The Training Page

From the Fellows Committee

SOS: Service With a Scientific Twist

Felcom’s role is to serve the fellows’ community here at NIH; each subcommittee is tasked with enriching different aspects of our NIH training. However, during one Felcom meeting in fall 2010, members decided it was time for Felcom to reach out and help others. So the Service and Outreach Subcommittee (SOS) was formed.

SOS aims to find new and inventive ways to give back to the NIH and greater Washington, D.C., communities. In addition, SOS presents an opportunity for team building as we work collectively toward a common goal.

Our first SOS-organized event this past spring was a food drive for the NIH Safra Family Lodge, which offers a home away from home for families and loved ones of adult patients who are receiving care at the Clinical Center. NIH does not provide meals for these families so they must eat in the cafeterias, dine at local restaurants, or cook for themselves at the lodge. Because families arrive at the lodge at all hours, they are often unable to immediately stock up on food. We thought we could stock the pantry for them.

From late March through early April we collected nonperishable food items ranging from canned goods to dried pasta and donated them to the lodge. You probably saw and perhaps dropped off donations at one of our collection boxes around the NIH campus. The inaugural food drive was a huge success, and Felcom received a letter of thanks from Safra Lodge Operations Manager Margo Bradford. Of course, we hope to outdo ourselves when we run the event again next year.

Over the next few months we are planning several activities including tree planting in Washington, D.C., and food packing at the Capital Area Food Bank. If these activities are successful, we hope more fellows will participate in outreach activities. SOS may be starting small, but we are thinking big. We are always seeking new ways for fellows to be involved in outreach opportunities such as judging at science fairs or helping with high school science clubs.

If you have suggestions for SOS activities or would like to join the committee, contact either of the co-chairs, Shu Hui Chen ( or Julien Senac ( For more information on Felcom or SOS, go to the new home of the Felcom Web site:

Special: From the NICHD Training Office

Two Students Chosen for NICHD’s Scholars Program

Two students have been selected from the NIH Academy to participate in the NICHD Scholars Program. The academy is a research program for recent college graduates interested in health disparities among populations in the United States.

Carla Lopez and Chinedu Anyaeji are the first participants in the NICHD Scholars Program. Lopez was a pre-med major and is a graduate of Wellesley College (Wellesley, Mass.). Anyaeji majored in engineering and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

“The NICHD Scholars Program provides extensive career counseling and guidance. . . as well as help in preparing for graduate and professional school interviews,” said Brenda Hanning, head of NICHD’s Office of Education.

Anyaeji will work in the laboratory of Peter Basser, director of the NICHD Program on Pediatric Imaging and Tissue Sciences. Anyaeji will take part in the effort to develop new polymer phantoms—substances with properties of living tissues, used to calibrate diffusion-tension magnetic-resonance imaging equipment. Specifically, he will formulate and test various physical and nuclear-magnetic-imaging-resonance properties of candidate polymers. He will also help test a new device for gastrointestinal imaging that the group is developing.

Lopez will work with Chris McBain, head of the Program in Developmental Neuroscience and chief of NICHD’S Section on Cellular and Synaptic Physiology. She will be involved in a project to chart the migration, development, and location of interneurons, which are brain cells in the central nervous system. She will help track the migration of embryonic interneurons from their original location toward the rear of the fetal brain to their ultimate locations in the cortex and hippocampus.

NIH trains physicians and scientists at the postdoctoral and clinical levels, graduate and medical students, post-baccalaureate fellows, and summer students. For more information, visit