November 2014

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Published monthly by the Office of Communications and Media Relations. News, article ideas, calendar events, letters, and photographs are welcome. Submissions may be edited.

Clinical Center News
National Institutes of Health
Building 10, 10 Center Drive
Room 6-2551,
Bethesda, MD 20892-1504
Tel: 301-594-5789
Fax: 301-402-0244
Molly.hooven@nih.gov

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Texas nurse leaves Clinical Center free of Ebola virus: "I feel fortunate and blessed"

Hospital holds meetings for staff, Grand Rounds lecture on Ebola

Group photo of Nina Pham, her sister, mother and NIH doctors, nurses and senior leaders

Nina Pham, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola to be treated at the Clinical Center, joins her sister, mother and NIH doctors, nurses and senior leaders to celebrate her discharge. The doctors affirmed that she is free of the Ebola virus disease and therefore not contagious.

The first patient diagnosed with Ebola to be treated at the Clinical Center, Nina Pham, was discharged Oct. 24 and is free of the Ebola virus disease.

"I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today," she said at an NIH press briefing Oct. 24. "As a nurse, I have a special appreciation for the care I have received from so many people. Not just doctors and nurses, but the entire support team."

Pham contracted the virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital while providing care to a patient who died of Ebola. She was admitted Oct. 16 to the Special Clinical Studies Unit and a press briefing was held Oct. 17. The unit, one of a small number of such facilities in the US, is specifically designed to provide high-level isolation capabilities and is staffed by infectious diseases and critical care specialists. Staff are trained in strict infection control practices optimized to prevent spread of potentially transmissible agents such as Ebola.

While the patient was receiving treatment at the hospital, the Clinical Center held Town Hall meetings for employees, press briefings for reporters and a special Grand Rounds lecture on the Ebola crisis.

More than 4,000 people viewed the Grand Rounds lecture in person at the Clinical Center and online through videocast thus far.

Speakers included Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the Clinical Center, Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the NIH, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Daniel S. Chertow, assistant clinical investigator in the Clinical Center critical care medicine department and Dr. David Wendler, head of the unit on vulnerable populations in the NIH department of bioethics. The officials discussed Ebola in West Africa, a ground level view of Ebola from a treatment center in Liberia and ethical issues raised by the Ebola crisis.

View NIH Clinical Center Ebola-Related Links and Resources and more general information.

Dr. John I. Gallin speaking to a group

Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the Clinical Center, speaks to reporters Oct. 17 at a press briefing on Nina Pham's condition.

Dr. David Wendler, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Dr. John I. Gallin, Dr. Daniel S. Chertow and Dr. Francis S. Collins

The Oct. 22 Grand Rounds featured Dr. David Wendler, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Dr. John I. Gallin, Dr. Daniel S. Chertow and Dr. Francis S. Collins.

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Research team continues to collaborate, progress with Bench-to-Bedside award

members of the Oxytocin in Alcohol Dependence B2B Award team

A few members of the "Oxytocin in Alcohol Dependence" B2B Award team, from left to right: Dr. Dardo Tomasi (NIAAA), Dr. Gene-Jack Wang (NIAAA), Matthew Rohn (NIAAA), Dr. Mary R. Lee (NIAAA), Dr. Lorenzo Leggio (NIAAA/NIDA) and Dr. Peter Herscovitch (CC).

In the fall of 2013, 10 NIH multi-institute teams earned the prestigious Bench-to-Bedside (B2B) Program award. The award provides two years of funding for researchers seeking to translate basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions and to increase understanding of disease processes.

With a year completed, one award-winning team studying "Oxytocin in Alcohol Dependence: A Novel and Translational Approach" shared how the funding has helped advance its work.

Dr. Mary R. Lee, staff clinician in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and lead on the study, says the team is interested in investigating neuroendocrine pathways as potential new targets for the treatment of addiction. Specifically they're looking at oxytocin, a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. The study is a part of the NIAAA-National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Joint Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacogy.

"The B2B program has allowed us to embark on a translational study in order to answer important questions about the oxytocin pathway as a new treatment target for alcohol dependence," Lee said. "Working with Dr. Bruno Averbeck at the National Institute of Mental Health, we will be combining state-of-the-art approaches to allow us to determine whether oxytocin delivered to the nose actually crosses into the brain and in what quantity. This protocol is critical to accurately assess how treatment delivered to human participants affects central oxytocin levels."

