Dr. Marie Bernard
Marie Bernard Named Deputy Director
Dr. Marie Bernard joined NIA as deputy director of the institute on Oct. 12, 2008. Dr. Bernard was previously the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Geriatric Medicine and professor and chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. She also held an appointment as associate chief of staff for geriatrics and extended care at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Bernard was chairman of the board of directors of the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs and president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.
A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Dr. Bernard received her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She trained in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, where she also served as chief resident. She received additional training through the AAMC Health Services Research Institute, the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School Executive Development program.
Dr. Bernard’s research interests include nutrition and function in aging populations, with particular emphasis on ethnic minorities. Throughout her career, Dr. Bernard has sought to support and improve the evidence base that forms the foundation for geriatrics and the care of older people.
Other NIA Staff News
Dr. Ramesh Vemuri was appointed chief of the Scientific Review Branch (SRB, formerly Scientific Review Office), in February 2008. He brings both expertise and experience to the SRB, where he has served as deputy chief since 2004. Prior to joining NIA, Dr. Vemuri worked on genetics of inherited diseases in the intramural division of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Following completion of his M.S. and M.Phil. degrees in India, he attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem for his Ph.D., which focused on studies in biochemical alterations during ischemic and hypoxic conditions. Since becoming NIA’s representative on the NIH Review Policy Committee, he has been instrumental and influential in changing several policies at the NIH level.
Dr. Louise Hsu, a scientific review officer in the Scientific Review Branch, died on May 1, 2008. Dr. Hsu, a native of Taiwan, graduated from National Taiwan University in 1962 and received her Ph.D. at the University of Kansas in 1967. From 1968 to 1970, Dr. Hsu attended Case Western Reserve University as a postdoctoral research trainee in bio-organic chemistry. She held a postdoctoral research fellowship in neuroscience at the UCLA School of Medicine in 1971–72. A series of university appointments followed, including positions at the University of Texas (Houston) and UCLA, where she increasingly focused her work on neurology and aging research.
Dr. Hsu came to NIH via the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 1990 and moved soon after to NIA. Her main area of focus was neuroscience, and she closely followed scientific advances in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. She contributed to that field through more than 10 years of service organizing and running the NIA-N committee. She was well respected by the neuroscience community for her contributions to the science in general and to Alzheimer’s research in particular.
She was a friend, a guide, a mentor, and an inspiration to many in her local community, at NIA, and to the broader community in neuroscience and aging.
Dr. Jeannette Johnson has joined the Scientific Review Branch as a scientific review officer. Prior to her position at NIA, she was employed at the Social Research Center of Friends Research Institute in Baltimore, where she was responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis prevention programs for American Indians. She received her B.S. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. from the University of Vermont.
Dr. Chyren Hunter has joined the Division of Extramural Activities as deputy director and research training officer. Prior to this position, she was a program director in the Division of Extramural Research of the National Eye Institute (NEI) at NIH, where she was the group leader in the Retinal Neuroscience and Oculomotor Systems Programs. She also served as the research training officer for the NEI. Previously, she was a program director in the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. She holds a B.A. in biopsychology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences (neurobiology) from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine through the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Program of the City University of New York.
Dr. Peter R. Rapp has joined the Intramural Research Program as chief of the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology and director of the Neurocognitive Aging Section. Prior to coming to NIA, Dr. Rapp served on the faculty of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, holding various positions since 1997, including interim chair of the Fishberg Department of Neuroscience (2006–08), the Mount Sinai Endowed Chair in Neuroscience, co-director of the Graduate Training Program in Neuroscience, and a joint primary appointment in the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development. His extramural research on the cognitive and neurobiological consequences of normal aging has been continuously funded since 1989, including a recent MERIT award from NIA. Dr. Rapp received his Ph.D. in biopsychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1986.
Dr. Andrew Singleton has been named chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics (LNG) in the Intramural Research Program. He had served as acting chief of LNG since the departure of Dr. John Hardy in May 2007. Dr. Singleton joined NIA in 2002 as an investigator and chief of the Molecular Genetics Unit. He serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and the Lewy Body Dementia Association and is a member of the editorial boards of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Neurogenetics, and Annals of Neurology. For his work on Parkinson’s disease genetics, Dr. Singleton was awarded the Boehringer Mannheim Research Award in 2005 and the NIH Director’s Award and the Annemarie Opprecht Award in 2008.
Dr. José M. Velázquez joined the Division of Aging Biology (DAB) in June 2008 as a senior health scientist administrator in the Genetics and Cell Biology Branch and director of the Cell Biology Program. Dr. Velázquez has worked for the NIH for 15 years, most recently as program director for Functional Genomics and chief of the Genetics and Proteomics Research Branch at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He previously held positions at the National Institute on Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute on General Medical Sciences. His portfolio includes research and training grants in cellular senescence and cell proliferation, translational and post-translational control, age-dependent protein damage, signal transduction mechanisms, and age-dependent tumors.
NIA Staff Receive NIH Director’s Awards
Eight NIA staff members were presented with awards at the 2008 NIH Director’s Awards ceremony last July 21 at Natcher Auditorium on the NIH campus. The awards recognize the expert skills and efforts of NIH employees in scientific discovery and management of NIH. The NIA recipients included:
Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, senior investigator and chief, Longitudinal Studies Section, in recognition of his visionary leadership of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging
Dr. Andrew Singleton, chief, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, in recognition of his many important contributions to elucidating the genetic bases of neurodegenerative diseases
Dr. Kevin G. Becker, staff scientist, Research Resources Branch, in recognition of his participation as a member of the Genetic Association Database Collaboration
Lynn C. Hellinger, director of management, Office of Administrative Management, in recognition of her participation as a member of the NIH AO Competencies Toolkit Committee
Debbie L. Butcher, administrative officer, Administrative Management Branch, in recognition of her participation as a member of the NIH AO Competencies Toolkit Committee
Dr. Evan C. Hadley, director, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, in recognition of his participation as a member of the Genome Wide Association Studies Policy Development Team
Winifred Rossi, deputy director, Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, in recognition of her participation as a member of the Genome Wide Association Studies Policy Development Team
Kate Nagy, program analyst, Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation, in recognition of her participation as a member of the NIH Biennial Report Leadership Team
Other Staff Awards
Dr. Lenore Launer, chief, Neuroepidemiology Section, Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, received the Best Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Research Award for discovery of an association between low ankle-to-brachial index measure and increased risk for vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The PAD Coalition, an alliance of health organizations, professional societies, and government agencies interested in advancing knowledge of lower-extremity vascular disease, presented the award to Dr. Launer and study colleagues in September 2008.
Dr. Andrew Singleton, chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics, was awarded the Annemarie Opprecht Award in Basel, Switzerland, at the annual joint scientific meeting of the Swiss Neurological Society and the Swiss Society for Psychiatry in October 2008. He shared the honor with colleague Dr. John Hardy, professor of neuroscience at University College, London, for their work in genomewide genotyping in Parkinson’s disease.