NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2024

Commendations & Commencements


Dr. Craig Hales

Dr. Craig Hales has joined the NIDDK Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition as a program director for clinical obesity prevention and treatment. Prior to joining NIDDK, Hales was a clinical reviewer with the Food and Drug Administration's Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity, where he advised sponsors throughout their drug development program life cycle to ensure compliance with FDA regulations and guidance and evaluated marketing applications for approval of anti-obesity medications. Hales is a preventive medicine physician and a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.


Dr. Jenny Hinshaw

Dr. Jenny Hinshaw, Senior Investigator in NIDDK’s Laboratory of Cell & Molecular Biology, received the 2024 Sir Bernard Katz Award, given by the Biophysical Society. She was recognized for her outstanding scientific career in understanding the role of dynamins in membrane fission and fusion and was honored as the keynote speaker at the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting during the Membrane Fusion, Fission, and Traffic Subgroup's symposium in February.

Dr. Florencia Pratto

Dr. Florencia Pratto was appointed as a Stadtman tenure-track investigator in the Genetics and Biochemistry Branch of the NIDDK Division of Intramural Research in January. Pratto received her Ph.D. from the Autonomous University of Madrid and completed her postdoctoral work at NIH studying recombination initiation during mammalian meiosis. She later became a staff scientist at NIDDK. Pratto’s research seeks to understand the control of meiotic recombination and how meiotic events are regulated to ensure fertility and avoid genomic instability.

Fond Farewell

Van Nguyen

Van Nguyen, NIDDK’s Budget Officer, has retired after 30 years of federal service at NIH, with 14 years at NIDDK. As Budget Officer, Nguyen served as senior advisor to Institute leadership for all NIDDK’s financial activities, including grants, Research and Development (R&D) Contracts, Research Management and Support (RMS) activities, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), gift funds, and royalties. Prior to her time at NIDDK, Nguyen worked at the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

In Memoriam

Dr. Sanford Garfield

Dr. Sanford “Sandy” Garfield, retired program director from the NIDDK Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases, died October 30, 2023. In Dr. Garfield’s 25 years at NIDDK, he oversaw the Diabetes Centers Program during a time of growth focusing on translating basic research into clinical trials, culminating in the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program. He arrived in 1987 after a productive academic career, first at the University of Virginia, and later at the University of Cincinnati, leading research on how the mammalian liver is organized and functions in health and disease, particularly in diabetes. In his role at NIDDK, Dr. Garfield became a valued link to American Indian and Alaska Native populations who had been particularly struck by the diabetes epidemic. He became the director of NIDDK’s Diabetes Education in Tribal Schools Program and coordinated the development of innovative teaching tools to increase the understanding of science and health among Native American students from kindergarten through grade 12. Dr. Garfield was highly regarded as an important resource about clinical trials and at-risk populations and was a valued colleague and mentor for staff across NIDDK.

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