NIDDK Director's Update Winter 2020

Commendations & Commencements


Headshot Deepak Nihalani

Dr. Deepak Nihalani joined NIDDK as a program director for kidney centers and translational studies in the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases. Nihalani previously served as an associate professor and endowed chair in renal disease biomarkers within the Division of Nephrology at the Medical University of South Carolina, where his research focused on understanding the mechanisms behind diseases that involve glomerular damage and lead to end stage renal disease.

NIDDK welcomed four new members to its Advisory Council:

Headshot Mark Nelson

Dr. Mark Nelson, University of Vermont College of Medicine distinguished professor and chair in the Department of Pharmacology, joined the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases subcommittee.

Headshot David Penson

Dr. David Penson, Hamilton and Howd chair of Urologic Oncology, chair of and professor in the Department of Urologic Surgery, Medicine and Health Policy, and director of the Center for Surgical Quality and Outcomes Research at Vanderbilt University, joined the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases subcommittee.

Headshot Ceciel Rooker

Ms. Ceciel Rooker, president and executive director of the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, joined the Digestive Diseases and Nutrition subcommittee.

Kathleen Sakamoto headshot

Dr. Kathleen Sakamoto, Shelagh Galligan Professor within the Division of Hematology, Oncology, Stem Cell Transplantation and Cancer Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine, joined the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases subcommittee.

A Fond Farewell

Headshot Tamara Bavendam

Dr. Tamara Bavendam, program director for women’s urologic health, retired from the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases. Bavendam envisioned and implemented the Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) Research Consortium and promoted collaborative efforts between PLUS and other NIDDK-supported urology studies. In addition, she served as the project scientist for the George M. O’Brien Urology Centers Program, fostered the development of the Collaborating for the Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research in Benign Urology (CAIRIBU) effort, and developed the Stimulating Urology Interdisciplinary Team Opportunity Research (SUITOR) Program to expand the urology research R01 portfolio. During her tenure, Bavendam also helped recruit many new investigators and first-time grantees into the NIDDK portfolios, including junior and minority investigators.

Headshot Terry Bishop

Dr. Terry Bishop retired after nearly 20 years with NIDDK’s Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases. In her role as a program director, Bishop fostered research growth in the area of nonmalignant hematology. She led programs such as the Cooperative Centers of Excellence in Hematology (CCEH) and the Stimulating Hematology Investigation: New Endeavors (SHINE) program. Bishop’s expertise and knowledge within her field influenced initiatives to recruit and train the next generation of hematology researchers. She also participated in several trans-NIH and trans-NIDDK advisory committees to help professionally develop NIDDK program staff, including the NIH Roadmap Initiative for Medical Research.

Headshot Deborah Hoshizaki

Dr. Deborah Hoshizaki served as a program director for kidney and urology regeneration and repair in the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases. During her 13 years at NIDDK, Hoshizaki led the GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP) and the (Re)Building a Kidney Consortium (RBK). She was also involved with the Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP), the Somatic Cell Genome Editing (SCGE) and Cellular Senescence working groups, and participated in other high-level consortia efforts such as the Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP), harmonizing the data and integrating her expertise into other NIDDK funding opportunities.

In Memoriam

Paul Hyman Headshot

Dr. Paul Hyman, pediatrician and member of the Data Safety Monitoring Board for the NIDDK Gastroparesis Consortium, died on August 7, 2020. A former gastrointestinal fellow in the NIDDK intramural program, Dr. Hyman’s most recent position was chair of the Gastrointestinal Pediatric Department at New Orleans Children’s Hospital. His pioneering research efforts led to the development of the subspecialty pediatric neuro-gastroenterology, in which he trained physicians by addressing the brain-gut connection with psychological and behavioral management therapy in children.

Headshot Rodger Unger

Dr. Rodger Unger, former NIDDK Advisory Council member, died on August 22, 2020. Dr. Unger served for 64 years at the University of Texas Southwestern where he was a Professor of Internal Medicine and founding director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research. His research was pivotal in establishing the roles of glucagon, a hormone that raises glucose levels, and insulin in the control of blood glucose. His work provided insights into how glucagon plays a major role in causing diabetes and he is internationally recognized as one of the central figures that drove better understanding of diabetes and shaping research and clinical practice in the field of endocrinology. Dr. Unger’s formative contributions to the field of endocrinology and metabolism played a large role in understanding and defining the interrelationships among obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.


