NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2019

Commendations & Commencements

Congratulations

Photo of Dr. Carole Bewley

Dr. Carole Bewley was promoted to chief of the NIDDK Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry. She was previously the laboratory’s deputy chief. Her research focuses on engineering compounds that prevent HIV-1 infection by blocking the virus from fusing into healthy cells, and on discovering new natural products that prevent drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Photo of Dr. Susan Buchanan

Dr. Susan Buchanan was promoted to deputy scientific director of the Division of Intramural Research. She is also chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Buchanan joined NIDDK as an investigator in 2001. Her work focuses on vaccine and drug research to fight bacterial infections. Editor’s Note: Dr. Buchanan discussed her passion for medical research, pursuit of public health advances, and advocacy for women in science in a previous issue.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry B has published a special issue honoring NIH Distinguished Investigator Dr. William A. Eaton for his 80th birthday. The issue includes a tribute to Eaton, his autobiography, and 79 original research articles related to his work. Eaton holds an MD and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the NIH as a Commissioned Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service in 1968, and he has been chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Physics since 1986. He was also scientific director of the NIH Intramural AIDS Targeted Anti-viral Program from 1986 to 2018.

NIDDK Deputy Director Dr. Gregory Germino will receive the National Kidney Foundation’s Dr. Shaul Massry Distinguished Lecture Award, recognizing his scientific achievements and contributions to the field of polycystic kidney disease. He will present his lecture at the foundation’s Spring Clinical Meeting in May.

Photo of Dr. Kenneth Jacobson

Dr. Kenneth Jacobson has been named John W. Daly Distinguished Investigator. Daly was an NIDDK researcher and leading authority on biologically active natural products, and he mentored Jacobson in the study of adenosine receptors. Jacobson has been with NIDDK since 1983 and has served as chief of the Molecular Recognition Section in the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry since 1993. His work focuses on designing new agonists and antagonists for the four subtypes of adenosine receptors and eight subtypes of P2Y receptors and to exploring their potential for treating diseases.

Photo of Vikas Khator

Vikas Khator was appointed NIDDK chief information officer (CIO). He has more than 23 years of information technology experience in the public and private sectors, including as the service area manager for network security services at the NIH Center for Information Technology. He served as the acting NIDDK CIO for nearly two years.

Photo of Dr. Christopher Koh

Dr. Christopher Koh has been promoted to deputy clinical director in the Division of Intramural Research. He researches liver disease, with a focus on novel therapeutics, including therapies for viral hepatitis. Koh also studies the pathogenesis of rare liver diseases and how liver diseases develop in specific populations, including patients with immunodeficiencies and other systemic diseases.

Photo of Karl Malik.

Dr. Karl Malik was promoted to director of the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) at NIDDK, after serving as acting director for nearly a year. Malik worked in the NIH Center for Scientific Review before joining NIDDK in 2005, and he was previously the deputy director of DEA and the director of the Office of Research Evaluation and Operations.

Katherine McJunkin

Dr. Katherine McJunkin was named to the Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator Program. She is an investigator in NIDDK’s Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, where she researches the molecular mechanisms that regulate microRNA. McJunkin received her doctorate in biological sciences from the Watson School at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Welcome

Photo of Dr. Heather Rieff

Dr. Heather Rieff joined NIDDK in February as director of the Office of Scientific Program and Policy Analysis. She previously served as a health science policy analyst at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and as a science policy analyst at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. She holds a doctorate in neurobiology from Harvard University.

Photo of Vanessa A. White

Vanessa A. White joined NIDDK in November as a program analyst in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition. Before coming to NIDDK, she was a program analyst in the NIH Office of the Director, Office of AIDS Research. She has also worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Secretary, Office of Population Affairs. White received her Master of Public Health from Boston University.

A Fond Farewell

After nearly 40 years with NIDDK, Dr. Judith Fradkin retired in December 2018. She was director of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, where she oversaw a broad portfolio of basic and clinical research. Fradkin also served as the chair of the federal Diabetes Mellitus Interagency Coordinating Committee, coordinated the planning and implementation of the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research, and worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to run the National Diabetes Education Program. In addition to her work at NIDDK, Fradkin taught and provided patient care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center endocrinology clinic in Bethesda, Maryland. Editor’s Note: For more on Fradkin’s career, head to the News Around NIDDK section.

Dr. Paul Kovac senior investigator and chief of the Carbohydrates Section in the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, is retiring at the end of April after 36 years at NIDDK. His recent research has focused on developing synthetic vaccines for diseases such as cholera and anthrax infection.

Photo of Dr. Alexxai Kravitz

Dr. Alexxai Kravitz joined Washington University in St. Louis as an associate professor of psychiatry. He worked at NIDDK since 2013 and was chief of the Eating and Addiction Section in the intramural Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, leading research on basal ganglia circuits and their role in obesity and related illnesses.

In Memoriam

Photo of Dr. Henry Metzger

Dr. Henry Metzger, an NIH immunology researcher, died November 20 at age 86. Dr. Metzger served at NIH for more than 43 years, much of it at the institute that preceded both NIDDK and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). After the two institutes diverged, he served for 10 years as the first scientific director of Intramural Research at NIAMS. He authored more than 250 scientific articles and received numerous awards for his work, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists.

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