Many of NIH’s senior scientists and scientific support staff have spent most, if not all, of their careers in the intramural research program. I am struck by our senior faculty’s impact on the conduct of science, the mentoring of a new generation of scientists, the management of scientific programs, and their important advisory function. I would like to provide some examples, by no means exclusive, of the enormous role that our senior faculty plays in making the NIH a jewel in the crown of the federal government and to suggest that more recognition of contributions by all dedicated scientific staff would be well-deserved.
Here at the “United Nations” of the NIH, we have scientists representing approximately 100 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe. More than 3,000 of our scientists are visiting from, or were born in, a so-called “foreign” country—an odd term given the collegiality we cherish and expect at NIH.
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) uses radiation to image very small particles, that radiation can kill viruses destroying the very structures scientists want to see. But NIAMS researchers developed a method they call “bubblegram imaging” that turns the problem into a solution.
Something very strange happened on my 60-minute train commute home. I had prepared, as always, to browse a dozen or so scientific papers on my iPad. I had neatly downloaded these before I left work. I also had considerable e-mail to answer, so I had planned to bang these out, too. Then an apparent tragedy struck.