The team will soon begin recruiting volunteers. The study will look at the effects of oxytocin in the brain using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) techniques. This will be done in collaboration with Dr. Peter Herscovitch in the Clinical Center's PET Department, Drs. Reza Momenan, Dardo Tomasi and Gene-Jack Wang at NIAAA, and Dr. Alane Kimes at NIDA. The team is also working with Drs. Amy Newman and Giancarlo Tanda at NIDA on the mechanism of action of oxytocin in the brain and Dr. Marilyn Huestis at NIDA, who has developed a sensitive way to measure oxytocin.

"This award has also allowed us to expand the project to include work with a number of other colleagues at NIH who are working on related studies," Lee said. "The B2B award has been a wonderful opportunity to expand our scope of research, and to assemble a team from several Institutes and Centers, with each member contributing his or her considerable expertise. It's going to help us answer important questions about the mechanism of action of oxytocin and its potential role as a treatment for addiction. Ultimately, of course, it will help us achieve the best treatment method for patients."

The B2B program, which began in 1999, offers an exciting opportunity for 'seed money' to ignite new translational research projects. Awardees include both basic science and clinical researchers, often from different Institutes and Centers and research teams from outside the NIH. This helps to break down some of the barriers that have traditionally hindered progress toward finding new therapies for patients.

A literature review and reports from awardees highlight numerous examples of scientific and clinical accomplishments associated with funded B2B projects. According to Dr. John I. Gallin, director of the Clinical Center, 15 patents are associated with the 83 B2B awards that have been granted since 2006. Other clinical innovations have led to identifying cancer treatments and uncovering signaling molecules and genetic markers for many rare diseases. Topics in women's health, minority health and behavioral and social sciences add to the portfolio of funded projects. About 700 investigators have collaborated on 219 funded projects.

The next cycle of applications will launch in spring 2015.

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NIH website launched to highlight diversity and inclusion

EDI 365 logoIn September, the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) unveiled a new website to better evoke the ideals of collaboration, flexibility and fairness while leveraging diversity so that staff are empowered to participate and contribute to their full potential.

Formerly known as the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, EDI has been cultivating feedback from the NIH community over the past two years, which helped in their strategic reorganization and rebranding.

Employees can take a pledge to make NIH a better place to work and discover. The website also provides a consulting section where staff can receive customized outreach materials, including assistance in addressing manager and employee workplace needs or arranging workshops and programs.

Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of NIH, said in a video message that the reorganization of the office, which led to the new website, puts us in a place to emphasize diversity and inclusion in new ways.

"[The NIH mission] will really only be effectively accomplished if we ... create an environment that is equitable and that gives everybody a chance to make their contribution in the most productive way," Collins said. "That's what NIH is about. That's what EDI 365 is all about."

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Research festival highlights "The Era of the Brain"

Dr. Richard J. Hodes (right), Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, and Dr. Jessica Curtis

Dr. Richard J. Hodes (right), director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), talks to Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and Dr. Jessica Curtis, a NIA postdoctoral fellow, during a poster session.

The 28th annual research festival provided an inside look at the innovative scientific advancements taking place across the NIH. More than 1,500 people attended the Sept. 22-24 event held at the Clinical Center.

The festival, titled The Era of the Brain, featured hundreds of presentations, more than 300 posters and exhibits and a vendor tent show.

The Fellows Award for Research Excellence program recognized 234 intramural fellows, including Ziyue Xu in the CC Radiology and Imaging Sciences Department, for outstanding scientific research.

View more details and video coverage.


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Symposium looks at the frontiers of biomedical science at NIH and Japan

The NIH and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science hosted a symposium Oct. 23–24 at the Clinical Center to highlight the long-standing cooperative relationship the NIH holds with Japan and to further promote these mutually beneficial interactions and training activities.

The event, titled Highlights from the Frontiers of Biomedical Science from NIH and Japan, drew NIH intramural researchers, including students, post-doctoral fellows, lab staff and senior investigators as well as guests from the academic and scientific communities in Japan.

According to Dr. Yoshi Yamada, a member of the events organizing committee, the NIH and the Japa-nese biomedical research communities have a long history of scientific interactions and collaborations.

