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NIH Record  
Vol. LIX, No. 24
November 30, 2007
Heritage Program Offers Portrait of A Beautiful Land, Daunting Problems
Collins Wins Presidential Medal of Freedom
Two Institutes Share Emmy Award
WHO’s Chan To Give Barmes Lecture
NIDDK’s McPherron Among 11 PECASE Winners
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Welcome to Planet Math
NIDDK Laboratory of Biological Modeling Turns 50
  Dr. Arthur Sherman
  Dr. Arthur Sherman

When you think lab, chances are you think of the “wet” variety, with bottles of reagents and glassware in the sink. But NIDDK’s Laboratory of Biological Modeling is different than most NIH labs. Instead of specialized plumbing and pipettes, here are computers with full-color graphs of computations bending like soccer nets. That’s because this lab uses mathematical models, and it’s been working this way for half a century. The hero of this story is math.

Yet “a lot of people don’t know about us,” says Dr. Arthur Sherman, LBM chief. “People don’t know much about math, or if they do, they have bad memories of it.”

NIH’s New ‘Council of Councils’ Learns Mission at Planning Session

Although its title sounds august enough to be accompanied by the swelling thunder of tympanis, the new Council of Councils, which convened for the first time Nov. 8, has a mission more methodic than musical. Created by the NIH Reform Act of 2006, the council is an advisory body to the NIH director with oversight of Common Fund expenditures, which pay for broad, trans-NIH initiatives that need support no single institute or center could offer.

The daylong meeting was technically a planning session—not all of the council’s 30 members have completed the requisite paperwork for an official inaugural meeting, which will take place sometime in the spring. Nonetheless, the new members, representing the advisory councils of all 27 ICs plus three ad hoc representatives, got an overview of their mission from Dr. Alan Krensky, director of the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI).