NIDDK Director's Update Winter 2023

Commendations & Commencements


Dr. Dhananjay (Jay) Gupta

Dr. Dhananjay (Jay) Gupta has joined the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases as program director for basic research in obesity and type 2 diabetes. In this role, Gupta oversees a portfolio of research focusing on the pathways involved in intermediary metabolism that affect endocrine and metabolic diseases, as well as basic studies in animals related to the neural control of energy balance and weight gain, loss, and maintenance. Prior to joining NIDDK, Gupta was an assistant professor of medicine in the Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism Research Unit at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

Fond Farewell

Dr. Frank Hamilton

Dr. Frank Hamilton, program director in the NIDDK Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, retired in September after a long and distinguished career in federal service. Early in his career, Hamilton worked within the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and participated in the original Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Task Force on Black and Minority Health. The resulting landmark “Heckler Report,” published in 1985, led to the creation of the HHS Office of Minority Health. Since then, Hamilton has worked throughout his career to increase diversity within the NIDDK workforce and has been active with NIDDK’s Network of Minority Health Research Investigators since its creation in 1999. His contributions to NIDDK scientific achievements are prolific, including seminal work on H. pylori gastritis, celiac disease, functional and gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders, fecal incontinence, and gastroparesis and premalignant conditions of the GI tract.

Editors’ note: read Getting to Know: Dr. Frank Hamilton from the Spring 2021 issue of the NIDDK Director’s Update, and a special cover story feature in the ACG Magazine.

Dr. Robert Kuczmarski

Dr. Robert Kuczmarski, program director in the NIDDK Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, will retire in December. Prior to joining NIH in 2001, Kuczmarski worked for 16 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), where he had primary responsibility for topics related to methods for assessment of overweight/obesity and body composition, tracking national prevalence estimates, and development of the CDC growth charts including the BMI charts, instrumental for clinical assessment of overweight and obesity in pediatric populations. Over a period of more than 22 years at NIDDK, Kuczmarski developed and directed a robust program of clinical research on the biomedical, behavioral, societal, and environmental approaches to the prevention, treatment, and management of overweight and obesity across the lifespan.

In Memoriam

Dr. David Badman

Dr. David Badman, retired hematology grants program director from the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases, passed away on October 12 in his home in rural Maryland. He was 81 years old. Badman retired in January 2005 after more than 30 years at NIH. Upon retirement, he oversaw the NIH program Rapid Access to Interventional Development (NIH-RAID), part of then-NIH Director Elias Zerhouni’s Roadmap for Medical Research that aimed to facilitate clinical research to develop new therapeutic agents. Over his career, Badman advanced research on iron overload in children with sickle cell anemia and was proud of his work promoting stem cell research and of innovating the use of zebrafish in research for diabetes and kidney disease.


Elaine Cochran

Elaine Cochran, MSN, CNRP, pediatric nurse practitioner and advanced diabetes management nurse practitioner in NIDDK's Diabetes, Endocrine and Obesity Branch, won Nurse Practitioner of the Year from the NIH Clinical Center. Cochran, one of two certified diabetes educators at NIH, provides superior clinical care and educates pediatric and adult endocrine fellowship trainees. She has been instrumental in running the Blood Glucose Management Service, managing over 200 inpatient consults per year in the Clinical Center. She was key to starting an outpatient diabetes clinic to serve the long-term care needs of Clinical Center patients who develop diabetes due to their underlying conditions or due to treatment of those conditions, filling a critical unmet need of the hospital.

Dr. T. Jake Liang

Dr. T. Jake Liang, NIH Distinguished Investigator and chief of NIDDK’s Liver Diseases Branch, received the 2023 Dr. Howard K. Koh Award from the Federal Asian Pacific American Council. The award recognizes people from the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community who have demonstrated excellence in leadership at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and significantly contributed to the HHS mission. Dr. Howard Koh, HHS former assistant secretary for health, presented the award, acknowledging Liang’s many achievements, including his outstanding clinical career studying liver diseases; success in bridging clinical and basic science; contributions as an advisor on the White House initiative for a national hepatitis C elimination program; and tireless efforts to advance health equity.