"The NIH has supported many Japanese postdoctoral fellows since post-World War II when they come to be trained in and conduct frontier research. Many of these fellows returned to Japan and became leaders in their fields," he said. "The tradition of this strong connection continues to this day, producing leaders in newer generations who are active not only in Japan but worldwide."

The two-day event included an array of scientific abstracts, workshops and more than 80 poster presentations, all providing ample opportunities to connect scientists from NIH and Japan. There were also in-depth discussions on how to assist the career development of students and young investigators in the US and Japan.

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Nursing academy inducts clinical nurse scientist

Dr. Margaret Bevans and Dr. Diana Mason

Dr. Margaret Bevans and Dr. Diana Mason, President of the American Academy of Nursing. Photo courtesy of the American Academy of Nursing.

The American Academy of Nursing [disclaimer] inducted Dr. Margaret Bevans as a fellow during their annual conference Oct. 18. Bevans is the third Clinical Center employee to receive this honor. She was selected based on her leadership in education, management and policy and her work to improve the health and well-being of the nation.

Bevans, a commander in the US Public Health Service, serves as the program director and a clinical nurse scientist in the Nursing Department. Her research focuses on the application of patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures in the research and care of cancer patients and their caregivers. Her work has triggered an increase in collection of this crucial type of data across NIH intramural studies that yield important evidence, informing best practice and future research.

The academy is comprised of more than 2,200 nurses in education, management, practice, policy and research. Fellows include hospital and government administrators, college deans and scientific researchers.

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Medical training program appoints new director

Dr. Susan Leitman

Once an NIH fellow herself, Dr. Susan Leitman now leads the MRSP.

Dr. Susan Leitman recently joined the Clinical Center's Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education, working closely with Dr. Frederick Ognibene, as the new director of the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). As MRSP director, she will continue to develop the program's academic curriculum and work closely with the MRSP staff and its Board of Tutors, who help select the participants of the comprehensive, yearlong research enrichment program.

Leitman began her career at NIH in 1983 as a fellow in the Department of Transfusion Medicine. Within a few short years, she became chief of the Blood Services Section and later the deputy chief of the department. Leitman has also served as the medical director of the NIH National Marrow Donor Program Donor Center and Apheresis Center.

The former MRSP director, Dr. Bruce Baum, served since the program's inception in 2012. Under his watch, 130 students have participated in the MRSP.

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NIH gets up and moving for Physical Therapy month

Group fromthe Rehabilitation Medicine Department Physical Therapy walk

The Clinical Center Rehabilitation Medicine Department held a Physical Therapy walk Oct. 23 on the NIH campus. About 40 people participated in the 1.5 mile walk. The hospitals physical therapists, or 'movement specialists' as they often call themselves, held the walk to promote National Physical Therapy Month and inform others about the role they play at NIH. The physical therapists in the hospital specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of patients of all ages, who have medical problems or other health related conditions limiting the ability to move and function in everyday activities.

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Clinical Center's home page receives redesign

The Clinical Center unveiled a reorganized home page to enhance viewers' experience online and provide a streamlined design that allows visitors to quickly locate information.

Presenting current, accurate information in a contemporary, user-friendly way is critical to maintaining credibility of the site and supporting the Clinical Center's prestigious title of America's Research Hospital. The continuous addition of links and graphics over the years left the home page difficult to navigate.

The Clinical Center Office of Communications and Media Relations led the redesign effort with support and feedback from the Patient Advisory Group, department chiefs and other senior leadership.

A new initiative to cull redundant, outdated and trivial web content will improve search results, reduce maintenance costs and make it easier to keep pages up-to-date. It will be seamlessly integrated and invisible to website visitors.

Clinical Center's home page redesign

The graphic above describes the changes made to the Clinical Center's website home page.

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Volunteers needed to help advance scientific research

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study
Doctors at the NIH seek volunteers ages 18 and older who are overweight to participate in a research study (14-CH-0119). They are studying the role of the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine in overweight, non-diabetic adults. The results of this research study may help doctors to understand more about how to prevent and treat the complications of obesity. This study will involve four visits lasting 5-6 hours each over a three-month span. All study-related tests and medications are provided at no cost. Participants will be compensated.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Study
NIDDK seeks healthy normal-weight men, 18-35, to participate in a research study (13-DK-0200). Doctors want to learn how the body burns energy at different temperatures. Participants will have a 17-day inpatient stay in the Metabolic Clinical Research Unit of the Clinical Center with weekends off. Com-pensation is provided.

