Charting the Future of the Intramural Research Program
BY NINA F. SCHOR, M.D., PH.D., ACTING DDIR
I am excited to write this, my first essay for The NIH Catalyst. As the new Acting NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR), I have incredibly big shoes to fill. My predecessor, Michael Gottesman, held the position of DDIR for 29 years and launched and nurtured many initiatives that enhanced biomedical workforce diversity, created NIH-wide core facilities, and established the laboratories of extraordinarily talented new scientists on the NIH campus. I am hoping to build on the incredibly robust foundation that he and his colleagues in the Office of Intramural Research have created.
On August 22, 2022, Anthony Fauci announced that he will be stepping down in December 2022 as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden.
Beyond the Bench: Translational, Clinical, and Market-Research Training Opportunities at NIH
Gone are the days when being a scientist always meant doing benchwork day in and day out. Here at NIH, trainees are part of an extensive workforce dedicated to public service, following NIH’s primary motto, “Turning discovery into health.” Not only do trainees contribute by doing basic research, but they can learn how to contribute in other ways by taking courses in translational, clinical, and market research.
News From and About the Scientific Interest Groups
A new SIG and one with a new name: The new one, Long-read and Long-range Sequencing Scientific Interest Group, hosts a monthly seminar series that focuses on new long-read sequencing technologies that make it is possible to routinely sequence DNA fragments of 10–100 kilobases and longer. The Redox Biology SIG, which is the renamed Free Radical Research Interest group, hosts seminars and workshops that promote all aspects of basic, translational, and clinical research in redox biology.
Dosimetry Cards and the History of Radiation Safety
NIH researchers, clinicians, and other staff have been working with radioactive materials and radiation-emitting devices since the 1940s, when it was routine to use radium needles for cancer therapy, run radium-radon generators that converted radium to radon for cancer treatments, or operate X-ray machines that produced ionizing radiation. Before 1950, NIH employees who worked with radioactive materials underwent blood draws semiannually that were analyzed to see whether significant decreases had occurred in white-blood-cell and platelet counts. This method was phased out by the mid-1950s and was replaced by film badges and personal dosimeters, which detect high-energy beta, gamma, or X-ray radiation. The results were recorded on index-card-sized cards called dosimetry cards. The Office of NIH History has acquired some of those cards, including ones from famous NIHers.
News about events, deadlines, courses, and lectures at NIH including the Big Read, WALS new season, Fauci to be guest speaker at COVID-19 lecture, submit ideas for the forthcoming NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Research on the Health of Women, and more.