T H E   N I H    C A T A L Y S T      M A R C H  –   A P R I L   1999

Joseph Curtis
NICHD's Hamid Khan and Dorothy McKelvin
Arlyn Garcia-Perez
During a panel discussion February 11 in Lipsett Auditorium on the importance of diversity in the biomedical community, Joseph Curtis (left), a former postdoc in the lab of NCI’s Ira Pastan, said that African-Americans are "even less well represented outside academia" than within it and therefore have a "chance to make a huge impression." Now a Maryland-based independent consultant to small companies seeking FDA approval for diagnostics, Curtis said he is often the "first African-American [his clients in the international biotechnology community] have ever seen." NICHD’s Hamid Khan (center, left) cited two myths that block acceptance of some women and minority scientists: that they are too "laid back" or nonproductive and that they "can’t communicate" because they have accents or speak softly. NHLBI senior investigator, Arlyn Garcia-Perez (right), who insisted she has "never spoken softly," told the audience that "NIH is perceived as unfriendly" to minority scientists. Making the community more diverse, she said, would strengthen it. Garcia-Perez joined the Office of Intramural Research, OD, this year as assistant director—C.H.



The Mitochondrion Research Society (MRS) has been formed to foster interdisciplinary collaborations to advance understanding of mitochondrial biology and the role of mitochondria in such areas as aging, cancer, toxicology, and neurobiology. MRS was founded by Steve Zullo, NIMH, coordinator of the Mitochondria Interest Group (MIG) at NIH and Keshav Singh of the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center (JHOC). Membership is currently free. To join, send your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and research interests to: Cindy Morin, JHOC, 600 North Wolfe Street/Room No. 2-121, Baltimore, MD, 21287, U.S.A.; fax: 410-955-8780. Info can also be found at <http://wwwlecb.ncifcrf.gov/~zullo/migDB/MRS.html>.


The sixth annual NIH-wide Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) 2000 competition will again provide recognition for the outstanding scientific research performed by intramural postdoctoral fellows. Winners of FARE awards will each receive a $1000 stipend to use for presenting their work at a meeting in the United States. Fellows who apply to FARE submit an abstract of their research; abstracts are then peer reviewed in a blinded study section. The award must be used between October 1, 1999, and September 30, 2000. The FARE 2000 competition is open to postdoctoral IRTAs, visiting fellows, and other fellows with less than 5 years total postdoctoral experience in the NIH intramural research program. Pre-IRTAs currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program may also compete. Visiting scientists and fellows must not have been tenured at their home institution.

Questions about eligibility should be addressed to your institute’s scientific director. Fellows are asked to submit their application and abstract with an online application available from <ftp://helix.nih.gov/felcom/index.html>. Applications will be accepted from May 3–June 1, 1999 (12:00 noon E.S.T.). Winners will be announced by September 1999. Questions about FARE 2000 should be directed to <FARE2000@box-f.nih.gov> or to your institute’s Fellows Committee representative. Information is also available on the Fellows Committee site. FARE 2000 is sponsored by the NIH Fellows Committee, the scientific directors, the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the NIH Office of Education. The FARE 2000 award is funded by the scientific directors and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health.

Last year’s FARE 1999 was very successful; 666 abstracts were submitted, and 130, or 19.5 percent, were funded. The FARE 2000 competition will provide an even higher level of funding—25 percent of applicants will receive a $1000 award. Through the month of June, sets of related winning FARE 1999 posters are being displayed outside the Visitor’s Information Center in Building 10 on Wednesday afternoons, in conjunction with the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture series.


NHLBI investigators have developed a new protein-purification method—centrifugal precipitation chromatography—that uses ammonium sulfate and potassium phosphate buffer only (no solid support). They have used the method to purify and concentrate monoclonal antibodies—immunoglobin M (IgM)—against mast cells and think it may be equally successful in purifying either IgM or IgG from a culture medium or an ascitic fluid.

Because they are quite interested in testing the capability of the method in purifying antibodies and other proteins, the NHLBI researchers are putting themselves at the service of other intramural researchers with problems purifying antibodies. Anyone with such a problem should contact Yoichiro Ito, who can be found in Building 10, Room 7N322, and can also be reached by phone at 496-1210 and by fax at 402-3404.


