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National Institute on Drug Abuse

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse

May, 1998


Staff Highlights


Honors and Awards


Dr. Charles Sharp, Special Assistant to the Director of the Division of Basic Research, recently received the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Distinguished Federal Employees Award in recognition of his service in promoting the public's health. Dr. Sharp was recognized for his significant contribution to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) program development. Dr. Sharp developed and continues to be involved in NIDA's training and fellowship program which supports the development of pre- and post-doctoral fellows in scientific areas related to drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Sharp initiated NIDA's participation in the annual Society of Neuroscience meeting exhibit booth where information describing NIDA's programs is distributed to interested neuroscientists. Dr. Sharp began and continues NIDA's inhalant program, one outcome of which has been the important discovery that toluene exposure results in auditory nerve damage. As an offshoot of the inhalant program, Dr. Sharp began the HIV/AIDS research program at NIDA and, importantly, organized seminars to teach NIDA staff about current concepts in immunology and neuropsychoimmunology. As a recipient of this award, Dr. Sharp was given a Certificate of Appreciation and a gift and his name and picture were displayed at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield exhibit during Public Service Recognition Week on the National Mall. Public Service Recognition Week is sponsored by the Public Employees Roundtable and the President's Council on Management Improvement.


Staff Changes


Dr. Susan Coyle, DEPR/Community Research Branch, has joined the Office of Extramural Program Review, in the position of Chief of the Clinical, Epidemiological, and Applied Sciences Research Branch.

Ms. Kimberly Crown has accepted a position as a Program Assistant in OEPR and will assist in the coordination of extramural policy implementation, staff training, and policy development.

Ms. Flair Lindsey became a Program Assistant in NIDA's Special Populations Office in March 1998.

Dr. Minda Lynch joined the staff of the Behavioral Sciences Research Branch, Division of Basic Research as a Health Scientist Administrator in March 1998. Dr. Lynch moved to NIDA from an Intramural Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Syracuse, New York, where she ran a laboratory research program in neuropsychopharmacology for the past 13 years.

Ms. Deborah Musumeci has recently joined NIDA as a Secretary in the Basic Neurobiology and Biological Systems Research Branch of the Division of Basic Research.

Dr. Amrat Patel, formerly with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), joined NIDA's Medications Development Division as a Health Scientist Administrator on April 12, 1998.

Dr. Herbert Weingartner, former Chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Branch (Intramural) at the NIAAA, has assumed a detail, effective April 26, 1998, to work with NIDA's Behavioral Sciences Research Branch, DBR to aid in building an extramural research program in cognitive sciences.


Grantee Honors


Dr. Thomas J. Dishion of the Oregon Social Learning Center was the recipient of a NIDA MERIT Award. Dr. Dishion was recognized for his study titled "Understanding and Preventing Adolescent Drug Abuse". This includes (1) a follow-up of a sample of high-risk youth at ages 18-20 who participated in the Adolescent Transitions Program (ATP) to determine consequences of substance abuse on development during adulthood and (2) conducting prevention trials with families to test the impact of ATP in improving parenting skills and reducing drug use.

Dr. Marian Fischman of Columbia University is the recipient of the 1998 Solvay Award. The award is given by Solvay Pharmaceuticals and administered by Division 28 of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Peter Schiller of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal was a co-recipient of the 1998 Vincent du Vigneaud award. Dr. Schiller has made significant contributions to the design of biologically active peptide hormones and neurotransmitters. Dr. Schiller and colleagues developed several novel approaches to peptide and peptidomimetic design, and discovered several peptide analogs with unique biological properties. Some of his contributions include his work on the use of conformational constraints to improve biological potency and selectivity, development of TIPP-related peptides and the development of opioids with mixed opioid receptor agonist- opioid receptor antagonist activities that have potential to be useful analgesics. Dr. Schiller was presented the award at the Gordon Research Conference, held February 15-19, 1998, in Ventura, CA.

Dr. Richard L. Spoth of Iowa State University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology received a NIDA MERIT Award. Dr. Spoth's "Rural Youth and Family Competencies Building Project" will conduct a longitudinal, controlled study of a theory-based, comprehensive intervention targeting rural youth and families. The intervention will be implemented via the cooperative extension service when students are in 7th grade. Family- and peer-related risk and protective factors will be evaluated.


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