NIDDK Director's Update Winter 2016

Director's Note

Photo of Dr. David Davies

In September, the scientific community lost one of its most distinguished members, Dr. David Davies. A true pioneer in the field of structural biology, David was one of the founding members of the intramural NIDDK Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

For David, biomedical research was more than just a job; it was a calling. The first in his family to attend college, he remained active at the bench well into his 80s. His robust portfolio of accomplishments – including discovering the DNA triple helix – paved the way for myriad scientific advances through the years. Many of the gains in personalized medicine through the Precision Medicine Initiative, as featured in this issue, were facilitated by David's research. His findings also relate to the far-reaching genetics work stewarded by NIDDK Deputy Division Director Dr. Phil Smith, who's featured in our News Around NIDDK section.

Years of data from committed researchers like David make possible scientific consensus on a range of topics, often translatable to information we can provide Americans to learn about and improve their health. NIDDK's new diabetes education videos embody a result of the scientific life cycle, and I invite you to watch them, and to read more about them in this issue.

Photo of Dr. David Davies

David ensured his legacy would continue by nurturing the next generation, just as he was guided by the legendary Nobellist Dr. Linus Pauling, who also trained NIDDK's Dr. Gary Felsenfeld and dozens of other consequential researchers. For his part, David mentored NIDDK Scientific Director Dr. Michael Krause, Dr. Wei Yang – an NIDDK Senior Investigator and NIH Distinguished Investigator – and many more, producing a family tree of research, with scientific "children" and "grandchildren."

People like David Davies are part of what makes NIDDK a world-class scientific institution. We stand on the shoulders of our lifetime researchers and are indebted to their contributions.

In good health,
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Follow NIDDK on Twitter @NIDDKgov

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