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

Staff Highlights

Staff Honors and Awards

Dr. Teresa Levitin, Director, OEA, has been selected to receive the NIH Merit Award for her work on the trans-NIH committee on Council Operations. This workgroup award was presented on August 18, 2005.

Dr. Rao S. Rapaka, DBNBR, was the recipient of the "American Peptide Society 2005 Achievement Award for Scientific and Administrative Excellence". This was "in recognition of his many contributions to the promotion and advancement of research to peptide science and for scientific and administrative foresight which has advanced public health". The award was presented at the 19th Peptide Symposium June 18-23, 2005 in San Diego, CA.

CAPT Steve Oversby, US PHS, a Health Scientist Administrator with DPMCDA, completed the two year graduate course series of the U.S. Naval War College on July 15, 2005. The U.S. Naval War College provides government and military education in the political, organizational, and behavioral influences on national security decision making and implementation, as well as, education in the alternatives to war, as an instrument of policy. The graduation ceremony will be held at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.

Dr. Ro Nemeth-Coslett, DCNDBT, was elected President of Executive Toastmasters, 2005-2006.

Dr. Vincent Smeriglio, DCNDBT, received an NIH Mentoring Award "For exemplary performance while demonstrating significant leadership, skill and ability in serving as a mentor."

Dr. Laurence Stanford, DCNDBT, received an NIH Director's Award "In recognition of outstanding contributions in clinical developmental neurobiology with NIDA and across the NIH."

Dr. Laurence Stanford served as the co-chair of the Training Subcommittee of the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint.

Dr. Marisela Morales, Staff Scientist, Cellular Neurophysiology Section, Cellular Neurobiology Research Branch, is the recipient of the 2005 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Dr. Santosh Kulkarni, Medicinal Chemistry Section, IRP, was invited to give a seminar at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Georgia.

Dr. Amy Newman, Chief, Medicinal Chemistry Section, IRP, filed a patent on June 10, 2005: Newman, A. H.; Grundt, P.; Katz, J. L. N-8-Substituted Benztropinamines as Therapeutic Agents for CNS Disorders.

Staff Changes

Ms. Susan Cook joined NIDA on July 25, 2005 as the Institute's Deputy Executive Officer. Susan has a broad range of both education and experience that will serve NIDA well. She has a Masters in Business Administration as well as a Masters of Science, and has worked in the intramural, extramural, and OD components of Institutes. She began her career at NIH in 1987 as a chemist in the NCI intramural program. She then moved into the NCI administrative arena, serving as a Grants Management Specialist, Administrative Officer, and Program Analyst. In 2000, Susan joined NIAID as Chief of the Management Services Branch, providing support to the NIAID OD as well as management analysis activities NIAID-wide. For the past 6 months, she has also served as Acting Director of the Office of Administrative Services, an umbrella organization providing services Institute-wide.

OEA is pleased to announce that Dr. Meena Hiremath has joined our office. Meena was previously at NINDS, where she served as a Scientific Program Analyst. At NINDS, she had a wide variety of responsibilities, including providing detailed scientific analyses of grant portfolios and scientific codes for them. In addition, she co-organized an annual Junior Investigator Special Interest Group at the American Epilepsy Society meeting to foster a network of junior investigators and to provide a forum for discussion of issues specific to this group. She is currently participating as a mentee in the HHS Career Mentoring Program through which she is learning more about adapting to the rapidly changing work environment. Meena is particularly interested in training, mentoring, and fostering the next generation of scientists. Meena received her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For her dissertation project, she developed neurotoxin-induced murine model for demyelination and applied that model to assess the role of lymphocytes and antigen presentation molecules in this model. She then trained in cellular and molecular immunology at NCI as a postdoctoral fellow. Her postdoctoral training focused primarily on the role that Csk homologous kinase (CHK) has in differentiation of human monocytes. Her areas of expertise include glial cell biology, neuroimmunology, autoimmunity, pathogenesis, and inflammation.

Dr. Belinda Sims recently joined DESPR's Prevention Research Branch as a Health Scientist Administrator for the prevention services and early childhood programs. Dr. Sims is a developmental psychologist, and came to NIDA from NIMH where she was the chief of the child and adolescent preventive intervention program. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Sims was a faculty research associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Mental Hygiene (now Mental Health), where she conducted children's mental health services research.

Dr. Richard Denisco joined DESPR on September 6, 2005, as a member of the Services Research Branch staff. Dr. Denisco comes to us from the Johns Hopkins University, where he just completed a MPH in epidemiology, biostatistics, and policy. His Medical Degree is from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Dr. Denisco has served as the Medical Director of two chronic pain management and rehabilitative centers. He also has expertise in medical practice management, clinical research, medical affairs, and policy analysis.

Dr. Karin Johnson has joined DCNDBT in a part-time capacity for the 2005-2006 academic year as an IPA appointment. Dr. Johnson, who is a Professor at Salisbury University, was previously at NIDA as an AAAS/SRCD (American Association for the Advancement of Science/Society for Research in Child Development) fellow in 2000-2001.

Erin Iturriaga, R.N., CCRC, has joined NIDA's DPMCDA as a Clinical Trials Nurse Specialist. Erin brings a strong background in multiple aspects of clinical research, including clinical trials management, education, and regulatory responsibilities. Prior to moving to the Washington, D.C., area, Erin managed neuromuscular clinical trials at University of Texas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Most recently, Erin worked at the National Cancer Institute as the Acting Head of the Protocol Information Office. Erin is a registered nurse as well as a certified clinical research coordinator.

Jennifer Wong, Ph.D. is leaving the Regulatory Affairs Branch, in the Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse, to join the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Wong joined NIDA on July 27, 2003 as a Health Scientist Administrator. Before coming to NIDA, Dr. Wong was a Regulatory Compliance Specialist at Technical Resources International in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Laurence Stanford was appointed Deputy Director of the Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Development and Behavioral Treatment in June 2005.


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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