T H E   N I H   C A T A L Y S T     J A N U A R Y  –  F E B R U A R Y  2003



Two doctoral programs that partner NIH with either Oxford or Cambridge University in the United Kingdom are entering their second full year. The NIH-Oxford University Scholars in Biomedical Research Program and the NIH-Cambridge University Health Sciences Research Scholars Program offer students Intramural Research Training Awards to earn a D.Phil. degree in biomedical and health research.

Award recipients participate in an interdisciplinary training program and a collaborative research project under the joint mentorship of intramural faculty of two institutions: the NIH and either Oxford or Cambridge University. Participants spend time in laboratories at each institution as they progress towards their degrees.

The projects of last year’s inaugural class spanned a range of disciplines that included neurobiology, genetics, structural biology, molecular biology, immunology, cancer biology, and clinical sciences.

To Be a Mentor

Intramural investigators in all institutes are eligible to collaborate in the training of a scholar (including those who are not stationed at the Bethesda campus). To serve as a mentor, the investigator must be at the rank of tenure-track or above and supervising an independent research program .

The first step is to create a proposal for a collaborative research project suitable for a doctoral student. This is done in conjunction with eligible investigators at Oxford or Cambridge. The next step is to send a one-paragraph description of the collaborative project(s), with links to the web pages and/or e-mail addresses of mentor and overseas collaborators, to Andre Nussenzweig.

These investigator-initiated projects will then be advertised to scholars, who are encouraged to discuss them directly with the PIs. It is also possible for a scholar to create a course of study with a particular mentor in mind and initiate contact with that person.

To Be a Scholar

To be eligible for this program, a student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university. All applicants are expected to have had undergraduate preparation in biology, chemistry (both inorganic and organic), physics, and mathematics. Candidates should demonstrate outstanding academic performance and promise for a career in biomedical research. Previous laboratory research experience is also a strong qualification for this program. Students already enrolled in medical schools, as well as college graduates interested in pursuing a D.Phil., are encouraged to apply.

There is also an Advanced Scholar track for second- or third-year graduate students in the biomedical sciences at Oxford or Cambridge that supports them for additional years of graduate work to carry out research in an intramural laboratory at NIH.

For more information on the Advanced Scholar track or for other questions relating to the Oxford and Cambridge programs, contact coordinator Michael Lenardo.

More information on these and other doctoral programs can be found on the Graduate Partnerships Programs web page.


Applications for the 2003–2004 NIH-Duke Training Program in Clinical Research and the University of Pittsburgh Training in Clinical Research Program are available in Building 10, Room B1L403. The deadline for applying is March 1, 2003.


The NIH-Duke collaboration, implemented in 1998, is designed primarily for physicians and dentists who desire formal training in the quantitative and methodological principles of clinical research. Offered via videoconference at the Clinical Center, the program allows the integration of a student’s academic coursework with his or her clinical training.

Academic credit for the program may be applied toward satisfying the degree requirement for a Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Research from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.

Applicants who have been accepted into the program will be notified by July 1, 2003. For additional information regarding course work and tuition costs, please refer to the program website.

Queries may be sent by e-mail.


The University of Pittsburgh Training in Clinical Research Program is designed for Ph.D.s and allied health professionals (such as pharmacists and nurses) to gain the knowledge and skills required to conduct clinical investigation, as well as more extensive knowledge of a specific area of concentration. Physicians and dentists are also eligible for this program.

Participants can opt to receive a Certificate in Clinical Research (15 credits) or a Master of Science in Clinical Research (30 credits) from the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information, visit the program website or e-mail. Successful applicants will be notified by May 29, 2003. Enrollment in both these programs is limited. Prospective participants should consult with their institute or center regarding the official training nomination procedure.




Advances in computer technology are providing scientists with the quantitative means to analyze, model, and simulate complex biological processes. NIGMS is presenting the following seminar series, featuring scientists on the cutting edge of computational approaches to biological systems:

February 27: Albert-László Barabási, University of Notre Dame, "Hierarchical network structure of protein-protein and metabolic interactions"

March 27: Bernhard Palsson, University of California, San Diego, "Bringing genomes to life: The use of genome scale in silico models"

May 29: Richard Young and David Gifford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "Regulation of genome expression in living cells"

June 5: Leslie Loew, University of Connecticut Health Center, "The virtual cell project"

All seminars will be held in Building 10, in the Lipsett Auditorium from 11:00 a.m. to noon. For information and accommodations, call Kevin Lauderdale at 301-451-6446.

NIH and the National Science Foundation are co-sponsoring a symposium on "Accelerating Mathematical-Biological Linkages" on February 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Rooms E1/E2 of the Natcher Conference Center (Building 45).

The symposium will highlight opportunities at the interface of mathematics and biology and encourage collaboration across that interface. Symposium sessions will address cell structure and function, multispecies systems, and bioinformatics and computational problems.

Joel Cohen, head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University, will deliver the keynote—"Mathematics Is Biology's Next Microscope . . . Only Better; Biology is Mathematics' Next Physics . . . Only Better."

The meeting is free, but attendance is limited to the first 150 registrants. Register online. For more information, contact John Whitmarsh (301-594-0828).



