The Interest Group Gazette

From Alzheimer's disease to zebra fish, NIH's interinstitute interest groups are continuing to extend their reach into nearly all realms of biomedical research. In the past few months, at least six new groups have sprung up to meet the seemingly boundless interests of the intramural research community.

Founded by a group of staff scientists at NCI in Frederick, the Cellular and Molecular Biotherapy Interest Group held an initial organizational meeting on Dec. 13. The group discussed ways of exploiting novel clinical findings at the basic research level, as well as ways of translating basic biological observations into clinical trials. The group plans to hold periodic seminars featuring intra- and extramural speakers, as well as an intramural retreat to foster the exchange of information about cellular and molecular biotherapy. For more information, contact John Ortaldo (fax: 301 846-1673; e-mail: Please include your e-mail address and/or fax number.

Organizers of the Alzheimer's Interest Group held an initial meeting on Dec. 7 to discuss the scope of their scientific interests in Alzheimer's disease as well as the format, frequency, time, and location of future meetings. The interest group will meet on the first Thursday of each month (or the second Thursday if there are scheduling problems) at 9:00-10:00 a.m. in Bldg. 36, Rm. 1B13. The hour long meeting will consist of original scientific presentations, discussions based on journal articles, and/or a general discussion on a specific topic. For more information, contact Gerald Ehrenstein at NINDS (fax: 496-8765; e-mail: Volunteers interested in giving presentations and suggesting topics are asked to respond by e-mail.

Another newcomer, the Breast Biology Interest Group (BBIG), kicked off its meeting schedule on Oct. 23 with presentations on cell-cycle regulation of BRCA1 by NCI's Jean Gudas and on molecular characterization of human premalignant lesions by NCI's Pat Steeg. The group, formed by NCI researchers to foster increased collaboration and cooperation among the many Washington-area scientists and clinicians interested in breast carcinogenesis, plans to meet on the fourth Monday of each month at 3 p.m. in Bldg. 10, Rm. 13S235B. Please note that the number posted outside the room is mistakenly labeled 13"F"235B. For more information, contact Steeg (phone: 496-9753; e-mail:, JoAnne Zujewski (phone: 402-0985; e-mail:, or Ken Cowan (phone: 496-4916; e-mail:

Jaylan Turkkan of NIDA's Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, in conjunction with the Health and Behavior Coordinating Committee, held a meeting on Dec. 15 to form the new Behavioral and Social Sciences Interest Group. Attendees discussed how the interest group can help coordinate research efforts not only within the intramural program, but also in the extramural program. For more information, contact Turkkan (phone: 443-1263; e-mail:

A newly formed Cytokine Interest Group is open to NIH staff whose research involves cytokines, lymphokines, chemokines, interferons, and growth factors. The group will sponsor four microsymposia per year, three on the Bethesda campus, and one in Frederick. The first symposium, focusing on TGF-ß, will be held on the Bethesda campus on Feb. 20 in the Natcher Building's auditorium, and a second symposium, focusing on chemokines, is scheduled for the spring and will be held in Frederick. A database of group members, including information about their research areas, is being generated and will be made available to the NIH community. NIMH's Mark Doherty and Roel de Rijh are also heading efforts to build a home page for the interest group on the World Wide Web - a page that should be accessible sometime in January. To join the group or get more information, contact Howard Young at NCI (e-mail: or Alan Sher at NIAID (e-mail:

The Human Retrovirus Interest Group will meet on the third Wednesday of every month from noon to 1 p.m. in the Natcher Bldg., Conference Rm. B. Discussions will focus mainly on events in the nuclei of infected host cells, such as integration, transcription, and splicing. For more information, contact Fatah Kashanchi at NCI (phone: 496-0987; fax: 496-4951; e-mail:

- Lorna Heartley

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