U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Commendations & Commencements

Spring 2012

Congratulations 

 
Dr. Myron S. Cohen NIDDK grantee  Dr. Myron S. Cohen  led an NIH HIV Prevention Trials Network study that the journalScience  named the 2011 Breakthrough of the Year. The study offered proof that antiretroviral treatment prevents the sexual transmission of HIV-1. Cohen, the J. Herbert Bate Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology and Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received more than 20 years of continuous NIH funding, including NIDDK funding for basic science research earlier in his career and an NIH MERIT Award in 2005. Read more at: www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2011/niaid-22.htm
 
Dr. Chuxia Deng Dr. Chuxia Deng,  chief of the Mammalian Genetics Section in the NIDDK Genetics of Development and Disease Branch, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his distinguished contributions to the field of mammalian development and genetics, particularly toward the functions of BRCA1, FGF receptors, SMAD proteins, and SIRTUINs. 
 
Dr. Kai Ge Dr. Kai Ge,  chief of the Adipocyte Biology and Gene Regulation Section of NIDDK’s Laboratory of Endocrinology and Receptor Biology, was granted tenure by the NIH Central Tenure Committee. 
 
Dr. Jake Liang Dr. Jake Liang,  chief of the NIDDK Liver Diseases Branch, was awarded a 2012 grant for Regenerative Medicine as part of an NIH Common Fund initiative to conduct pilot projects to advance clinical applications of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The Liang lab was awarded the grant for the project “iPSC-derived Human Hepatocytes: A Model for Treatment of Liver Disease.” NIDDK intramural researchers were awarded two of six Regenerative Medicine grants given through the NIH Common Fund. 
 
Dr. Caroline Philpott Dr. Caroline Philpott,  chief of the Genetics and Metabolism Section of the NIDDK Liver Diseases Branch, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her distinguished contributions to the field of metals in biology, including her elegant dissection of mechanisms by which iron is acquired, distributed, utilized and regulated. 
 
Dr. Karen Usdin Dr. Karen Usdin,  chief of the Gene Structure and Disease Section in the NIDDK Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology, was awarded a 2012 grant for Regenerative Medicine as part of an NIH Common Fund initiative to conduct pilot projects to advance clinical applications of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The Usdin lab was awarded the grant to develop Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) from individuals with Fragile X Syndrome for modeling disease pathology and for drug screening. NIDDK staff scientist  Dr. Daman Kumari  was instrumental in developing the project. NIDDK intramural researchers were awarded two of six Regenerative Medicine grants given through the NIH Common Fund.  
 
 

Welcome 

 
Camille Hoover Camille Hoover,  M.S.W., was named executive officer of NIDDK in January 2012. She came to NIDDK from the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), where she served as executive officer since 2000. Partnering with the director, she helped create the research enterprise from the ground up. Prior to that position, Hoover had been a social worker for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), administrative officer for NCI's Surgery Branch, and manager of one of NCI's largest Administrative Resource Centers. Hoover is a member of several key NIH-wide corporate committees and has received awards including the NIH and NCCAM Directors’ Awards, NIH Merit Awards and the NIH Quality of Work Life Award. 
 
Four new members recently joined NIDDK’s advisory council:  
 
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky  serves on the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases Subcouncil. He is dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice president of Health Sciences at Stony Brook University. He has conducted seminal research on the molecular biology of blood cell production, and his team has cloned several genes important in the growth and differentiation of blood cells, including thrombopoietin, a key regulator of cell and platelet production.
 
Dr. Alan Shuldiner

Dr. Alan Shuldiner  serves on the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases Subcouncil. He is the John Whitehurst Professor of Medicine; associate dean for Personalized Medicine, director of the Program for Personalized Medicine, and head of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research interests include the molecular basis and genetics of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance. 
Dr. Robert Vigersky Dr. Robert Vigersky  serves on the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases Subcouncil. He is a colonel in the Medical Corps at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, medical director of the Diabetes Institute of the Walter Reed Health Care System, and a professor in the Department of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Vigersky has produced articles and book chapters on topics ranging from reproductive endocrinology and diabetes management to telemedicine and e-health. He is serving as the Department of Defense Ex Officio member of the NIDDK council. 
 
John W. Walsh John W. Walsh  serves on the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition Subcouncil as a public member. Diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency in 1989, he co-founded the Alpha-1 Foundation to provide leadership and resources to improve detection and treatment, and to find a cure, for Alpha-1. He regularly testifies before Congress and advisory groups as a patient advocate and served three terms on the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability, among many other positions.
 
 

In Memoriam  

 
Dr. Wylie Vale,  a longtime NIDDK grantee and former NIDDK council member, died in January. He was a Salk Institute professor and world-renowned expert on peptide hormones and growth factors that provide communication between the brain and endocrine and immune systems. Research from Dr. Vale’s lab led to new methods for the diagnosis of pituitary disease and opened new possibilities for the development of drugs to treat anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and drug abuse. He was also former president of both the American Endocrine Society and the International Society of Endocrinology.