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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > February, 2010 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - February, 2010

Staff Highlights

Staff Honors and Awards

Dr. Cheryl Anne Boyce, DCNBR, received the American Psychological Association (APA) Meritorious Research Service Citation at the December 4, 2009 APA Board Meeting in Washington, DC.

Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, received the Distinguished Service Award from ISAM for his contributions to the Society.

Dr. Harold Perl, CCTN, was elected as a Fellow in the American Psychological Association (APA) for his commitment and outstanding contribution in the field of psychology, effective September 2009.

Quandra Scudder, CCTN, along with Christie Espinoza, DBNBR, and the NIH Tracking and Inclusion Committee received the NIH Merit Award for outstanding achievements and dedication to the efforts to support the NIH tracking and inclusion policies and reporting. The 2009 OD Honor Awards Ceremony was held January 8, 2010.

Dr. Amy Newman, IRP, was elected to be a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in December 2009.

Dr. Amy Newman was invited to be a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the new journal ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Erin Karschner and Teresa Gray, doctoral students of Dr. Huestis' from the University of Maryland, received Educational Research Awards from the Society of Forensic Toxicology for their research on cannabinoids and in utero drug exposure, respectively.

Staff Changes

Phil Skolnick, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon.), a leader in the worlds of corporate and academic drug research, has been appointed Director of NIDA's Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse (DPMCDA). Prior to his assuming this position Dr. Skolnick was a research professor of psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. He served as Chief Scientific Officer at DOV Pharmaceutical, Inc., from 2001-2009. Under his leadership, DOV discovered and developed novel reuptake inhibitor platforms, including the first triple (norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine) reuptake inhibitor tested in humans. These compounds can be targeted to a wide variety of neuropsychiatric disorders ranging from depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to pain and obesity. At NIDA, he will lead a team that stimulates and conducts all phases of medications development from synthesis and screening of potential drug entities to preparing submissions for New Drug Applications. Dr. Skolnick's appointment marks a return to the NIH community. He first joined NIH in 1972 as a staff fellow under Dr. John W. Daly in the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Diseases (NIAMDD), now the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). After a brief stint as a senior investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, he returned to NIAMDD in 1978. In 1983, he became Chief of the Section on Neurobiology, and in 1986, Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience. After a celebrated career as an NIH neurobiologist and more than 500 papers published, Dr. Skolnick retired from government service in 1997 when he accepted a position as a Lilly Fellow in Neuroscience at Eli Lilly. Dr. Skolnick will take the Division helm from Acting DPMCDA Director David McCann, Ph.D. who has shown a strong and dynamic vision over the past year in leading the Division's programs and activities.

Dr. John SJ Anderson has joined the Office of Bioinformatics and Information Management as NIDA's new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Dr. Anderson holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona, and joins NIDA after working as a Lead Systems Architect at the Bureau of the Census on projects involving web-based electronic data collection. Prior to his work at the Census, he was a Principal Systems Analyst at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI; part of the National Library of Medicine) for several years, assisting with a variety of challenging projects. John brings extensive expertise in managing teams, IT projects, computer systems, and modern software development. As the NIDA CTO, Dr. Anderson will provide expert leadership and advice for information technology and management systems utilized by the Institute. Within the Office of Bioinformatics and Information Management, Dr. Anderson will coordinate and lead the development of bioinformatics software projects to assist and expand NIDA's mission of understanding and combating drug addiction.

Dr. Marsha Lopez has been promoted to the position of Branch Chief of the Epidemiology Research Branch in DESPR. As Branch Chief, Dr. Lopez will be responsible for a complex and diverse portfolio of national and international research on the prevalence, incidence and etiology of drug abuse and addiction, including a large program on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Lopez completed a Ph.D. in epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. She was working as a supervising data analyst in the Department of Defense when she joined NIDA approximately 5 years ago as a Program Official in the Epidemiology Research Branch (ERB). Since joining NIDA, Dr. Lopez has managed a portfolio of national epidemiology studies and methodological projects. In particular, she has served as Program Official for the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. Most recently, during the past 4 months, she has served as Acting Branch Chief for ERB and, in this position, working with colleagues, she has developed an innovative new initiative for secondary data release and analysis.


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

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