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Director/Acting Director's (NCTR) Comments

William Slikker, Ph.D.,

Have you ever stopped to think how lucky we are? NCTR researchers, both contractor and federal, continue to benefit from the excellent facilities, the synergy of the energetic and talented staff, and the financial advantage of government or equivalent salaries in the beautiful land of opportunity here in Arkansas.


Daniel A. Casciano, Ph.D.,

I guess my tenure as Director was more accidental than intended because I decided only after I was acting Director for seven months that I wanted to lead this institute. I initially was interested in the Deputy Director for Research position because I felt that I could influence the use of molecular tools in the various toxicological disciplines that make up this Center, and because I felt that I had accomplished the goals I had set as Director of the Division of Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology.


Bernard H. Schwetz, DVM, Ph.D.

During this 35th anniversary year of NCTR and the 100th anniversary year of the FDA, I am pleased to share my thoughts about the Center during the years that I was the Director, 1993 to 1999. Let me declare my bias up front—I have said often that being the Director of NCTR was the best job I’ve had.


Arthur R. Norris, (Acting Director)
(1991 – 1992)

I offer these recollections for the short period of time that I was Acting Director of the Center. Not only was it a short period, about two years, it was nearly 15 years ago. Memory fails in general, and memory fails specifically in trying to single out that short period of the 18 years I was privileged to be a part of NCTR.


Ronald W. Hart, Ph.D.
(1980 – 1992)

I arrived in Arkansas during the heat wave of 1980. For over 45 days in a row the temperature exceeded 100 degrees each day without a drop of rain. The Center had a combined budget from EPA and FDA of less than six million dollars, and the EPA had just announced that based on the negative report from the National Academy of Sciences and the failure of the Center to meet the expectations of the EPA it would be withdrawing its financial support.


Thomas Cairns, Ph.D.

The NCTR Directorship "A Wonderful and Glorious Burden" Dear FDA Colleagues: As we prepare to celebrate the 35th anniversary of NCTR and the 100th anniversary of the FDA, I am proud to have been a part of your history. In the late 1970s my arrival at the gates of NCTR with the then FDA Commissioner, Donald Kennedy, to assume the leadership role was not exactly under the best of times.


Morris Cranmer, Ph.D.

In 1969, President Nixon banned the United States participation in the production, storage, or use of biological weapons for military purposes. Early in 1970, the Biological Operations function of the Pine Bluff Arsenal became available for reassignment.




The FDA Centennial occurs on June 30, 2006 and marks the 100th anniversary of the Agency's founding, and is a major milestone in FDA's celebrated history.

During 2006, NCTR also marks a milestone in its own history - its 35th anniversary.

FDA Centennial/NCTR 35th Anniversary Calendar of Events

April 17, 2006 (week)
FDA Science Forum

September 14, 2006
NCTR Employee Honor Awards

August 9, 2006
NCTR Centennial Celebration Day

9:30 a.m. - Program begins

Welcome - Dr. William Slikker, Jr., Acting Director

Presentation of Colors - U.S. Naval Reserve Color Guard

National Anthem - Mrs. Latriana Robertson

9:45 a.m. - Political Perspectives

The Honorable Blanche L. Lincoln, U.S. Senate

The Honorable Mike Ross, U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Mark Pryor, U. S. Senate

10:10 a.m. - Keynote Address

Janet Woodcock, M.D., Deputy Commissioner for Operations, FDA

10:25 a.m. - Musical Interlude, Z-Tech

10:30 a.m. - Remarks

Dr. Bernard Schwetz, former Director, NCTR, former Associate Commissioner for Science and Acting Commissioner for the FDA

Dr. Lawrence Davis, Jr.,  Chancellor, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Dr. I. Dodd Wilson, Chancellor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Mr. Dennis Baker, Regional Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Southwest Region

Dr. Morris Cranmer, former Director, NCTR

Dr. Ronald Hart, former Director, NCTR

Mr. Arthur R. Norris, former Deputy Director/Acting Director, NCTR

Dr. Daniel Casciano, former Director, NCTR

11:10 a.m.

Employee Recognition

Dr. William Slikker and Dr. Janet Woodcock

Alumni Salute

Mr. Burton Love, FDA Alumni Association

Closing Remarks

Dr William Slikker

11:30 a.m. - Lunch (tickets required)

1:00 p.m. - Tours


NCTR:  A Look Back

Established by executive order in 1971, The National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) is internationally recognized for research that addresses the mechanisms of toxicity of chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs; the risks associated with chemical and microbial food contamination, and identifies biomarkers for terrorism due to biological and/or chemical exposure.

Noteworthy Achievements

Through the past 35 years, the Center has achieved many achievements of note.

  • Established principles of operation, management, and administration of NCTR. (1971).

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) became a funding member of the Center. (1971).

  • Establishment of Scientific Advisory Board to advise the Director, NCTR, in establishing, implementing, and evaluating the research programs that assist the Commissioner of Food and Drugs in fulfilling his regulatory responsibilities. The Board provides an extra-agency review in ensuring that the research programs at NCTR are scientifically sound and pertinent. (1971).

  • Developed design criteria for a "Barrier System" (a specific pathogen-free animal holding facility) and criteria for chemical compound(s) and animal strain(s) selection. (1971-1972).

  • Initiated the Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program (INTOX) with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) for graduate studies leading to a doctoral degree in toxicology. (1972-present).

  • Detected bacterial pathogens in the cage water from commercially purchased mice. (1972-present).


NCTR:  Looking Forward

NCTR is an internationally recognized resource for innovative and integrative research and as such, has the staff, the facilities, and the research tools to conduct innovative, integrative research that is used to guide and support regulatory decisions. Its research applies to:

  • Chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs evaluated for adverse health outcomes
  • Cancer, birth defects, neurological disease, and liver toxicity
  • Foods safety from microbial and chemical contamination
  • Homeland security from biological and chemical terrorism 

The NCTR staff includes 115 Ph.D. scientists representing a wide array of scientific expertise. The program is supported by approximately 470 support scientists, on-site contractors, and administrative staff. Many of the senior staff members have extensive experience conducting multi-disciplinary public health research. Under-graduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting scientists come to NCTR to learn new technologies and scientific disciplines and to contribute their skills and perspectives to the NCTR research program.


NCTR:  Impact on Arkansas

The NCTR definitely strengthens the local and state economy.  The Center is located in the south central area of the state, in Jefferson County in Jefferson, Arkansas.


NCTR:  FDA Centennial Consumer Article



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