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Last month I moderated our annual retreat with the NIH Scientific Directors, those individuals tasked with leading their Institute or Center (IC)-based intramural research program. We were joined by many of the IC Clinical Directors. And this year we decided to do something a little different: listen to a series of talks about exciting, new IRP research.
Alexis Shelokov, who studied the polio virus at the NIH in the 1950s and was a powerful scientific force in what would become the famed NIAID Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in Building 7, died on December 12, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. He had a prolific scientific career that took him around the world.
Many cultures through history marked the new year in the spring, at the vernal equinox in March when the daytime and nighttime at the equator are equal lengths, 12 hours each. That certainly makes sense: Spring is a time of renewal, as the earth is giving birth to new crops. And I'm surely in the mood for some renewal. One of the most exciting things I have to report is the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law on December 14, 2016.
To paraphrase President Obama from his guest editorial in the November issue of Wired magazine, there’s never been a better time to be alive. One NIH institute leading us into the future is the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which supports avant-garde investigators at the nexus of engineering and the physical and life sciences with innovations that improve global health.
Yasmine Belkaid, chief of the Mucosal Immunology Section in the NIAID Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, has won the Sanofi–Institut Pasteur 2016 International Mid-Career Award for “outstanding research in the life sciences…contributing to progress in global public health,” announced on December 13, 2016 in Paris.
Last month we lost a remarkable investigator, Robert Nussenblatt, M.D., M.P.H., chief of the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Eye Institute (NEI). Bob was a world-renowned expert in uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in younger people. He was instrumental in establishing the pathology of and treatment for uveitis. Bob was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer just a few months ago. He remained characteristically optimistic even as his prognosis rapidly grew worse. He died on April 17, 2016, at age 67 with his family by his side. The NIH staff just devastated to hear the news of his death, because so few knew Bob was ill.