NIDDK Director's Update Winter 2023

News Around NIDDK

NIDDK leader receives government’s highest honor for civil service

Camille HooverCamille Hoover, NIDDK Executive Officer

NIDDK Executive Officer Camille Hoover has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Executive 2023 Presidential Rank Award. Granted by the President of the United States, the award is the highest accolade the federal government can bestow upon career civilian employees and recognizes their exceptional, long-term accomplishments. Notably, this honor marks Hoover's second Presidential Rank Award, following her Meritorious Executive recognition in 2017.

As NIDDK’s Executive Officer for the past 11 years, Hoover has been deeply committed to nurturing employee development and a workplace that fosters growth and inclusion for all. A trailblazer within the federal government and NIH, she has worked relentlessly to effect positive change through many initiatives that have had a far-reaching impact on the entire federal workforce. This award is a testament to Hoover's extraordinary leadership and unwavering dedication to excellence in public service throughout her amazing 35-year federal career.

NIDDK welcomes two new AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows

This Fall, two new American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellows (STPFs), Drs. Jason Conage-Pough and Stephanie Mutchler, joined the ranks of NIDDK to lend their scientific expertise in advancing the institute’s mission.

The AAAS STPF program began 50 years ago, in 1973, to provide newly minted scientists and engineers opportunities to learn about policymaking while contributing their knowledge and analytical skills to the federal government. By connecting the fields of science with policy, the program aims to foster a network of emerging leaders who are prepared to develop and deliver solutions to address societal challenges. NIH began hosting AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows in 2001.

Dr. Jason Conage-PoughDr. Jason Conage-Pough

Conage-Pough joined the NIDDK Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) and provides expertise to the division’s efforts in community outreach, emerging health technologies research, and statistical analysis working with his mentor, KUH Deputy Director Dr. Chris Ketchum. Conage-Pough also has a strong interest in service and educational outreach to trainees underrepresented in STEM fields and medically underserved communities. He received his doctoral degree in cancer biology from Emory University and most recently worked as a postdoctoral associate at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I hope to contribute to the identification of robust biomarkers for kidney disease,” said Conage-Pough. “Coming from an oncology background, I’d like to observe some advancement in precision medicine efforts in kidney research.”

Dr. Stephanie MutchlerDr. Stephanie Mutchler

Mutchler joined the NIDDK Office of Scientific Program and Policy Analysis (OSPPA). She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from University of Pittsburgh and completed her postdoctoral research there in renal physiology. Mutchler will be working in several OSPPA areas, including planning and reporting activities with her mentors Drs. Heather Rieff, OSPPA director, and Robert Tilghman, one of OSPPA’s health science policy analysts.

“I became an AAAS fellow because I wanted to understand the implications of research on health beyond my view from the bench,” said Mutchler. “Kidney care still faces enormous challenges from scientific and equity perspectives and there is a huge opportunity for policy changes to create impact for those with kidney disease, diabetes and obesity.”

For more information about AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship program, visit

Read about NIDDK’s recent AAAS Policy Fellow alumna, Dr. Saira Mehmood in the Summer 2022 issue of the NIDDK Director’s Update.

Mouse phenotyping service helps advance metabolic research

Hand in a blue glove holds a white lab mouse

Mice used for research can have great variability and be challenging for research replication. But now, NIDDK-funded resources are available to investigators using mouse models to help standardize and facilitate their research. The Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers–Live (MMPC-Live), located at various academic institutions across the United States, provide standardized metabolic and physiologic services for live mouse models of diabetes, diabetes complications, obesity, and related diseases. Researchers can ship live mice to one of the MMPC-Live centers and, on a fee-for-service basis, obtain a range of complex exams used to characterize mouse metabolism, blood composition, energy balance and physical activity, eating and exercise, insulin resistance, organ function, metabolic processes, physiology, histology, and measures of diabetic complications. Many tests are done in living animals and are designed to show subtle-to-complex traits that define models of metabolic disease. For more information about MMPC-Live centers and services, visit the website at

Dr. Rodgers participates in Health Coverage Fellowship program

Drs. Griffin Rodgers and Daniel HaberDr. Griffin Rodgers participates in a panel on chronic diseases with Dr. Daniel Haber at the annual Health Coverage Fellowship program in Wellesley, MA. Dr. Haber is the director of the Mass General Cancer Center in Boston, MA.

In September, NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin Rodgers shared his expertise about rising trends in diabetes in youth at the 2023 Health Coverage Fellowship program held in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The annual event, hosted by Boston-based journalist and author Larry Tye and sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation in collaboration with other foundations, convenes journalists in health and medicine to listen to top experts describe important topics that are underreported in the media. Dr. Rodgers highlighted stark increases in diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes among people under age 20 in the United States and stressed the importance of NIDDK-funded research to address social determinants of health in prevention efforts.

Laughlin selected as Co-Director of NIDDK Office of Obesity Research

Maren Laughlin.Dr. Maren Laughlin

Dr. Maren Laughlin has been named as the new Co-Director of the NIDDK Office of Obesity Research (OOR). Laughlin, senior advisor for Integrative Physiology in the NIDDK Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases, has served as the acting co-director of the OOR since 2022.

Since arriving at NIDDK in 2004, Laughlin has managed a large portfolio of clinical and basic research grants, serving as a scientific official for major multi-center clinical trials and consortia that have advanced understanding of metabolism in living systems. Laughlin was selected to co-direct the OOR for her considerable scientific leadership experience and expertise in clinical study design and planning, regulatory oversight, and management of studies involving complex physiologic and metabolic phenotyping, functional and molecular imaging, and development of novel integrative metabolic assessments.

Editors' note: Read more about Laughlin in her Winter 2022 Getting to Know profile.

NIDDK's 2023 blood drive supports Clinical Center patients

In November, NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers visited the NIH Blood Bank to participate in NIDDK’s 2023 blood drive. This year, 30 NIDDK staff, fellows, contractors, and family members donated blood, platelets, and other crucial blood products. These contributions played a vital role in supporting patients undergoing medical treatment at the NIH Clinical Center and showcased the commitment of the NIDDK community to making a positive impact on the lives of those in need.

NIDDK staff donating bloodClockwise from left to right: Phi Truong, Computer Technology Branch; Lisa Yuan, Office of Communications and Public Liaison; Katie Tucker, Office of Workforce Development & Engagement (OWDE), Dr. Theo Heller, Liver Diseases Branch; Camila Torrella, OWDE; and NIDDK Director, Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers.

NIDDK employees honored at annual awards ceremony

NIDDK held its Employee Appreciation Awards Ceremony in person again, the first time since 2019. The event, which took place in November, focused on celebrating NIDDK employees’ remarkable scientific, clinical, and administrative achievements in the last year.

Poster design for NIDDK Employee Appreciation Awards Ceremony and Reception showing an illustration of a diverse group of people on top of a neural circuit between vagal sensory neurons and pancreatic islet β-cells in mice.The poster, designed by NIDDK Fellow Dr. Santosh Kumar, is from his research in the NIDDK Diabetes, Endocrinology, & Obesity Branch and depicts a neural circuit between vagal sensory neurons and pancreatic islet β-cells in mice.

See the full list of winners in the Commendations & Commencements section.

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