From Earthquake to NIH Lab

Wataru Sakamoto was inserting a long needle into the gut of one of his cancer patients to drain some fluid at the moment the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit in Japan on March 11, 2011. The quake lasted for a six-minute eternity, moved the entire island eight feet to the east, and culminated in a devastating tsunami that wiped out whole towns and took more than 15,000 lives. Then came the radiation horror as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility began to fail a few days later, spewing radioactivity across the region. Sakamoto has since brought his family to the U.S. and is working in an NIH lab.

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NIH Launches New Translational Science Center

In a move to re-engineer the process of translating scientific discoveries into new drugs, diagnostics, and devices, NIH has established the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). NCATS will serve as the nation’s hub for catalyzing innovations in translational science, will work closely with partners in the regulatory, academic, nonprofit, and private sector, and will strive to overcome hurdles that slow the development of effective treatments and cures. 

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From the Deputy Director for Intramural Research

Cognitive Resonance: How Do We Come Up with New Ideas?

Some claim that acquiring and remembering information is no longer an essential element of learning, because so much is at our fingertips through search engines and the World Wide Web. We merely download the information onto our computers or our handheld gadgets. But what are the consequences of filling our brains with ways to obtain information rather than with the information itself?.

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Colleagues: Recently Tenured

Leonardo Belluscio, Ph.D., NINDS

Senior Investigator, Developmental Neural Plasticity Section

Education: Manhattan College, Riverdale, N.Y. (B.S. in biology); Columbia University, New York (Ph.D. in neuroscience)

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Obituaries 2011

Baruj Benacerraf (died on August 2, 2011, at 90), who was chief of NIAID’s Laboratory of Immunology from 1968 to 1970, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1980 for discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions. A significant portion of his Nobel Prize-winning work was performed at NIH. After leaving NIH, he led the department of pathology at Harvard Medical School and was also president of the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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