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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > September, 2008 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - September, 2008

Staff Highlights

Staff Honors and Awards


NIDA Director's Award for Innovation Carol Krause -- "For employing innovative thinking and novel methods in facilitation of the NIDA Science Fair"

Group Awards

The CCTN Data Share Workgroup
Carol Cushing, Ronald Dobbins, Mary Ellen Michel, Ph.D., Harold Perl, Ph.D., Carmen Rosa, and Paul Wakim, Ph.D.

The GEI Exposure Biology Program
Kevin Conway, Ph.D., J.C. Comolli, Harold Gordon, Ph.D., Mary Kautz, Ph.D., Minda Lynch, Ph.D., Jonathan Pollock, Ph.D., Susan Volman, Ph.D., and Kay Wanke, Ph.D.

The Physical Activity Meeting Team
Nicolette Borek, Ph.D., Kristopher Bough, Ph.D., Usha Charya, B.A., Wilson Compton, M.D., M.P.E., Augie Diana, Ph.D., Gayathri J. Dowling, Ph.D., Joseph Frascella, Ph.D., Dorie Hightower, Sharan Jayne, Carol Krause, Marsha Lopez, Ph.D., Minda Lynch, Ph.D., Aleta Meyer, Ph.D., Lisa Onken, Ph.D., Nancy Pilotte, Ph.D., Elizabeth Robertson, Ph.D., Paul Schnur, Ph.D., Karen Sirocco, Ph.D., and Yonette Thomas, Ph.D.

The IRP Administrative Management Branch
Janice Carico, Tracey Coleman-Rawlinson, Kandi Culbertson, Diane French, Grant Greenwaldt, Thomas Haines, Timothy Kirkendall, John Kunzelman, Carol Lindsay, Randall Smith, Massoud Vahabzadeh, Ph.D., and Sheila Zichos.

The Neuro-Genetic Addiction Course Team
Beth Babecki, Usha Charya, Kevin Conway, Ph.D., Steven Grant, Ph.D., Raul Mandler, M.D., Lucinda Miner, Ph.D., Amrat Patel, Ph.D., Jonathan Pollock, Ph.D., Joni Rutter, Ph.D., David Shurtleff, Ph.D., Laurence Stanford, Ph.D., George R. Uhl, M.D., Ph.D., Susan Volman, Ph.D., Kay Wanke, Ph.D., Naimah Weinberg, M.D.

The Information Resources Management Branch
Marguerite Lewis, Tina McDonald-Bennett, Michael Wright, and Berhane Yitbarek.

The National Science Fair Team
Patricia Anderson, Ruben Baler, Ph.D., Gayathri J. Dowling, Ph.D., Mark Fleming, Dorie Hightower, Carol Krause, Jan Lipkin, Sheryl Massaro, Lucinda Miner, Ph.D., Joan Nolan, and Susan Weiss, Ph.D.

Individual Awards

David Anderson
Nathan M. Appel, Ph.D.
Janelle Barth
Aria Crump, Sc.D.
Allison Chausmer Hoffman, Ph.D.
Steven Grant, Ph.D.
Eliane Lazar-Wesley, Ph.D.
David Liu, M.D.
Marisela Morales, Ph.D.
Linda Thomas

Michelle K. Leff, M.D.

30 Years of Government Service Awards
Loretta Beuchert
Nora Chiang
Jag H. Khalsa
Shou-Hua Li
Geraline Lin
Frank Vocci

Other Staff Awards

Dr. Betty Tai received the 2008 NIH Director's Award in recognition of her exceptional work in supporting the comprehensive trans-NIH assessment of the system of research support, of which peer review is a major component.

Dr. Betty Tai received the 2008 NIH Director's Award for her leadership in developing an effective Clinical Trial Network (CTN) focused on treating addictions and dependence on drugs.

Dr. Betty Tai received the 2008 J. Michael Morrison Award for advancing drug abuse research through work within the NIDA Drug Development Program and for expert and enthusiastic leadership of the Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trial Network.

At the 2008 American Psychological Association Convention in August 2008, Dr. Meyer Glantz, DESPR, received a Special Presidential Citation for Distinguished Service to Divisions 50 and 28 for "extraordinary work in supporting early career psychologists in addiction, psychopharmacology, and substance abuse research.' Dr. Glantz has supported early career psychologists in the field of substance abuse research and treatment through his work with the APA dissertation awards, the College of Professional Psychology, and the NIDA/NIAAA-Divisions 50 & 28 Early Career Poster Presentations.

Dr. Richard A. Jenkins, DESPR, received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Practice in Community Psychology (2008), Society for Community Research & Action (Division 27 of American Psychological Association).

