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Home > Publications > Director's Reports > February, 2005 Index    

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

Staff Highlights

Honors and Awards

The following NIDA staff members received awards at a ceremony held at the Neuroscience Center in September 2004:


Individual Awards:
Ming L. Shih, Ph.D., CCTN
Redonna Chandler, Ph.D., DESPR
Kevin Conway, Ph.D., DESPR
Elizabeth Ginexi, Ph.D., DESPR
Larry A. Seitz, Ph.D., DESPR
Joni Rutter, Ph.D., DBNBR
Paul Schnur, Ph.D., DBNBR
Hirsch D. Davis, M.A., DPMCDA
Steven R. Oversby, Psy.D., DPMCDA
Moo Park, Ph.D., DPMCDA
Amy Hauck Newman, Ph.D., IRP
Loretta Beuchert, OEA
Lyle K. Furr, OEA
Diana K. Souder, OEA
Nancy A. Hurd, OPRM
Gloria J. Lester, OPRM
Mary C. Mayhew, OSPC
Lucinda L. Miner, Ph.D., OSPC
Denise Pintello, M.S.W., Ph.D., OSPC
Ana B. Staton, MPA, OSPC

Group Awards:
DESPR Administrative Staff

Ann R. Hutzler
Roxie A. Brown
Debra L. Yarrick
Elaine Solano
Elizabeth Cooper

DESPR Health Disparities Workgroup:
Aria Crump, Sc.D.
Arnold Mills, M.S.W.
James Colliver, Ph.D.
William Cartwright, Ph.D.

Co-Chairs NIDA's Neuroscience Consortium:
Rita Liu, Ph.D., OEA
Cathrine Sasek, Ph.D., OSPC

DBNBR's Support Group:
Christie L. Baxter
Amira H. Debbas
Douglas M. Janes
Jessica E. Webster
Joyce Williams

Management Analysis and Services Branch:
Suzanne Cole
David Daubert
Chanvadey Nhim
Traci Pelan
Donna Tolson
Bridget McDonald
Montrue Nelson
Sharon Goon
Davey Jones

NIDA APA Planning Committee:
Timothy P. Condon, Ph.D., OD/OSPC
Wilson M. Compton, Ph.D., DESPR
Dorynne J. Czechowicz, Ph.D., DCNDBT
Joseph Frascella, Ph.D., DCNDBT
Meyer D. Glantz, M.D., DESPR
Steven J. Grant, Ph.D., DCNDBT
Jagjitsingh H. Khalsa, Ph.D., DPMCDA
Ivan D. Montoya, Ph.D., DPMCDA
Lisa S. Onken, Ph.D., DCNDBT
Nancy S. Pilotte, Ph.D., DBNBR
Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D., DBNBR
David Shurtleff, Ph.D., DBNBR
Vincent L. Smeriglio, Ph.D., DCNDBT
Elliot A. Stein, Ph.D., IRP
Jack B. Stein, Ph.D., DESPR
Betty Tai, Ph.D., CCTN
Donald R. Vereen, Jr., M.D., OD
Francis J. Vocci, Jr., Ph.D., DPMCDA
Naimah Z. Weinberg, M.D., DESPR
Cora L. Wetherington, Ph.D., DBNBR
Michelle M. Person, OSPC
Jan W. Lipkin, OSPC
Joan D. Nolan, OSPC
Beverly Y. Jackson, OSPC
Robin M. Mackar, OSPC
Lucinda L. Miner, Ph.D., OSPC
Jane Smither-Holland, OSPC
Susan R.B. Weiss, Ph.D., OSPC

NIDA DEA Museum Exhibit Group:
Jan W. Lipkin, OSPC
Joan D. Nolan, OSPC
Beverly Jackson, OSPC
Sheryl A. Massaro, OSPC
Susan R. B. Weiss, Ph.D., OSPC
Cathrine A. Sasek, Ph.D., OSPC
Robin M. Mackar, OSPC
Lucinda L. Miner, Ph.D., OSPC
Gayathri J. Dowling, Ph.D., OSPC

