New Guinea Singing Dogs May Hold Clues to Human Vocalization
BY NATALIE HAGEN, NCATS
The New Guinea singing dog, whose harmonious wolf-like howls sound eerily like whale songs, was thought to have been extinct in the wild for some 50 years. But researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute confirmed that this breed still roams the New Guinea Highlands and that studying them may yield clues to how human vocalization developed.
The Bubonic Plague Has Made Its Evolutionary Mark on the Human Genome
BY ETHAN SMITH, NINR
Evolutionary pressure to survive the bubonic plague may have selected for genetic mutations that protect certain Mediterranean populations from being infected by the infamous Yersinia pestis, the bacterium behind the plague. But evolution isn’t perfect. Being able to survive the plague may also be the reason for today’s prevalence of another ancient disease—familial Mediterranean fever (FMF)—National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) researchers recently reported.
Unless you have been on Mars, you know that early Monday morning, on October 5, 2020, our own Harvey Alter, senior scientist in the NIH Clinical Center, got a call from Sweden notifying him that he was sharing this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his pioneering work on defining and detecting the hepatitis C virus.
One of Andrea Pfeifer’s mottos comes from Carl Zuckmayer, a German writer who said, “One-half of life is luck; the other half is discipline–and that’s the important half, because without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with your luck.” In a career that arcs from the lab to corporate leadership and back again, Pfeifer knows a bit about what it takes to write your own success story.
10th Annual Women Scientists Advisors Scholars Symposium
BY FRANCES FERNANDO NICHD
Ever since 2011, the outstanding research achievements of NIH women postdocs have been recognized at the Annual Women Scientists Advisors (WSA) Scholars Symposium. On October 5, 2020, postdoctoral fellows Alix Warburton (NIAID) and Ida Fredriksson (NIDA) presented their work. They had been selected as WSA scholars from among the 95 women recipients of the 2020 Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE).
Read about NIH scientific advances and discoveries by intramural scientists: experimental treatment for children with eczema; post-exertional malaise in chronic fatigue syndrome; miglustat seems to stabilize swallowing problems in children and adolescents with Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC1); and more.
Joan Steitz leads and inspires by example, with her infectious passion for all things RNA. As a young college student, she had seen female medical doctors but never a female professor heading a lab. Originally set on medical school, she did not anticipate building a career as a woman molecular biologist.
Meet your recently tenured colleagues: Christina Annunziata (NCI-CCR), T.C. “Kelvin” Choi (NIMHD), Tae-Wook Chun (NIAID), Heidi H. Kong (NIAMS), Da-Ting Lin (NIDA), Susan L. Moir (NIAID), Keisuke (Chris) Nagao (NIAMS), John Ngai (NINDS), Kandice Tanner (NCI-CCR, pictured), and Stephen Whitehead (NIAID)
Congratulations to Harvey Alter for winning the Nobel Prize; Richard Youle for winning the Breakthrough Prize; the five new members of the National Academy of Medicine (Peter L. Choyke, Cynthia E. Dunbar, Heinz Feldmann, Louis M. Staudt, Hannah A. Valantine, and Carlos Alberto Zarate Jr.), and to the winners of the Sammie Awards (Anthony Fauci and Ira Pastan).
Taking Control of the Job Search During the Pandemic
BY CRAIG MYRUM, NIA
Even in normal times, applying for academic faculty positions is time-consuming, and the competition is fierce. Throw in a pandemic, your chances of snagging that long-sought-after position in academia may feel hopeless. Currently in the midst of my own job search, I have experienced difficult moments, but I have also fortunately found ways to alleviate the anxiety.
Did you know that every day, 23 million emails are blocked by the central NIH email filters and 36 million web connections to suspicious sites are stopped at the NIH firewall? Keeping NIH’s employees, patients, and systems safe from cyberattacks is a necessary responsibility for everyone who accesses NIH data and systems.
Centralized Database Now Available to NIH-supported Researchers
BY SUNITA CHOPRA, NCI
Recently, NIH has made it easier—and free—for NIH-supported epidemiologists and other health and medical researchers to access a centralized database of death-record information held by state vital statistics offices.
Mobile-health technology (mHealth) lets health-care providers collect data on handheld electronic devices such as cell phones or tablets and use those data to predict the optimal timing for delivering treatments and health-education messages to patients.
NEWS FROM AND ABOUT THE SCIENTIFIC INTEREST GROUPS
New SIG: Sexual and Gender Minority Health Scientific Interest Group (SGM Health SIG)
The recently established SGM Health Scientific Interest Group (SGM Health SIG) is interested in supporting a range of biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social science research to advance the health of all sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations, with a specific interest in the disease areas and health conditions that affect these individuals.
News about events, deadlines, lectures including finding volunteers for clinical trials, new URL for CREx website, Technology Transfer opportunities, mandatory training, Pandemic Perspectives, Anita Roberts Lecture with Julie Segre, NIH Summit on State of SARS-CoV2 Antiviral Therapeutics Development, DeWitt Stetten Lecture on general anesthesia, nominations for NIH Director’s Awards, Advancing the Health of Women Through Science meeting series, and Demystifying Medicine starts in January.