Bionics Gives New Hope to Those Living With Physical Disabilities
BY: MICHAEL TABASKO, OD
MIT Professor Hugh Herr, who is building bionic limbs to end physical disability caused by trauma and disease, shared his story, “On the Design of Bionic Limbs: The Science of Tissue-Synthetic Interface,” at a recent Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series presentation. NIH’s Functional and Applied Biomechanics Section is also investigating how such technology can improve the function of people living with movement disabilities as a result of neurologic disorders such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida.
Michael Gottesman, who has been the Deputy Director for Intramural Research since November 1994, recently announced that he would be stepping down from that position, but will continue as chief of NCI’s Laboratory of Cell Biology, where his research is focused on multi-drug resistance in cancer cells. He was acting DDIR when he wrote this essay for the January 1994 issue of TheNIH Catalyst. Knowing he could make a difference convinced him to take the job. He's still passionate about NIH’s intramural research program and plans to remain as DDIR until a replacement is found. A national search will begin soon.
Kizzmekia Corbett and Barney Graham Recognized for Leading IRP Vaccine Research
In early January 2020, Chinese scientists had isolated a new coronavirus that was causing a serious epidemic in China’s Wuhan province and released its genetic sequence to the scientific community around the world. Barney Graham, director of the VRC’s Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, and VRC research fellow Kizzmekia Corbett dropped everything and immediately began working on a vaccine for the illness that would become known as COVID-19
There’s a high demand for new treatments for uveitis, an intraocular inflammatory disease that destroys eye tissues and can even render a person blind. Charles Egwuagu, a senior investigator at the National Eye Institute, is working to develop new treatments for uveitis that don’t have the dreaded side effects of other therapies. His approach is a unique cell-based therapy using immune cells called regulatory B cells.
Alexandra Ambrico is a “healthy volunteer” participating in the NIH clinical trial ”Brain Dopamine Function in Human Obesity,” which is measuring dopamine activity in the brain to determine how it relates to body weight and eating behavior. Here she answers a few questions about what it’s like to be part of the trial.
BY MARK RIEWESTAHL AND DEVON VALERA, OFFICE OF NIH HISTORY
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how NIH employees make history every day. In Building 31, the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum (ONHM) has installed a new exhibit, “NIH & COVID-19,” that showcases NIH’s role in the fight against COVID-19. ONHM, which has always sought to record, preserve, and interpret NIH’s stories for future generations, now requests your help in its continuing efforts to compile a COVID-19 history.
Mariana Kaplan Is Discovering New Ways to Fight Lupus
NATALIE HAGEN, NCATS
Known as the “disease with a thousand faces,” systemic lupus erythematosus is a lifelong autoimmune disease that affects mostly women of childbearing age and causes widespread inflammation, damage to organ systems, and premature cardiovascular disease. NIH Senior Investigator Mariana Kaplan is exploring how neutrophils wreak havoc on the immune system in lupus and other autoimmune disorders.
Read about NIH scientific advances and discoveries by intramural scientists: protein fragments protect and stimulate retinal neurons; genetic risk factors for rare childhood cancer; many patients change their mind about receiving secondary genomic findings; ancient viruses, bacteria, and host immune system participate in multi-kingdom dialog that controls both tissue homeostasis and inflammation; resting brain replays new skills; and an antibody that’s effective against malaria infection.
How Its Architecture Informs Us of the Past and Present
BY LEANNE LOW, NIAID
Once referred to (unofficially) as the “U.S. Lunatic Asylum,” St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast Washington, D.C., established in 1855, remains open, welcoming and helping patients with serious and persistent mental illnesses. Most people, however, are unaware of the numerous changes the hospital has undergone both in landscape and in medical practice.
Creative Activities Can Reduce Stress and Enhance Work Performance
BY ERICA WYNNE-JONES, NIAID
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us turned to creative activities to provide comfort and entertainment. Some people took on activities that were completely new to them, such as baking, which led to many spectacular pandemic baking fails shared on social media, including deflated sourdough, burnt messes, and fused megacookies. No matter the final outcome, the process of undertaking creative activities can have a positive influence on mental health.
NEWS FROM AND ABOUT THE SCIENTIFIC INTEREST GROUPS
Three new SIGS: The Resilience Research Scientific Interest Group was established to advance resilience research by fostering communication, collaboration, and the sharing of resources; the Biomedical Engineering Scientific Interest Group seeks to fill a current void in bioengineering interest and organization within the broader NIH community; and the Innovation-Driven Enhancements for Advancement provides a platform for the development of creative ideas through the exchange of information among NIH employees who have training and/or an interest in leadership, management, or business acumen.