NIDA Extramural Support Staff:
Nancy B. Sorrell, CCTN
Roxie A. Brown, DESPR
Elaine Solano, DESPR
Elizabeth Cooper, DESPR
Debra L. Yarrick, DESPR
Ann R. Hutzler, DESPR
Margaret A. Montgomery, DBNBR
Douglas M. Janes, DBNBR
Jessica E. Webster, DBNBR
LaJuan B. Whitten, DPMCDA
Grace E. Anochie, DPMCDA
Harriet McGregor, DPMCDA
Heidi E. Lawrenz, DPMCDA
Veronica Holland-Lawrence
Charlotte S. Annan, OD
Annie Joseph, OEA
Vivian G. Chiu, OEA
Marilyn D. Thomas, OEA
Sandy I. Solomon, OEA
Angela Y. Benjamin, OEA
Mark S. Lombardi, OPRM
Tu C. Phan, OPRM

Rosemary C. Pettis
Pamela L. Oliver


Gary P. Fleming, J.D., OPRM


Janice Carico, IRP
Paul Na, IRP
Barton Weick, IRP
Ahmed Elkashef, M.D., DPMCDA
Edwina Smith, DPMCDA
Kesinee Nimit, M.D., OEA

Other Staff Honors and Awards

Dr. Rao S. Rapaka, Ph.D, was the recipient of the 2004, Research Achievement Award for DRUG DESIGN and DISCOVERY. This award is given once in every two years and includes a plaque and $2000 cash award (which Dr. Rapaka, as a NIDA employee could not accept). The award is given to researchers who have made fundamental contributions in the specified area. Dr. Rapaka's citation reads:

Dr. Rao S. Rapaka, Ph.D, Chief, Chemistry & Physiological Systems Research Branch, NIDA, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Rapaka made seminal contributions in several areas of pharmaceutical research, including the design of novel peptide analogues and peptidomimetics, the development of angiotensin analogues, the design of peptides derived from collagen and elastin, conformational studies of peptides, the establishment of structure-activity relationships, the development of strategies for the synthesis of racemization-free peptides, and studies on structural aspects of drug-receptor interactions and enzyme-substrate interactions. He is the author of over 100 publications and of over 20 research monographs and workshop proceedings, and has organized over 70 national and international scientific symposia and workshops. He promoted research on the discovery of neuronal, endogenous ligands and on their medicinal chemistry, with particular emphasis on neuropeptides, opioid peptides and cannabinoids. He is an AAPS Fellow and has participated in a number of activities related to the AAPS, including serving as Chair of the MNPC Section and as an associate editor for "Pharmaceutical Research" for the medicinal and natural products chemistry section. He received a number of national and international awards, including several NIDA and NIH awards and the Michael J. Morrison Award for Best Research Administrator. Dr.Rapaka also promotes the development of emerging areas of research and of novel technologies such as proteomics, metabolomics/metabonomics, pharmacogenomics and toxicokinetics. He is currently promoting the "Lipidomics" area and organized the first meeting on this important, emerging field in Washington DC and the Second International Meeting on Lipidomics, held in Paestum, Italy.

Ahmed Elkashef, M.D., Chief, Clinical Medical Branch, Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse received the Public Health Service Commendation Medal for his work in establishing a relapse prevention paradigm for clinical trials.

Pat Smith, RNBC, M.S., Clinical Trials Specialist-Nurse in the Clinical Medical Branch, Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse received the Public Health Service Commendation Medal for managing the Methamphetamine Clinical Trials Group.

Elizabeth Lambert of DESPR's Epidemiology Research Branch is the new Chair of DESPR's HIV/AIDS Workgroup.

Dr. Amy Newman was invited to be a member of the Editorial Board of Current Medicinal Chemistry.

Dr. Amy Newman was invited to present at the NIH Technology Showcase, UMD System, Shady Grove Hospital in October 2004.

Dr. Amy Newman was elected Chair of the NIDA Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Quality of Life Advisory Committee.

Dr. Peter Grundt, IRP, received an NIH FARE Travel Award for FY05.