Headshot Stephanie Chung

Dr. Stephanie T. Chung was selected as both a 2020 NIH Lasker Clinical Research Scholar and NIH Distinguished Scholar. Chung joined the NIH in 2013 as an assistant clinical investigator in the Section on Ethnicity and Health in NIDDK’s Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch. Five years later, she became a staff clinician and the co-director of NIDDK’s Metabolic Clinical Research Unit. Now a tenure-track investigator, Chung focuses her research and clinical work on reducing health disparities in diabetes and improving prevention strategies, treatments and health outcomes in youth and young adults with type 2 diabetes, particularly those from underrepresented minority populations.

Headshot Susan Yanovski

Dr. Susan Z. Yanovski received the Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service from The Obesity Society at their annual meeting in November. The Atkinson-Stern Award recognizes an individual or organization whose work has significantly improved the lives of those affected by obesity, whether through research, public policy, patient care, or other means. The nominators' write: Sue's endeavors not only have moved forward crucial research, but they also have informed policy to improve the lives of those with obesity on a broader level.

2020 NIDDK Employee Appreciation Awards

This year’s NIDDK Employee Appreciation Awards, presented October 19, recognized the following people for their noteworthy achievements and dedication to federal service:

Nancy Nossal Mentorship Award
Stephanie T. Chung
Charlie Jones, Ph.D.
Elissa Lei, Ph.D.

William G. Coleman Jr. Award for Diversity and Inclusion – Individual
Nicole Ray

William G. Coleman Jr. Award for Diversity and Inclusion – Group
Health Equities Research Group

Michele Barnard, Ph.D.
Najma Begum, Ph.D.
Dianne Camp, Ph.D.
Arthur L. Castle, Ph.D.
Mary Evans, Ph.D.
Frank A. Hamilton, M.D.
Jim Hyde, Ph.D.
Paul L. Kimmel, M.D.
Yan Li, Ph.D.
Winnie Martinez
Ryan Morris, Ph.D.
Jenna M. Norton
Afshin Parsa, M.D.
Peter Perrin, Ph.D.
Robert Clay Rivers, Ph.D.
Katrina J. Serrano, Ph.D.
Corinne Silva, Ph.D.
Lisa Spain, Ph.D.
Pamela Thornton, Ph.D.

Director’s Award (Scientific) – Individual
Kevin Abbott, M.D.
Marius Clore, M.D., Ph.D.
Matthew Doyle, Ph.D.
Barbara Rehermann, M.D.
Karen Usdin, Ph.D.
Jürgen Wess, Ph.D.

Director’s Award (Scientific) – Group
APOL1 Long-term Kidney Transplantation Outcomes Research Network Group

Paul L. Kimmel, M.D.
Afshin Parsa, M.D.

Cloud Based NIDDK Digital Pathology Repository Development Group
Errin Frahm
Cindy N. Roy, Ph.D.
Averell Sherker, M.D.

DEM Retreat Planning
Kristin Abraham, Ph.D.
Guillermo Arreaza, M.D.
Olivier Blondel, Ph.D.
Carol Haft, Ph.D.
Maren Laughlin, Ph.D.
Barbara Linder, M.D., Ph.D.
Saul Malozowski, M.D., Ph.D.
Corinne Silva, Ph.D.
Pamela Thornton, Ph.D.
Norann Zaghloul, Ph.D.

Diabetic Complications Consortium (DiaComp)
Kristin Abraham, Ph.D.
Bonnie Burgess-Beusse, Ph.D.
Daniel Gossett, Ph.D.
Carol Haft, Ph.D.
Frank A. Hamilton, M.D.
Deborah Hoshizaki, Ph.D.
Teresa Jones, M.D.
Chris Ketchum, Ph.D.
Saul Malozowski, M.D., Ph.D.
Christine Maric-Bilkan, Ph.D.
Aaron C. Pawlyk, Ph.D.
Tracy L. Rankin, Ph.D.
Luke E. Stoeckel, Ph.D.

Extramural COVID-19 Response Group
Bonnie Burgess-Beusse, Ph.D.
Mary Evans, Ph.D.
Paul L. Kimmel, M.D.
Maren Laughlin, Ph.D.
Christine G. Lee, M.D.
Jenna M. Norton
Afshin Parsa, M.D.
Peter Perrin, Ph.D.
Tracy L. Rankin, Ph.D.
David Saslowsky, Ph.D.
Ivonne Hernandez Schulman, M.D.
Lisa Spain, Ph.D.
Karen Teff, Ph.D.
Pamela Thornton, Ph.D.

LCP Research Team
Philip Anfinrud, Ph.D.
Adriaan Bax, Ph.D.
Valentyn Stadnytskyi, Ph.D.