Dr. Lula Beatty, Chief, Special Populations Office (SPO), was inducted as a Fellow for Division 45: Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues at the American Psychological Association meeting on August 15, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ana Anders, M.S.W. SPO, was selected to be a member of the NIH Hispanic Employee Committee.

Dr. Joni Rutter, DBNBR, received the NIH Director's award for Implementation of Roadmap Programs, July 21, 2008 in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. John Satterlee, DBNBR, received the NIH Director's Award for NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program efforts.

Dr. John Satterlee received the NIH Blueprint Directors Award for Blueprint Neuroplasticity RFA efforts.

Dr. John Satterlee received the NIH Blueprint Directors Award for work on the Blueprint Neuroplasticity Workshop team.

Dr. Da-Yu Wu, DBNBR, received two Blueprint team awards one as part of the Gene Expression team and one as part of the hESC Workshop Planning team.

Dr. Christine Colvis, DBNBR, received the NIH Director's award for Implementation of Roadmap Programs, July 21, 2008 in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Jonathan Pollock, DBNBR, received the NIH Director's award as part of the Genome Wide Association Studies Policy Development Team, July 21, 2008 in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Jonathan Pollock received the NIH Blueprint award for "Effective and dedicated teamwork in the creation of and funding of the Blueprint Neurodevelopment Circuits Initiative", July 24, 2008 in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Karen Skinner, DBNBR, received the NIH Director's award for outstanding leadership, vision, dedication and oversight in developing the Neuroscience Information Framework, July 21, 2008 in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. David Shurtleff, Director, DBNBR, received the NIH Director's award for outstanding leadership, vision, dedication and oversight in developing the Neuroscience Information Framework, July 21, 2008 in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Kristopher Bough, DPMCDA, received an "Excellence in Mentoring" award for helping design and implement a comprehensive training and mentoring program in review management techniques for new reviewers at the FDA, May 16, 2008.

Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, received the Life Time Achievement Award for his dedication and developing research programs in drug abuse and infections, by the American Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), June 11, 2008, in a ceremony on the Capitol Hill attended by several US Congressmen and Senators.

Dr. Khalsa received the award from the US Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina.

Dr. Rita Liu, OEA, received the 2008 J. Michael Morrison Award from CPDD, for outstanding scientific administration. This award is given biennially to individual(s) recognized for his/her/theirs extraordinary achievements in administering drug abuse research related activities.

Dr. Meenaxi Hiremath, OEA, received the NIH Director's Award for her work on the DEAS Re-engineering Team.

Dr. Stephen Heishman, IRP, served as the NIDA liaison on the 2008 update of the PHS Clinical Practice Guideline: Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. He attended the release of the Guideline on May 7, 2008 at the headquarters of the American Medical Association in Chicago. A summary of the Guideline was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, as cited below:

Dr. Kenner Rice, IRP, was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame of the American Chemical Society Division of Medicinal Chemistry, 2007 as one of only 33 living members.

Dr. Teruo Hayashi, a Staff Scientist within the Cellular Pathobiology Section, Cellular Neurobiology Research Branch, IRP, was honored on July 14, 2008 for his poster presentation entitled "A Novel Molecular Chaperone Sigma-1 Receptor: Potential Therapeutic Target for Neuropsychiatric Disorders", and received "Best Poster Award" at the XXVII Collegiums International Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum Annual Meeting, which was held from July 13-17, 2008 in Munich, Germany. This award is made on the basis of the study's scientific excellence.

Staff Changes

Christine Colvis, Ph.D. has joined the Office of the Director as the Director of Program Integration. She will be facilitating collaboration across NIDA's Divisions, Offices and Centers as well as across the NIH with an emphasis on program development and will continue to represent NIDA on a number of trans-NIH program teams. Christine received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1998. After earning her degree, Christine came to the NIH as a fellow in the National Eye Institute's Intramural Research Program where she was studying proteomics of cataracts. Christine has been a program director at NIDA in the Genetics and Molecular Neurobiology Research Branch in the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research since 2001. She has helped to build NIDA's portfolio in several areas including proteomics, epigenetics and non-coding RNAs and represents NIDA on several NIH Roadmap Programs.

Ananth Charya, M.P.H. joined NIDA in May 2008 as a Health Program Specialist and is assisting with NIH Roadmap Initiatives and trans-Institute activities. He is originally from the Washington, DC Metro area. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Neurobiology and Physiology and Bachelors of Arts in Economics from the University of Maryland- College Park in 2002. After college, Ananth worked at Georgetown University Medical Center in the Department of Pharmacology where he performed research involving molecular mechanisms regulating neuronal cell death and survival after continuous seizure activity. After Georgetown, Ananth worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where he used neurobiological assays to examine the effects of chronic low dose chemical nerve agent exposure. In 2008, he received his Masters of Science in Public Health from George Washington University.