Dr. Marilyn Huestis, IRP, serves on the US Anti-doping Research Advisory Board, which oversees research projects and grants on new analytical methods, ethics in sport, and establishment of anti-doping policy.

Staff Changes

Dr. Jacques Normand has been selected as the Director of AIDS Research, in the Office of the Director, NIDA. Dr. Normand's selection follows an extensive national search and the assistance of a committee of outside experts. Since joining NIDA in 1997, Dr. Normand has served as Acting Chief, Community Research Branch in the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (DESPR), Acting Chief, Epidemiology Research Branch in DESPR, and more recently, Chief, Population Based Health Intervention (PBHI) Unit in the Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse (CAMCODA). As Chief of the PBHI Unit, Dr. Normand was responsible for planning, developing, and administering a national and international research program focusing on behavioral, social, and health consequences of drug abuse related to HIV/AIDS and other medical consequences. Prior to joining NIDA, he served as a Senior Associate with CSR and a Study Director with the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Normand received his Ph.D. in psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1982 and has a long-standing interest in epidemiology, prevention and HIV/AIDS research.

Ruben Baler, Ph.D. joined the Science Policy Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications in October 2004 as a Health Science Administrator. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from the University of Miami in 1993. Before arriving at NIDA, he worked at the National Institute of Mental Health as a Principal Investigator in the Unit on Temporal Gene Expression, conducting basic research on the molecular basis of circadian gene expression in vertebrates. His publications have focused on gene promoter architecture and the determination of tissue and temporal specificity afforded by discrete clusters of cis-acting elements.

Geoffrey Laredo joined the Office of the Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications in October 2004 as a Senior Advisor to the Director, OSPC. Before coming to NIDA, he spent a year working for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Subcommittee on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. At NIDA, Geoff will focus on a variety of intergovernmental issues and projects. Mr. Laredo has significant federal experience in the substance abuse field. Prior to his staff role in the Senate, he was the Director of the Office of Policy and Public Liaison at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health. Before being named Director, he was a senior analyst and public liaison officer in that office, focusing on collaborative activities with national groups, associations, and scientific societies across the alcohol research, prevention, and treatment field. Prior to joining NIAAA in 1996, Mr. Laredo was a senior analyst in the Office of the Administrator at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and was responsible for the planning and policy analysis of prevention and treatment activities of SAMHSA, with particular emphasis on alcohol and other drug policy. His work also emphasized the interface and linkages between alcohol and drug abuse and criminal justice communities. Geoff began his federal career as a program specialist with the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice. During his tenure with NIJ, he worked in a number of program areas, including drugs and crime issues.

Genevieve deAlmeida-Morris joined the Science Policy Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications in November 2004. She will be taking the lead working on many of the performance measurement and evaluation activities for the Institute, including serving as the lead in responding to Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) requests. Ms. deAlmeida-Morris had been serving as a Program Analyst, and most recently the Acting Chief, Office of Science Policy at the National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR). She has an M.S. in Program Planning and Evaluation from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in Economics from Georgetown. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree.

Jeng-Jong Pan (a.k.a. JJ) has just joined the CCTN. He will serve as the CTN Information Technology Specialist and Data Manager. For the past ten years, JJ has worked on data management to support scientific research projects, including health care database design and analysis. His professional experience includes software quality assurance, IT architecture, contracts, evaluation of data mining tools and data mining techniques, data management (integrity, consistency, accessibility, security and privacy), and evaluation of system performance, software development, and system integration. He also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in digital signal processing and data analysis. JJ has a PhD in Geophysics from the University of Connecticut. He comes to NIDA from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) where he served for about 5 years. He has been with the federal government since 1995 (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Social Security Administration and CMS). He has received numerous performance awards throughout his career.

Jagjitsingh Khalsa, Ph.D., was named Chief, Medical Consequences Branch, Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse, in October 2004. In this position he will be responsible for research on the medical consequences of drug abuse and co-occurring infections.

Margaret Ann Montgomery, R.N., M.S., Clinical Trials Specialist-Nurse, Clinical Medical Branch, Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse retired on November 1, 2004 after 24 years of service.


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings


Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

In Memoriam

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