Commendations & Commencements
Dr. Ian Bellayr joined NIDDK’s Office of Clinical Research Support as a regulatory affairs specialist interested in the development of drug products for the prevention and treatment of disease. Bellayr comes to NIDDK from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where he served as a regulatory specialist aiding intramural investigators in the development and regulation of novel vaccine candidates. He also worked as a product regulator at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Angel de la Cruz Landrau joined NIDDK as the Director of the Fellowship Office. De la Cruz Landrau previously worked with the Intramural Training Office at NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Intramural Training Office as a scientific program manager overseeing training and career development for all trainees. De la Cruz Landrau also served as a program manager for the High School Scientific Training and Enrichment Program in NIH’s Office of Intramural Training and Education.
Dr. Martha Garcia joined NIDDK’s Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition as the director of the drug-induced liver injury and fatty liver disease basic science programs. Prior to joining NIDDK, she was a program officer at NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences where she administered a portfolio of grants in the areas of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, delivery of molecules and biologics, and wound healing.
Dr. Marika Heinicke joined NIDDK’s Office of Clinical Research Support as a regulatory affairs specialist where she will assist NIDDK-sponsored study teams in complying with applicable regulatory requirements and Good Clinical Practice. Prior to joining NIDDK, she served as a clinical coordinator in the Office of Clinical Trials Operations and Management at NIH's National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Dr. Margaret Rodgers joined NIDDK as a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator and acting section chief of the Ribonucleoprotein Assembly section in NIDDK’s Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics. Prior to joining NIDDK, Rodgers was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Ravi Ravichandran joined NIDDK’s Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition as a program director for bioinformatics and data science. Prior to joining NIDDK, Ravichandran managed the Biomedical Informatics Research Network at NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences and led the data uniformity efforts for the Protein Data Bank at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Dr. Anne Sumner, section chief in NIDDK’s Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, received the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Recognition Award from the American Heart Association. She was honored for her dedication to mentoring early-career scientists from underrepresented groups and promoting opportunities for people with disabilities while conducting research on the detection and prevention of diabetes and its complications in people of African descent.
Dr. Enrico Cabib, retired NIDDK principal investigator, died on February 24. Dr. Cabib’s scientific acumen and humorous outlook enriched NIDDK since he joined in 1967. He trained many of the best scientists in his field and demonstrated a passion for the bench throughout his career. As a postdoctoral fellow in the early 1950s, Dr. Cabib discovered the second and third sugar nucleotides, the sugar donor function of sugar nucleotides, and the first sugar transfer reaction. With these discoveries, Dr. Cabib helped his professor, Dr. Luis Leloir, win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1970. In his first experiment working at NIH, he discovered chitin synthetase, a crucial component of the yeast cell wall. He also pointed out that some of the yeast cell wall components are not found in people, but are common among fungi, making them apt targets for anti-fungal agents. Dr. Cabib remained a leader in his field and discovered most of what is known about the biochemistry and genetics of the yeast cell wall. Despite his incredible achievements, he remained humble until he retired from NIH in 2012 at 87 years of age. Dr. Cabib’s extraordinary life story is told in his own words in his autobiography, “Climbing the Yeast Cell Wall.”
Dr. Sarah Kalser, a retired NIDDK program director, died on March 4. She was a pioneer for women in her field as the first female grants administrator and the first female program director at NIDDK, then called the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases. Dr. Kalser was recognized for her contributions to the foundational research on atropine metabolism and drug metabolism by the liver in response to hypothermia and chronic cold exposure. Additionally, she played a key role in leading research programs that developed oral bile acid therapy for gallstones and helped establish liver transplantation as a viable clinical therapy for end-stage liver disease. Her notable achievements earned her various honors, including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the American Gastroenterological Association, and several NIH awards.