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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2005



Staff Highlights

Dr. Timothy P. Condon, Deputy Director, NIDA, received the 2004 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Professionals. Each year, the President recognizes and celebrates a small group of career Senior Executives with the Presidential Rank Award for exceptional long-term accomplishments. Winners of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.

Dr. Jag Khalsa, Chief, Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse Branch, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at the 11th Conference of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology (SNIP), held in Clear Water, FL, April 6-10, 2005. The organization presented the award to Dr. Khalsa in recognition of his outstanding service and commitment to the mission of the Society.

Dr. Cora Lee Wetherington, DBNBR, has been selected as one of the recipients of the American Psychological Association (APA) Meritorious Research Service Commendation. This commendation was initiated by the APA Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) to recognize outstanding contributions to psychological science through service within the federal government in program development and research facilitation. Dr. Wetherington is being honored for her leadership in the areas of research on women and gender and her contributions to bringing gender issues to the forefront of drug abuse research at NIDA and NIH. Dr. Wetherington will be honored formally at the December 2005 meeting of APA's Board of Directors and an announcement of the commendation will be printed in an upcoming issue of the APA Science Directorate's Psychological Science Agenda newsletter and on the Science Directorate web site.

Dr. Allison Chausmer, DBNBR, was invited to participate in the Author's Meeting for the 2006 Surgeon General's Report, "How Tobacco Causes Disease — The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Tobacco-Attributable Disease".

Dr. Allison Chausmer, DBNBR, was invited to participate in the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health.

Dr. Nemeth-Coslett continues to serve as VP of Education for Executive Toastmasters. This year, she completed her Advanced Toastmasters Bronze (ATM-B) level, achieved level of Competent Leader (CL), and earned her second Competent Toastmasters (CTM) award.

Dr. Joseph Sanchez, Postdoctoral Fellow, Development and Plasticity Section, Cellular Neurobiology Research Branch, IRP, is the recipient of 2005 American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair Travel Award for his abstract entitled "Mesencephalic Cell Line Development using SV40 T antigen Fragments T155c and T155g" which will be presented at the annual meeting in Clearwater, Florida, April 28, - May 2, 2005.

Dr. Joseph Sanchez is also the recipient of the Travel Award for the upcoming 9th International Conference on Neural Transplantation and Repair for his abstract entitled "Characterization of Cell Lines Generated from Rat Mesencephalon using T155C and T155G" to be held June 8-11, 2005, in Taipei, Taiwan.

Eric Zatman, Contract Review Administrator, OEA, Representing Executive Toastmasters, won local and area competitions in recent speech contests.

Staff Changes

Gayathri (Gaya) Dowling, Ph.D. will serve as the Deputy Branch Chief for the Science Policy Branch (SPB) in the Office of Science Policy and Communications (OSPC). Gaya joined SPB in November, 2003, as a Health Scientist Administrator and has been instrumental in our work on Substance Abuse in Aging Populations, Prescription Drug Abuse, and a variety of other projects. Prior to coming to NIDA, she was a Program Director in the Office of Minority Health and Research at NINDS where she managed a portfolio of research and education programs promoting diversity in the neuroscience research workforce. She completed her doctorate in Neurobiology at the University of California, Davis, conducted research at the Parkinson's Institute studying the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in muscle cell degeneration and neuroprotection, and subsequently served as a Scientific Review Administrator at the NIMH.

Dr. Beverly Pringle, DESPR, has been named Chief of the Services Research Branch.

Dr. Redonna Chandler, DESPR, has been named Deputy Chief of the Services Research Branch.

Dr. Diane Lawrence joined the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research (DBNBR) in the Functional Neuroscience Research Branch in April 2005. Dr. Lawrence received her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester Neuroscience Program, and was funded by a NIDA training grant to study opioid receptor expression on T cells, under the direction of Jean Bidlack. After a short postdoctoral fellowship at Temple University to gain additional experience with in vivo models of immunology and pharmacology, she shifted her focus back to neuroscience. She began a second postdoctoral fellowship at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she studied infectious diseases and immune responses within the brain using both transgenic mouse model systems and neurons in culture. For the past 5 years, Diane has been a research fellow in the NINDS intramural program, in the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience. Her work is focused on viral infection of the brain, particularly HIV-1, and the role of inflammation in neuropathology. She has been working with a cell culture system of human neural progenitor cells that can be differentiated toward astrocyte or neuronal phenotypes.

Diane has also worked in the extramural division of NINDS, where she was on detail as a program director, an SRA, and did a rotation in Office of Communications and Public Liaison. More recently, Diane was on detail with CSR where she managed the Mitochondria and Neurodegeneration SEP for the NDBG study section in MDCN. In addition to research and administrative work, Diane founded a postdoctoral association at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and served as the Basic Science Co-Chair for the NIH Fellows Committee for one year (following in the footsteps of Christine Colvis and Joni Rutter). She also serves on the board of the Bethesda Chapter of the Association for Women in Science.

Dr. Shakeh Kaftarian, DESPR, was invited by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to provide guidance to the Deputy Director of ONDCP and the Acting Administrator of the Drug Free Communities (DFC) program in the design of a national evaluation study of the DFC program, as well as the administration of the DFC grant program across partner organizations (i.e., SAMHSA/CSAP and CADCA Institute). During her six-month detail to ONDCP, Dr. Kaftarian assisted with designing a scientifically sound national cross-site evaluation project; revising and strengthening the theoretical and methodological components of the DFC program; promoting conceptually and technically complementary work across ONDCP and its partners; and improving the quality and delivery of technical assistance and training to DFC program grantees.

Dr. Khursheed Asghar, OEA, has retired after 32 years of government service of which over 24 years were served in NIDA. He served as an SRA, as a pharmacologist and program officer in DBNBR (formerly known as Division of Basic Research). He was Chief of the Extramural Policy and Project Review Branch, Office of Extramural Program Review and after its reorganization in 1990, he served as the Chief of Basic Sciences Review Branch in OEA until retiring on April 30, 2005. Prior to joining NIDA in 1981, he served as a pharmacologist in the FDA and as a Health Scientist Administrator in NINDS.


Index

Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings

Publications

Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

In Memoriam



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