FOR THE NIH SETS
OFF ON SOLID GROUND
National Foundation for Biomedical Research, also known as the Foundation
for the National Institutes of Health, is living up to the promise
for which it was designed by Congress.
In the past year, the
Foundation has started to become a magnet for donations from private-sector
entities with an inherent interest in biomedical research, as well
as from individual scientists who cherish NIH.
$2 million have been made to the Clinical
Research Training Program (CRTP), the Foundation's first
major initiative in collaboration with NIH, which aims to expose
medical and dental students to the rigors and rewards of a career
in clinical research. The CRTP is accommodating nearly twice
as many students in its second academic year (19981999)
as it did the first time around, thanks to grants of $572,000
from Pfizer, Inc., to support 16 fellows, and $35,000 from the
Ruch family foundation in New York, in honor of Foundation Board
member Mrs.William McCormick Blair, Jr., to sponsor one student.
The Pfizer gift extends over two subsequent years for a total
commitment of $1.6 million.
has received two grants from the pharmaceutical industry in
support of the National Coalition for Health Professional Education
in Genetics$25,000 from Novartis and $10,000 from Pharma.
The Coalition includes more than 100 professional organizations,
government agencies, and consumer groups intent on ensuring
that health professionals systematically keep pace with advances
in human genetics. NHGRI, the American Medical Association,
and the American Nurses Association are among the coalition's
members. NHGRI director Francis Collins is a coalition co-chair.
Moreover, the Merck Company Foundation has given a grant of
25,000 to support the foundation's operations, a critical need
as it grows.
The family of virologist
Norman P. Salzman has established the Foundation's first endowed
memorial fundthe Norman P. Salzman Memorial Award in Virology,
which will be awarded on a regular basis to an outstanding young
postdoctoral investigator in virology at NIH. Salzman's research
career spanned 40 years, many of them spent at NIH's Bethesda
and Frederick campuses. The Salzman family has donated $15,000
to start the fund, and Salzman's colleagues and friends have
contributed another $15,000, for a total of $30,000 thus far.
Details about the award and the nominations process will be
forthcoming; the first award will be made in 1999.
For further information
regarding the Salzman award, the CRTP, or making a donation to the
Foundation, contact Anne Alexander,
executive director, Building 60, Room 152, 1 Cloister Court, Bethesda,
MD 20814; 301-402-5311.
Make multiple copies
of a slide if it is to be used more than once in a presentation.
Avoid flipping back and forth during your talk. When at all possible,
find out the size of the room you're talking in and preview your
slides in a similarly sized room. Stand in the back and look at
your own slides. Always mark your slides so you can easily
place them in a cassette. As you hold the slide up to light to see
it, make sure you can read it with your naked eye. Then mark the
lower left corner. When filling the cassette, the mark is
in the upper right corner.
I'd like to endorse,
with enthusiasm, Michael Gottesman's
emphasis on the role of group dynamics in optimizing today's biomedical
research environment ("Fostering Collaboration and Teamwork
at NIH," Catalyst, JulyAugust 1998, p. 2).
Not only is the creative
exchange among multidisciplinary teams of strategic importance in
conquering diseases, those teams are expanding beyond the usual
government-academia research collaborations to include corporate
partners, as "inventions" are viewed more as an integral
part than a byproduct of biomedical research. Indeed, public demands
for practical applications are often tied to funding authorizations.
Along with the advice that younger scientists working with more
senior investigators "work cooperatively but carve a distinctive
niche within the team," I would add that they acknowledge the
creative integrity of the contributions of their colleagues as well
as their own and readily credit the works of otherswhether
they are collaborators or notthat served as sparks to their
One hopes that young
investigators are introduced early in their NIH experience to mentors
who pay attention to group dynamics and foster teamwork in achieving
research goalsnot to mention strict adherence to ethical principles.
The value of the process and the people involved cannot be overstated.