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  4. Elena Sanovich, Ph.D.

Elena Sanovich, Ph.D.

Scientific Review Officer: Grants Review Branch
Special Emphasis Panels Section

Responsibilities & Activities

After finishing a Ph.D. in Biology I completed three years of Medical School before I worked as a scientist at the NINDS Laboratory of Neurobiology on blood-brain and blood-brain-tumor barriers for seven years. Afterwards, I joined the Angiogenesis Resource Group at NCI/SAIC (as Scientist I and II), where I introduced the use of a mouse melanoma tumor line since it synthesizes its own natural marker—melanin, and made the initial key observation using electron and confocal microscopy and immunohistochemistry, that tumor cells are recruited into the walls of tumor blood vessels (2000). This observation was the springboard for a new project which attracted a group of investigators. This work established that the tumor cell itself, by forming part of the vessel wall, could help ensure delivery of blood to the tumor. My observation also indicated that a specific anti-endothelial agent would have to be accompanied by an anti-tumor cell agent in order to eliminate vessels in the tumor, thereby shrinking the tumor. (5th International Symposium on Predictive Oncology and Therapy, Geneva, 2000; Cancer Research 63, 2812-2819, June 1, 2003).

I returned to academia as a Research Assistant Scientist and Director of the Imaging Core at the University of Maryland. My prior experience served as the prime motivation for developing my future career at NIH. The intellectual ferment that I was part of when I was a member of the Laboratory of Neurobiology in NINDS was one of the MOST rewarding times of my career. The thought of returning to NIH served as a glowing reminder of an institution that maintained among the highest intellectual standards in the world. During my internship at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), I learned all the stages of the Scientific Peer Review and gained experience in reviewing contracts and grant applications with different mechanisms. It is clear that the process of Peer Review is of high importance.

With high enthusiasm, I brought my experience to the NIDDK Scientific Review Branch where, since 2011, I have been responsible for organizing and conducting review meetings for all three NIDDK Divisions for a variety of mechanisms (R01, R03, R21, R34, P30, P01, UC4, U01, U34, U54 and UG3/UH3) including those with Clinical trial required, Consortia and Centers. I am currently managing review of RC2 applications, NIDDK’s High Impact, Interdisciplinary Science program. I participate in applicant training workshops on the role of the scientific review officer in the peer review process, and contribute to mock study sections.