NIDDK Director's Update Fall 2010

Commendations & Commencements


Dr. Griffin Rodgers receiving the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children's Congress Hero Award

The National Collaboration on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) was selected in August by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as one of three winners of the first HHSInnovates program, which is aimed at supporting the department’s "culture of innovation." NCCOR is a public-private collaboration, formed to help reverse the epidemic of overweight and obesity in U.S. youth by steering research across institutions, enabling a more nimble research response and quicker identification of needs. Partners include the NIH, CDC, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. NIDDK has been involved in NCCOR since its inception and Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers was among the NIH leadership who planted the seeds for this collaboration along with the RWJF and CDC more than three years ago. NIDDK leadership and scientific staff continue to contribute to NCCOR.

NIDDK received a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children’s Congress Hero Award—the organization’s top honor—for the Institute’s steadfast commitment to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Judy M. Hunt, Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., Francine R. Kaufman, M.D., Anil K. Rustgi, M.D., Gregory J. Gores, M.D.

Five members joined the NIDDK Advisory Council for 2010. Judy Hunt and Dr. Francine Kaufman joined the Subcouncil for the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases. Hunt is also on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. Kaufman, a pediatrician, is chief medical officer at Medtronic Diabetes, which develops insulin pumps and other technology for diabetes care. Dr. Gregory Gores, Jane Holt and Dr. Anil Rustgi joined the Subcouncil for the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition. Gores holds the Reuben R. Eisenberg professorship and serves as chair of the gastroenterology and hepatology departments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Holt co-founded and serves as co-president of the National Pancreas Foundation and helps lead the Digestive Diseases National Coalition. Rustgi holds the T. Grier Miller professorship and serves as chief of gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Learn more about them in the NIH Record (PDF, 6.96 MB) .

Dr. Kenneth A. Jacobson

Dr. Kenneth A. Jacobson, chief of the Molecular Recognition Section and chief of the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, was inducted into the American Chemical Society’s Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. Jacobson is one of only four NIH researchers—all at NIDDK—ever to receive this honor.

Advisory Council Member Dr. William E. Mitch received the 2009 John P. Peters Award from the American Society of Nephrology for substantial research contributions to the discipline of nephrology and sustained achievements in academic medicine.

Dr. Kristin Tarbell

Dr. Kristin Tarbell, a scientist within the Diabetes Branch of the intramural program, received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2009. PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers

NIDDK staff received NIH Director’s Awards in 2009 for their exemplary performance. Awardees are: Dr. Lawrence Agodoa, Dr. Christine Hunter, Dr. James Hyde, Irene Marquez-Garner, Edwina Martinez, Traci Melvin, Fran Plyler, Dr. Philip Smith and Dr. Brent Stanfield, with Drs. Hunter and Stanfield each receiving two awards. Editor’s Note: NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers has been elected to the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, in recognition of outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service (Kidney Diseases).


Dr. James M. Anderson—a longtime NIDDK grantee—has been named the Director of the NIH Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, starting this month. Prior to this appointment, he was the professor and chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Michael Flessner as a senior scientific officer within the Division of Kidney, Urology, and Hematology. In June, Flessner became the program director for Inflammatory Renal Disease Programs. Prior to coming to KUH, Flessner was the John Bower Professor of Nephrology and Hypertension and Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics and director of the Division of Nephrology at the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Yuan-Who (Richard) Chen, who has joined NIDDK’s Biostatistics Group. Before joining NIDDK he worked at the FDA for eight years, where he reviewed investigational new drug protocols, biological license applications and nondisclosure agreements in several areas.

A fond farewell

Five NIDDK Advisory Council members, have completed terms: Dr. Mitch Lazar and Margery Perry served on the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases Subcouncil. Dr. Juanita Merchant, Dr. David Perlmutter and Lisa Richardson served on the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition Subcouncil.

Dr. Leroy Nyberg

Dr. Leroy Nyberg, longtime director of the urology program, retired in late 2009. He joined NIDDK in 1988 and oversaw many important urology clinical trials and the Urologic Diseases in America compendium. While at NIDDK, Nyberg was recalled to active duty as a U.S. Navy Medical Officer and served in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.