Robert Rivers, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Rivers, acting director of the NIDDK Office of Minority Health Research Coordination, received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Mary Brodie-Henderson Call to Service Award as a member of the Supporters of Eight Changes for Racial Equity (8CRE) team. The prestigious award is among the highest honors bestowed by the HHS Secretary and celebrates employees who, through volunteer service, make a direct and consequential impact on advancing the HHS mission. The Supporters of 8CRE team was recognized for partnering with the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention’s Friends of the 7 Acts of Change to establish a monthly live web series called Authentic Conversations, and for developing a program to mentor the next generation of scientists and thought leaders in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

2023 NIDDK Director’s Awards

This year’s NIDDK Employee Appreciation Awards, presented November 14, recognized the following people for their noteworthy achievements and dedication to federal service:

Nancy Nossal Mentorship Award

  • Christina Coriz
  • Theo Heller

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

  • Ranganath Muniyappa

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

  • Distinguished Postbac Scholars Program Team
    • Susan Buchanan
    • Angel de la Cruz Landrau
    • Sandy Gomez

NIDDK Director’s Award (Scientific) – Individual

  • Robert Best
  • Barbara Linder
  • Ronald Ouwerkerk

Director’s Award (Scientific) – Group

  • Development of the Management of Pain Funding Opportunity Group
    • Dana Andersen
    • John Connaughton
    • Christopher Mullins
    • Cheryl Nordstrom
    • David Saslowsky
    • Lan Tian
    • Ashley Xia
  • Hypoglycemia Unawareness International Consortium Group
    • Guillermo Arreaza
    • Henry Burch
    • Barbara Linder
  • Neural Plasticity in Energy Homeostasis and Obesity Workshop
    • Bradley Cooke
    • Diana Cummings
    • Padma Maruvada
  • NIH Atlas of Molecular Atlases Group
    • Beena Akolkar
    • Nandini Arunkumar
    • Eric Brunskill
    • Robert Carter
    • Richard Conroy
    • Jyoti Dayal
    • Susan Gregurick
    • Stephen Hewitt
    • Shannon Hughes
    • Daniel Miller
    • Ajay Pillai
    • Belinda Seto
    • Simona Volpi
    • Ty Voss
    • Xujing Wang
    • Brad Wood
    • Yong Yao
    • Norann Zaghloul
  • NIDDK Legislative Activities Team
    • Sophia Jeon
    • Mary Hanlon-Tilghman
  • OSPPA Outreach to Fellows Group
    • Erica Bizzell
    • Julie Wallace
  • Rebuilding the O'Brien Kidney Centers to stimulate innovation
    • Christine Maric-Bilkan
    • Susan Mendley
    • Deepak Nihalani
    • Ivonne Hernandez Schulman

Director’s Award (Clinical) – Group

  • ETCHED Study Group
    • Ben Collins
    • Tom DiRodis
    • Amanda Gonzalez
    • Tracy Lovato
    • Elena Pack
    • Christina Rodriguez
    • Juliana Thomas
    • Laura Vazquez
    • Rachel Williams
    • Toni Williams
    • Dorota Wasak
    • Christian Young
  • NIDDK Clinical Research Nurses
    • Michelle Ashmus
    • Jeannette Kim
    • Jaha Norman-Wheeler
    • Anna Liza Fernandez Rivero

