NIDDK Director's Update Fall 2013

Commendations & Commencements


Dr. Sharon Anderson

Dr. Sharon Anderson, member of the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases subcouncil of the NIDDK National Advisory Council, has become interim chair of the Department of Medicine within Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Medicine. Anderson also works as a professor in the Department of Medicine and is a member of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.

Dr. Kingsley Boateng

Dr. Kingsley Boateng, a research fellow in the intramural NIDDK Genetics and Biochemistry Branch, has been awarded the DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics from The Genetics Society of America. The award is given to graduate students and postdoctoral trainees to support costs associated with enrolling in laboratory courses and attending scientific meetings.

 Dr. Ken Jacobson

Dr. Ken Jacobson, chief of the intramural NIDDK Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, received the Ronald F. Borne Distinguished Lectureship Award at an April 30 event held at the University of Mississippi. At the event, Jacobson delivered a lecture entitled “Structure-based discovery of novel ligands of GPCRs: Focus on adenosine and P2Y receptors.” The award was established in 2004 to recognize medicinal chemistry professor Ronald F. Borne.

Dr. Stephen James

Dr. Stephen James, director of the NIDDK Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, has been awarded the American Gastroenterological Association’s Research Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has significantly advanced gastroenterological science and research. Past NIDDK recipients include Drs. James E. Everhart, Michael K. May, Judith M. Podskalny, and Frank Hamilton.

Dr. Jeffrey B. Kopp

Dr. Jeffrey B. Kopp has been appointed chief of the intramural NIDDK Kidney Disease Branch. He leads a translational research group that focuses on focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and related podocyte diseases. He is also a consulting nephrologist at the NIH Clinical Center and is a commissioned officer with the U.S. Public Health Service, holding the rank of captain.

Dr. Catherine McKeon

Dr. Catherine McKeon, NIDDK senior advisor for genetic research, shared the inaugural Distinguished Service Award at The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy with the late Dr. Sonia Skarlatos of NHLBI. McKeon oversees NIDDK programs in gene therapy for cystic fibrosis and inborn errors of metabolism. She was honored for her support for gene therapy research, including issuing one of the first NIH request for applications for research centered on gene transfer and gene therapy; organization of multiple gene therapy symposia; and participation in educational efforts with young investigators.

Dr. Allen Minton

Dr. Allen Minton, senior investigator in the intramural NIDDK Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics, was honored in a special issue of Biophysical Reviews in observance of his 70th birthday and achievements over the last 50 years. (Editor’s note: See the News Around NIDDK section for more on Minton.)

Dr. Jurgen Schnermann

Dr. Jurgen Schnermann, senior investigator and chief of the intramural NIDDK Kidney Disease Branch, retired from NIDDK in May 2013 after nearly 15 years of service here and 35 years in academia and will continue his work as an intramural scientist emeritus. His work focuses on the role of the kidneys in the maintenance of body fluid volume and arterial blood pressure.

Dr. Wei Yang

Dr. Wei Yang, senior investigator in the intramural NIDDK Laboratory of Molecular Biology and chief of the Structure and Mechanism of DNA Repair, Replication and Recombination Section, was elected into the 2013 Class of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The election reflects outstanding contributions to science and is voted on by current NAS members. Yang came to NIDDK in 1995 and researches DNA recombination, repair and replication. (Editor's note: See an NIH Catalyst article on Yang and her work here.)


Dr. Karen Teff

Dr. Karen Teff joined the NIDDK Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases in May as a program director for bariatric surgery, gestational diabetes and hypoglycemia. Previously, she was a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center and held an adjunct position at the University of Pennsylvania where she was director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center and director of the translational research program within the Diabetes Research Center. Her primary expertise is the neural control of glucohomeostasis in the pathophysiology of human obesity and diabetes.

A Fond Farewell

Gerhard Hummer

Gerhard Hummer, senior investigator in the intramural NIDDK Laboratory of Chemical Physics and chief of the Theoretical Biophysics Section, departed NIDDK after more than 13 years of federal service. In August, Hummer began his new role as director at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany. His work focuses on theory and simulation of biomolecular systems.

Dr. James Hurley

Dr. James Hurley investigator in the intramural NIDDK Laboratory of Molecular Biology and chief of the Structural Biology and Cell Signaling Section, departed NIDDK after more than 20 years of federal service. His work focused on how the interplay between proteins and membrane lipids is central to almost every aspect of cell biology. He joined the faculty at the University of California – Berkeley as professor in July.

Dr. Daniel Wright

Dr. Daniel Wright senior scientific advisor and program director for Hematology Research, will retire from the NIDDK Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases after eight years at NIDDK. He also represented NIDDK on the American Society of Hematology Government Affairs Committee and provided input to the amyloidosis subcommittee of the Trans-NIH Rare Diseases Research Working Group, among other roles. Before coming to NIDDK, Wright was chief of hematology and oncology at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center. He also held positions at Johns Hopkins University, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the NIH’s National Cancer Institute among others.

In Memoriam

Dr. John "Jack" Bieri

Dr. John “Jack” Bieri, former intramural NIDDK biochemist, died on July 30. From 1955 until his retirement in 1983, he served as head of the Nutritional Biochemistry Section in the Laboratory of Nutrition and Endocrinology. Dr. Bieri’s research focused on metabolism of vitamins A and E and essential fatty acids. While at NIDDK, he developed the NIH standard diet for laboratory rodents. Following retirement, he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Maryland and a consultant to industry. He was the recipient of the Public Health Service Superior Service Award and a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition.

Dr. Frederick L. Brancati

Longtime NIDDK grantee Dr. Frederick L. Brancati, director of General Internal Medicine and Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology, among other positions, at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, died on May 16. He was an internationally recognized expert on epidemiology and prevention of type 2 diabetes and his NIH-funded work included research under the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program and the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial, among many other health advances.

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