Diane Lawrence, Ph.D. has joined the NIDA AIDS Research Program as an Associate Director. She will be helping to coordinate program efforts within NIDA and across other NIH ICs and DHHS agencies, particularly in the area of basic and clinical HIV and neuroAIDS research. Her goal is to facilitate communication and team building in order to develop initiatives that bring the best HIV research to NIDA. Diane has been a Program Official at NIDA for the past three years, during which time she coordinated efforts to develop initiatives, helped build a research portfolio in basic neuroAIDS research, and managed a fellowship and training portfolio. Prior to joining NIDA, she spent five years in NINDS doing intramural research on neuroAIDS and gaining experience in program, review, and communications. Diane received her B.A. in Psychology and Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in 1989 and her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester Neuroscience Program, where she had an interest in psychoneuroimmunology and was funded by a NIDA training grant to study opioid receptor expression on T cells. After NIDA-supported postdoctoral training at Temple University to get more experience with in vivo models of immunology and pharmacology, she shifted her focus back to neuroscience. Diane began a second postdoc 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.

Albert Avila Ph.D. recently joined DBNBR. Dr. Avila received a B.S. in Psychobiology and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Georgetown University in 2003. His doctoral research focused primarily in the area of neuropsychopharmacology and immunology, specifically studying the effects of cocaine, cocaine withdrawal, and stress on the immune system. Upon graduating from Georgetown, he received a National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Training Award for postdoctoral research in the area of pain transmission and control at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, NIH. In 2004, he became the Director of the NIDCR Office of Education, directing the intramural research training program for NIDCR. The following year Dr. Avila became an Extramural Program Officer for the NIDCR Training and Career Development Branch where he managed grants and fellowships for dental and graduate students, postdocs, and junior investigators who are conducting oral and craniofacial related-research. At NIDA, he will be working with Beth Babecki and Charlie Sharp, managing training and fellowship grants as well as working with research grants in the area of stress and immunology.

Elena Koustova, Ph.D. recently joined DBNBR. Elena earned her bachelor's degree in physiology at Moscow State University. She then went on to receive her Ph.D. in neurosciences, also from Moscow State. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the Laboratory of Neuroscience (NIDDK) at NIH, were she was involved in developing animal models of neuroAIDS and behavioral phenotyping of genetically manipulated animals. Later, she held a professorship at The F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine (Bethesda, MD), and served as an R&D Director at DOV Pharmaceutical Inc (Somerset, NJ). She pioneered research in posttranslational and epigenetic regulation in hypovolemic/full body ischemia states, and participated in development of clotting agents that are currently utilized by US Marine Corps. At DOV, Elena directed preclinical discovery and development of triple reuptake inhibitors, securing the progression of two compounds into currently conducted clinical trials. The transition from academic to industrial research was so perspective-changing, that Elena pursued formal business education and earned an MBA degree from Gallup (Princeton, NJ), specializing in Organizational Innovation. Elena holds three patents as a single inventor and multiple patents as a team contributor. Her research is described in more than 70 articles and book chapters, public press, and even a Doonesbury cartoon strip. Elena is working in the Genetics and Molecular Neurobiology Branch of DBNBR on molecular neurobiology, SBIR and other initiatives programs combining her business and scientific background.

Dr. Shoshana Kahana joined DCNBR's Behavioral & Integrative Treatment Branch on August 3, 2008. Prior to coming to NIDA, Dr. Kahana was a Visiting Scientist in the Psychosocial Stress and Related Disorders Branch at NIMH. Dr. Kahana received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Case Western Reserve University and completed postdoctoral work at Case Western, as well as Brown University. Her primary research interests are focused on (behavioral) interventions for comorbid conditions, specifically traumatic stress and drug use, in adolescent and adult populations. In addition, some of her work examines risk and protective factors for treatment noncompliance among youth with chronic health conditions, as well as the effects of treatment choice/preference on outcome among adult sexual assault victims diagnosed with PTSD.

Dr. Guifang Lao, M.D., Ph.D. has joined DPMCDA as a Health Scientist Administrator/ Program Officer, in the Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse Branch. Dr. Lao received her M.D. and M.Sc. in Biochemistry from China, Ph.D. in Microbiology and Biochemistry from the Cornell University, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at NINDS, and worked in the Department of Radiology at the NIH Clinical Center. Her research interests are in the areas of clinical medicine, clinical molecular biology, immunology, neuroscience, protein chemistry, and non-invasive techniques of assessing medical consequences. Dr. Lao will be developing new programs of research on medical consequences of drug abuse and co-occurring infections including one on new and innovative non-invasive methods of assessing clinical consequences of drugs of abuse and infections.