Director’s Award (Administrative) – Individual

  • Melbourne Bull Jr.
  • Novella Dorsey

Director’s Award (Administrative) – Group

  • ACT Development Team
    • Andrea Brush
    • Ryan Campbell
    • John Dilag
    • Min Gao
    • Caroline Hrvoj
    • Deepti Krishnan
    • Benjamin Malin
    • Massoud Niakani
    • Caitlin O’Donnell
    • Gustavo Salinas
    • Angela Thomas
    • Camila Torrella
    • Katie Tucker
  • CTB Desktop Engineering and Help Desk Team
    • Marcus Anderson
    • Tabitha Beltran
    • Zain Berg
    • Rouj Chalabi
    • Nicole Davis
    • Radd Guarin
    • Aziz Hanonu
    • Freddie Hill
    • Cheng-Hung Huang
    • Chris Kelly
    • Kelli Kerrigan
    • Andrew Moon
    • Phil Osborn
    • Janet Padua Neang
    • Chelsea Palma
    • James Robinson
    • Minh Tran
    • Jeff Wilkerson
  • IDEA-C SharePoint Team
    • Michelle Amaya
    • Kelly Bugden
  • Machine Learning Classification of Grant Applications Group
    • Krishna Collie
    • Yuba Dhakal
    • Chris Ketchum
    • Xue Lian Li
    • Sreenivasan Rajamoni Nadar
    • Harjinder Sandhu
    • Neha Shah
  • NIDDK Extramural Budget and Award Execution (EBAE) Tiger Team
    • Dee Doherty
    • Karin Johnson
    • Teresa Jones
    • Chris Ketchum
    • Barbara Linder
    • Karl Malik
    • Van Nguyen
    • Bob Pike
    • Tracy Rankin
    • Reaya Reuss
    • David Robinson
    • Averell Sherker
    • Aynur Unalp-Arida
  • NIDDK Health Equity Working Group Portfolio Analysis Team
    • Saira Mehmood
    • Robert Rivers
    • Aliecia Shepherd
    • Vanessa White
  • NIDDK In-Person Council Meeting Planning and Support Team
    • Terry Barnes
    • Robert Borie
    • Devon Drew
    • Claudia Gerwin
    • Radd Guarin
    • Vikas Khator
    • Chelsea Palma
    • Matt Portnoy
    • Phi Truong
    • Burnel Wilkins
  • NIDDK Style Guide
    • Famin Ahmed
    • Emily Back
    • Leslie Curtis
    • Ben Dedman
    • Bryan Elrod
    • Julia Jackson
    • Kathy Kranzfelder
    • Heather Martin
    • Laura Nelson
    • Matt Oldham
    • Rathna Ramani
    • Amy Reiter
    • Jen Rymaruk
    • Joslin Sheridan
    • Alyssa Voss

Innovation Awards

  • Budget Visualization and WaterFall Plot Innovators
    • Neha Shah
    • Aliecia Shepherd
  • Migration of to .gov Team
    • Kevin Abbott
    • Denise Alford
    • Andrew Bojanowski
    • Kevin Chan
    • Carl Fils-Aime
    • Ryan Follmer
    • Beth Forrest
    • Kevin Friel
    • Raquel Greer
    • Adam Hall
    • Warren Herder
    • Julia Jackson
    • Kirsten Johansen
    • Sandeep Josan
    • Clint McMahon
    • Kimberly Nieman
    • Yi Peng
    • Josh Pyke
    • Joshua Reitnauer
    • Ivonne Hernandez Schulman
    • Neha Shah
    • C. Daniel Sheets
    • Dana Sheets
    • Hilary Shutak
    • Clayton Tompkins
    • James Wetmore
    • Erin White
  • NIDDK Data Management and Sharing Guidance Development Team
    • Kevin Abbott
    • Nancy Alexander
    • Denise Alford
    • Eric Brunskill
    • Susan Buchanan
    • Bertram Canagarajah
    • Katie Clark
    • Daniel Gossett
    • Chris Ketchum
    • Peter Kozel
    • Sharon Lawlor
    • Deepak Nihalani
    • Voula Osganian
    • Afshin Parsa
    • Ludmila Pawlikowska
    • Matt Portnoy
    • Reaya Reuss
    • Rebecca Rodriguez
    • Yaron Rotman
    • Cindy Roy
    • David Saslowsky
    • Dana Sheets
    • Thomas Tatham
    • Frank Velez
    • Xujing Wang
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