For more information on the studies above or others available please call the Office of Patient Recruit-ment 1-866-444-2214, (TTY 1-866-411-1010) or visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

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Clinical Center celebrates National Pharmacy Week

Happy National Pharmacy Week! October 19-25, 2014

A few members of the Pharmacy Department gathered in celebration of National Pharmacy Week.

National Pharmacy Week, Oct. 19-25, recognizes the powerful impact that pharmacists make on patient care and the unique role pharmacists play at the Clinical Center. The hospitals' pharmacists provide pharmaceutical care to inpatients and outpatients in onsite NIH research protocols; conduct research programs that discover new uses for current medications; manage investigational drugs through a computerized information system; manufacture customized drug formulations for use in investigational research; and filing investigational medication applications with the FDA. Pharmacists at the Clinical Center manage commercially available and investigational drugs in approximately 1,000 research protocols. The Pharmacy Department also trains fellows, residents and students.

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Blood donor appreciation ceremony held in October

Blood donor appreciation ceremony attendees

A few of the attendees included (back row): Sparkle Lonesome, Zulda Rached, Erika Cavarretta, Myra Duncan, Amy Melpolder, Al Decot, Biren Naik, Cathy Colella, Juan Salgado, Hal Wilkins as well as (bottom row) Dr. Steven Selden, Anne Engel, Marshall Moneymaker and Sara "Lu" Colabucci.

The NIH Blood Bank at the Clinical Center kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October by hosting a blood donor appreciation ceremony. Blood and platelet donor, Anne Engel (bottom row, second from left), spoke about her experience as a breast cancer survivor. "Be grateful every day for your health. I might have needed blood, but instead I'm lucky enough to be on the donating end," she said. The event was attended by donors, staff and community members.

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NIH staff, patients, supporters gather at non-profit's anniversary

Dr. John I Gallin, Dr. Francis S. Collins, and Heidi S. Grolig

Dr. John I Gallin, director of the Clinical Center, Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of NIH, Heidi S. Grolig, executive director of Friend of Patients at the NIH and Diane Baker, chair of the non-profits’ development committee.

On Oct. 16, Dr. John I Gallin, director of the Clinical Center and other senior NIH leadership provided remarks at the 30th anniversary celebration of the non-profit organization Friends of Patients at the NIH [disclaimer].

The non-profit, called Friends@NIH for short, is among many charities that help support patients participating in research studies and their family members.

Formerly known as Friends of the Clinical Center, the organization recently launched a new logo and will soon launch a new website.


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Upcoming Events

Most lectures will be streamed and archived

NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
Programmable On-Chip DNA Compartments as "Artificial Cells"
Nov. 19, 2014, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Masur Auditorium
Presented by Roy Bar-Ziv, PhD, Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Clinicopathologic Grand Rounds
Clinical Cases from the NIH Clinical Center; The Double-Edged Sword of Immunomodulatory Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis
Nov. 19, 2014, Noon - 1:00 p.m
Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Irene Cortese, MD, NINDS, Daniel S. Reich, MD, NINDS, Hao-Wei Wang, MD, NCI, Avindra Nath, MD, NINDS, Eugene Major, PhD, NINDS.

2013 Gingerbread House Decorating Contest winner

The cottage above was the 2013 Gingerbread House Decorating Contest winner.

Family Caregiver Day Fair and Expo
Nov. 20, 2014, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Hatfield Building, 7th floor bridge
In recognition of National Family Caregiver Month, Clinical Center departments and outside exhibitors offer resources for family caregivers. No registration required.

Contemporary Clinical Medicine: Great Teachers Lecture
Autoimmunity: The Once and Future History of an Idea
Dec. 10, 2014; Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Lipsett Amphitheater
Presented by Paul H. Plotz, MD, NIAMS.

NIH Clinical Center Director's Annual Address and Awards Ceremony
Dec. 12, 2014, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Masur Auditorium
The event will honor employees' exemplary contributions to NIH.

11th Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest
Dec. 1 – 11, 2014

Bldg. 10 Atrium
Vote for your favorite gingerbread house in person or online at the Clinical Center Facebook page [disclaimer]. Contact Ann Marie Matlock for details: amatlock@cc.nih.gov. In 2013, more than 5,400 online and in person votes were placed for 49 entries.

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