NIDDK Fellows Advisory Board
Pavol Genzor, Ph.D.
Sezen Meydan, Ph.D.

Special Diabetes Program (SDP) Activities
Beena Akolkar, Ph.D.
Rebecca J. Cerio, Ph.D.
Mary C. Hanlon-Tilghman, Ph.D.
Julie Wallace, Ph.D.

Director’s Award (Clinical) – Individual
Christopher Koh, M.D.
Sheila Smith
Meryl Waldman, M.D.

Director’s Award (Clinical) – Group
ODCRS Clinical Team

Douglas C. Chang, M.D.
Barbara DeMers
Enrique Diaz
Sasha M. Kalous-Wessels
Jonathan Krakoff, M.D.
Barbara Jean Lovato-Morales
Joan Nethercutt
Theresa Rodzevik
Dacia Sorrell
Bradley Sullivan
Loranda Tarrant
Ethelena Tessay

Director’s Award (Administrative) – Individual
Leslie L. Curtis

Director’s Award (Administrative) – Group
Clinical IT Team
Matt Breymaier
Frank Velez

Computer Technology Branch (CTB) Help Desk Team
Omair Alam
Rouj Chalabi
Alex Huang
James Jobe
Tim Kerns
Vikas Khator
Kevin Lawrence
Phillip Osborn
Burnel Wilkins

Conflict of Interest Risk Management
Ravivarma Balakrishnan
Matthew Portnoy, Ph.D.
Theresa C. Smith
Jason White

NIDDK Commercial Management Office (CMO) Dana Sheets
Amy Trenkle

NIDDK COVID-19 Media Response Team
Katie Clark
Heather Martin
Amy F. Reiter
Alyssa Voss
Lisa Yuan

Office Engagement Committee
Lian Bien
Sabrina Intoranat
Becca Peak

Personnel Action Tracking System Team
Nikki Durham
Kathy Grimmnitz
Kevin Lawrence
Olga Meyerson
Monica Pittenger

Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research Communications Group
Emily Back
Kimberly Barch
Drew Bremer, M.D., Ph.D.
Leslie L. Curtis
Toni Dove
Rachel Fisher
Julia Jackson
Heather Martin
Kathryn Y. McMurry
Nancy Siebert Murphy
Charlotte Pratt
Heather Rieff, Ph.D.
Jen Rymaruk
Hilary C. Shutak
Megan Singh, Ph.D.
Hillary Wicai Viers
Paul Williams

TAO NIDCR Service Center Team
Vlado Knezevic, M.D.
Mythreyi Shastri, Ph.D.
Ediz Yonter

NIDDK Innovation Award
Dana Sheets

Length of Service Certificates:
50 Years of Service

Frank A. Hamilton, M.D.

40 Years of Service
Howard A. Austin III
Clifton Bogardus, M.D.
Thomas DiRodis
Eric R. Henry, Ph.D.
Karen G. Kavena
Mark Levine, M.D.
Anita Marie Stuck
Attila Szabo, Ph.D.
Rachel Williams

30 Years of Service
Danielle M. Ford
Hugo Martin Garraffo
Teresa Lindquist
Saul Malozowski, M.D., Ph.D.
Terra L. Vinson
Jürgen Wess, Ph.D.

20 Years of Service
Beena Akolkar, Ph.D.
James Baber
Andrea R. Brush
Mengli Cai, Ph.D.
Randy Copeland
Chunwei Du
Herman Edskes, Ph.D.
Errin Frahm
Jim Hyde, Ph.D.
Sylvester Jackson
Ann Jerkins, Ph.D.
Robin J. Klevins
Thach (Todd) Le
Antoinette Rabel
Elenita Magno Rivera
Heather Marie Rogers
Jeni Smits
Kala Viswanathan
Kimberly Wiedrich
Yangu Zhao

10 Years of Service
Dianne Camp, Ph.D.
Maurio Carter
Jianying Feng
Nancy Fryzek
Laurel Hovis
Ziya Kirkali, M.D.
Rochelle M. Kithcart
Helen Looker
Louis K. Martey
Lee Matthews
Samantha McDonald
Barbora Piknova, Ph.D.
Roza Podkovyrova
Svetlana Potapova
Kevin M. Reeves
Amy F. Reiter
Mythreyi D. Shastri
Dana Sheets
Averell H. Sherker, M.D.
Harold Smith, Ph.D.
Rebecca Torrance
Vanessa Aileen White
Burnel Wilkins
Kelly L. Yager

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