. Over the years, he has overseen printing of the NIH Record, NIH News In Health, Clinical Center News and NIH Catalyst. He has worked with most of the institutes to print various health brochures for patients and the public. Pair feels good about the printing services he helped create and make available to NIH in the past 20 years.

A native of Washington, D.C., he graduated from Calvin Coolidge High School in 1972. He lives in Gaithersburg and owns his family home in D.C. He says retirement will give him more time for his love of fishing with his long-time buddies. He plans to begin some new projects at his D.C. home.

“I love sports,” he said. “I coached a baseball team during my career at NASA. I support the Nats, go Caps and hail to the Redskins—and I do enjoy the big-screen TV to watch a good game.”

Plotz Receives Rheumatology Medal

From (l) Dr. Audrey B. Uknis, Dr. Paul H. Plotz and ACR president Dr. Joseph Flood

Dr. Paul H. Plotz (c), scientist emeritus at NIAMS, was awarded the 2013 Presidential Gold Medal from the American College of Rheumatology. The medal is the highest award the ACR can bestow and recognizes “outstanding achievements in rheumatology over an entire career.” Plotz, whose career at NIH spanned nearly 40 years, served as chief of the NIAMS Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch, scientific director and acting deputy director. He was also a senior advisor to NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman. Plotz received the honor at the 2013 ACR annual meeting in San Diego from ACR immediate past president Dr. Audrey B. Uknis (l) and ACR president Dr. Joseph Flood.

Photo: ACR


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