Seated (left to right): Marjorie Garvey, Raphael Schiffmann, Joshua Kouri; standing (left to right): Gabor Illei, Joseph Hoxworth, Richard Messman, Douglas Shaffer, Kara Sovik, Irini Sereti, Susanne Goldstein. (Not pictured: Salman Azhar, Richard Nahin, Jorge Tavel, George Wittenberg)

What makes a good clinical researcher? What basic tools do researchers need to translate what seems promising at the bench into a new therapy at the bedside? Research design, statistical and decision analysis, research ethics, project management–what role does each play in the conduct of a solid clinical trial?

Clinical fellows and other health professionals at NIH have a unique venue for exploring answers to those questions, thanks to a cooperative training program between the NIH Clinical Center and the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. The training culminates in a Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Research conferred by Duke.

"In the past, techniques of clinical research were passed from a seasoned mentor to a willing student. In today’s research arena, that’s not enough," observes John Gallin, Clinical Center director and a prime mover of the Duke-NIH collaboration. The clinical researcher, he says, needs a thorough grounding in the clinical research process.

Duke University initiated its Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Research program more than a dozen years ago to provide that grounding and expertise. The collaboration with NIH marks the university’s first efforts at making the program more widely available. Students here at NIH attend classes by way of videoconferencing.

Other classes are taught onsite by adjunct faculty, such as Ezekiel Emanuel, chief of the CC’s Department of Clinical Bioethics, who teaches "Ethical and Regulatory Aspects of Human Subjects Research." For the upcoming academic year, Emanuel will be joined by Art Atkinson, who will offer an elective in "Principles of Clinical Pharmacology."

The program’s first class of 14 students was admitted last September. This spring, four of the students will complete the required course work for the program. Gallin anticipates an expanded class in the 1999–2000 academic year and welcomes applications from both intramural and extramural divisions.

The degree program requires 24 units of graded work plus a research and thesis project, which carries 12 units of credit. "The program’s design," Gallin says, "encourages the meshing of clinical and academic training. It can be completed in two 16-week sessions, although degree-seekers typically spread the course work over two years."

Applications are currently being accepted for the 1999–2000 academic year and are available in the NIH Office of Education, Building 10, Room 1C129. All participants must be formally admitted to the training program by the Duke University School of Medicine. The deadline for receipt of applications is April 15, 1999. Applicants who have been accepted into the program will be notified by July 1, 1999. Questions about the program may be directed to William Wilkinson, program director, at


For more information regarding course work and tuition costs for the 1999–2000 academic year, visit the program’s web site.




The signs are now posted all over campus: "Smoke-Free Area" signs extend to certain outdoor areas what has been a standing prohibition against using lighted tobacco products inside NIH buildings. These outdoor areas include all building entrances and exits, air-intake ducts, loading docks, covered parking garages, and designated courtyards.

The prohibition is in accordance with an executive order issued in 1997 mandating that all federal agencies protect employees and visitors from the health risks of environmental tobacco smoke. An updated NIH Smoking Policy, crafted by an NIH committee composed of smoking and nonsmoking employees and signed by NIH Director Harold Varmus last May, can be found on the web.

The policy applies to all NIH employees, other federal employees, and members of the public who are working in or visiting facilities owned, leased, or controlled by NIH.

Further, NIH strongly encourages and supports employees who want to break the smoking habit. Anyone interested in smoking cessation programs may contact the NIH Employee Assistance Program at (301) 496-3164.


The Veterinary Resources Program Pharmacy, in Building 14A, offers one-stop shopping for veterinary and human over-the-counter or prescription products. Inventory and instructions for ordering are on the web. You can also hot-link to this site from the VRP Home Page/Description of Services/Pharmacy


Small laboratory animals used by NIH intramural scientists will soon be able to be purchased online.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Veterinary Resources Program (VRP), CIT, and NIMH—and numerous consultants from NIH Intramural Animal Programs—VRP is piloting the Central Animal Procurement System, or CAPS.

CAPS will replace the current cumbersome paper process and be accessible via PCs or DELPRO terminals. Linked to the ADB and Central Accounting System, it will automatically bill ICs and generate data to enable prompt payment of vendors. The system has been designed with built-in levels of authority for investigators, IC (animal-procurement) approving officials, animal facility managers, IC animal facility receiving technicians, animal-program directors, VRP animal-procurement staff, the Office of Financial Management/Accounts Payable, and the NHLBI Contracts Operations Branch Servicing Center.

As soon as the kinks are worked out in the pilot—with NIMH—the remaining NIH animal programs will be brought online. It’s anticipated that CAPS will be fully operational in late spring or early summer 1999.

—Pam Dressell, ORS

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