Stephanie Older joined the Public Information and Liaison Branch of OSPC in June 2008 as the Deputy Press Officer. Her experience includes work for both corporate and non profit organizations, most notably as the media liaison for the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She has also conducted media outreach for the Social Security Administration's Medicare Assistance Program and the National Health Council's "Putting Patients First" national media campaign. Stephanie holds a law degree from the University of Baltimore as well as a B.A. in communication from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining NIDA, she worked as Attorney-Adviser to an Associate Chief Judge at the U.S. Department of Labor. After working on cases involving Black Lung Disease and workman's compensation issues, Stephanie decided she missed the media element of public health work, and wants to apply her well developed organizational skills to help with NIDA's press outreach.

Dr. Ericka Boone joined the Science Policy Branch of OSPC in August 2008 as a Health Scientist Administrator. She received her Ph.D. in Biobehavioral Health from The Pennsylvania State University in 2000. Most recently, she conducted research at the University of Illinois at Chicago focusing on the physiology, neurobiology and development of socially monogamous traits, including parenting and pair-bonding behaviors, in prairie voles. She was particularly interested in the role of early experience and neuropeptides such as oxytocin and vasopressin in the development of these behaviors. Dr. Boone has over 10 years experience synthesizing, conducting and analyzing basic and clinical research information in the areas of social neuroscience, genetics, molecular biology and drug abuse.

Kyle C. Stump, DVM, DACLAM was appointed the Animal Program Director for NIDA IRP in March 2008. He is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Division of Comparative Medicine. He is a board certified diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Prior to his appointment at the IRP, Dr. Stump was the Senior Animal Program Veterinarian for the National Cancer Institute and the Chief of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The CCTN is pleased to welcome Dr. Udi Ghitza as a member of the Behavioral and Social Science Team. Before coming to the CCTN, Dr. Ghitza worked in the Intramural Program of NIDA with Drs. Kenzie Preston and Yavin Shaham. Dr. Ghitza received his Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University, with a specialization in behavioral neuroscience/ biological psychology. He has done work on animal models of drug abuse, as well as clinical studies of behavioral and pharmacological therapies. In his behavioral neuroscience research, he used a rat relapse model to examine the cellular and neuroanatomical mechanisms underlying relapse to drug- and high-fat food-seeking behavior. In clinical trials research, he evaluated behavioral and pharmacological treatments for cocaine and heroin abuse.

Captain Kesinee (Kay) Nimit, M.D. retired after 21 years of service in the PHS Commissioned Corps, including 19 years at NIDA. During her service, she received a Unit Commendation, the Commendation Medal four times (1991, 1994, 1997, and 2000), the Regular Corps Ribbon, and the Bicentennial Unit Commendation. Dr. Nimit received her Doctor of Medicine Degree from Mahidol University School of Medicine in Bangkok, completed a Pediatric Residency at St. Agnes Hospital/Johns Hopkins Hospital and is Board Certified in Pediatrics. Dr. Nimit provided pediatric clinic care at the Navy Medical Center in Bethesda one morning each week in addition to her work in managing peer review. Dr. Nimit's career at NIDA has primarily been in the area of clinical research where she has a well-earned reputation as a dedicated, hardworking professional who always conducts herself to meet the highest standards. She has provided a very positive interface with the extramural community of researchers, as evidenced by the many unsolicited notes of praise sent to her. Her sustained excellence will be missed.

Dr. Richard Hawks has retired from his position as Deputy Director, DPMCDA after 36 years of exceptional service to the Federal Government. Dr. Hawks received his Ph.D. from Duke University in organic chemistry in 1970 and completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina working on cannabinoid chemistry. He began his career as a chemist with the Federal Government in 1972 with the Division of Narcotic Addiction and Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health (the Division which became NIDA). Dr. Hawks also served as Chief of the Chemistry and Pharmaceutics Branch of the Medications Development Division and Chief of the Research Technology Branch in the Division of Preclinical Research at NIDA. Dr. Hawks was closely involved with the establishment and evolution of the NIDA's medications development program and made tremendous contributions in the areas of chemistry, pharmaceutics, and project management and budget.

Dr. Ivan Montoya will serve as Acting Deputy Director, DPMCDA. Dr. Montoya received his M.D. from the University of Antioquia (Colombia), a Masters in Public Health (M.P.H.) from The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and completed residency training in Psychiatry at the San Vicente de Paul Hospital (Colombia) and the University of Maryland Hospital (Baltimore). He was a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow in Drug Abuse at The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at NIDA's Intramural Research Program. He has been the Director of the Public Mental Health Program at the University of Antioquia (Colombia), Director of the Practice Research Network of the American Psychiatric Association, consultant for the World Health Organization's Pan American Health Organization, and Clinical Director of the Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences Grants of NIDA's DPMCDA. He has published extensively in the areas of etiology, prevention, treatment (pharmacological and non-pharmacological), and medical consequences of drug abuse.


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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