The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) is the NIA's largest clinical research program and a centerpiece for its studies of human aging. BLSA was launched in Baltimore in 1958, and since then has followed 3,002 participants through a total of 18,432 follow-up visits.

Healthy volunteers, of any age above 20, are recruited for the BLSA and then followed indefinitely through a series of evaluations of their health and aging.

In 2002, 582 subject completed tests of their physiology, biochemistry, psychology, nutrition, sociology, body composition, and health status. A consortium of scientists collects and analyzes the data from the study population, with the aim of characterizing normal and pathological aging.

The basic structure and goals of the BLSA will remain the same, but during the next year, BLSA will be making several important changes in assessment protocols and in the tests performed in the BLSA population.

This transition means that this is an excellent time for potential collaborators with good ideas to contact BLSA chief Luigi Ferrucci (see Recently Tenured profile) or another BLSA investigator. For info, see the BLSA website.


NIH is implementing a new performance management program that will replace the old performance "plans" with Performance Contracts. These contracts are one aspect of a new, results-focused corporate ("One-HHS") approach to performance management.

Covered Employees

n All NIH supervisors and managers who are promoted at two-grade intervals—GS-5 to GS-7, GS-7 to GS-9, etc.—will be placed on Performance Contracts. Executives were placed on contracts last year.

System Changes

n Both the old and new performance management systems use critical elements, BUT the contract approach places greater emphasis on results and measures. Accountability for performance is key.

n Managers at NIH will be asked to examine their mission and targeted outcomes, then determine with more specificity how those outcomes could be achieved.

n The new contract system focuses on outputs, which are very specific, measurable tasks that contribute to achieving outcomes.

n All the work performed by all NIH staff should be derived from broader goals and work performed by their supervisors. The "cascade" effect of activity is a hallmark of the contract approach.


n Developed by HHS, this system will be used throughout the Department and has a close relationship to the President’s Management Agenda, the Government Performance and Results Act, and other federal initiatives.

Next Steps

n The Performance Management and Recognition Branch, Division of Employee Relations and Training, NIH Office of Human Resources, will provide "hands-on" briefings to NIH Institutes. Executive officers will be responsible for contract implementation within the Institutes. Stay tuned for updates. n

Win Arias

Beginning January 7 and continuing to May 27, a weekly course on "Demystifying Medicine," primarily for Ph.D. students, will once again be offered. Postdoctoral fellows, staff physicians, and other students are also welcome to participate.

Building on the success of last year’s course, the goal is to aid in bridging the ever-increasing gap between advances in basic science and their application to human disease. The course is designed to demystify medicine for basic scientists through clinical presentations of patients, pathology, and relevant diagnostic and therapeutic advances linked to advances in basic biology.

There is no fee; however, registration is requested to avoid overcrowding. All sessions are held from 4:00–6:00 p.m. on either Tuesday or Thursday in the ground-floor auditorium of Building 50. For registration and further information, contact Win Arias.


Tuesday, January 7. Hepatitis C: virus and infection (Harvey Alter and Jake Liang)

Tuesday, January 14. HIV: virus and infection (Cliff Lane and John Coffin)

Thursday, January 23. Hospital-acquired infections: mechanisms and vaccines (David Henderson and John Robbins)

Thursday, January 30. Hepatocellular carcinoma: disease and mechanisms (Win Arias and Curtis Harris)

Tuesday, February 4. Multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases (Henry McFarland and colleagues)

Thursday, February 13. Parkinson’s disease (John Hardy and Mark Hallett)

Thursday, February 20. Aging: the process and mechanisms (Richard Hodes and J. Frederick Dice [Tufts])

Thursday, February 27. Atherosclerotic heart disease; cardiovascular imaging: advances (Bob Balaban and Andrew Arai)

Tuesday, March 4. Atherosclerotic heart diseases: mechanisms (Toren Finkel and Julio Chalela)

Tuesday, March 11. Cell transplantation: diabetes mellitus (David Harlan and Ronald Schwartz)

Thursday, March 20. Diabetes mellitus: stem cells and degenerative disease (Phil Gorden and Ron McKay)



Tuesday, March 25. Inflammatory bowel disease: mechanisms (Warren Strober and colleagues)

Tuesday, April 1. Space, Mars and bones (Jay Shapiro [NASA, USUHS]) and Pamela Robey)

Tuesday, April 8. Lysosomes: biology and diseases (Juan Bonifacino and Bill Gahl)

Thursday, April 17. ABC transporter diseases and intracellular trafficking (Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz and Win Arias)

Tuesday, April 22. Multidrug resistance in cancer (Michael Gottesman and Susan Bates)

Tuesday, April 29. Immunotherapy in cancer (Steven Rosenberg and Pierre Henkart)

Tuesday, May 6. Lymphoma: diseases and advances (Louis Staudt and Lyuba Varticovski)

Tuesday, May 13. Prostatic cancer (Marston Linehan and colleagues)

Thursday, May 22. Predicting disease: molecular advances (Lance Liotta and Francis Collins)

Tuesday, May 27. Finale: futures in biomedical research for PhDs (To be announced)


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