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Release of the 2011 Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Annual Report

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The Annual Report showcases DIR research for the year 2011

2011 DIR Annual Report

The newly released 2011 DIR Annual Report reviews the latest basic, clinical, and translational research being pursued by the staff scientists within DIR at the NICHD. Contributing to this effort are 79 tenured and tenure-track investigators and approximately 1,200 administrative and research staff. In 2011, DIR project areas ranged from vaccine development to genomics, from reproduction to regenerative medicine, and from the neurosciences and early human development to biophysics and imaging.

The DIR also supported several clinical trials in 2011, including studies of endocrinology in pediatrics, obesity, reproduction, and women’s health. The NICHD DIR also plays a leading role in investigating potential new treatments through the NIH-Clinical Research Center’s Bench-to-Bedside awards (BTBA) program.

This year’s annual report also highlights the global reach of research anchored in NICHD laboratories as well as the scientific progress made possible by advances in imaging technology. The report allows the DIR to showcase its work for the benefit of students in high schools and colleges who are inspired by the promise of research. Select a link below to learn more about an annual report topic.

Global Research Connections
Cutting-Edge Imaging Studies
Educational Facet of the 2011 DIR Annual Report

Global Research Connections

DIR research is not limited to the United States and extends to Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world through ties with many collaborators.

“In an era of unprecedented globalization, science as the ultimate global community enterprise connects researchers across continents with speed and energy,” said Constantine A. Stratakis, M.D., D(med)Sci., Scientific Director of the NICHD. “The NICHD DIR is at the center of a global research network in which the dots are connected by our laboratories and their collaborators around the globe.”

For example, Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., Ph.D., recognized as an expert on childhood obesity and related metabolic conditions throughout the world, collaborates with scientists from the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research in the United Kingdom. Dr. Yanovski’s recent research work includes studies of the genetics, physiology, metabolism, and psychology of body weight regulation and research on the treatment of obesity and associated conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. A more detailed description of Dr. Yanovski’s research in the annual report is available at http://2011annualreport.nichd.nih.gov/sgo.html.

Collaborators of Karel Pacak, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., head of the Section on Medical Neuroendocrinology, extend from health centers and universities across the nation to universities in Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and the Philippines. Dr. Pacak conducts patient-oriented research into the etiology, pathophysiology, genetics, diagnosis, localization, and treatment of two rare tumor types known as pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and paraganglioma (PGL). His studies in 2011 included tumor imaging, hereditary patterns, and metastatic versus benign PHEOs and PGLs. Visit http://2011annualreport.nichd.nih.gov/smn2.html for more information on Dr. Pacak’s research.

Cutting-Edge Imaging Studies

Research supported by the DIR is also helping advance the technology and practice of imaging, from developing techniques that address some of the unique challenges of capturing brain images from infants and children to making visible individual proteins and how they are arranged inside cells. Some examples include:

  • Pediatric imaging: Peter J. Basser, Ph.D. and Amir H. Gandjbakhche, Ph.D., both in the Program on Pediatric Imaging and Tissue Sciences, conduct imaging studies of pediatric brain development, diseases, and injuries. Dr. Basser’s laboratory is also developing novel brain imaging methods, such as in vivo MRI imaging and quantitative pediatric MRI. For details on Dr. Basser’s work, visit http://2011annualreport.nichd.nih.gov/stbb.html. Dr. Gandjbakhche’s work is leading toward the development of novel, non-invasive imaging techniques to monitor patients undergoing experimental therapy for Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of tumor that occurs frequently in patients infected with HIV. Visit http://2011annualreport.nichd.nih.gov/safb.html for more on Dr. Gandjbakhche’s research.
  • Cellular biology: Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Ph.D., distinguished NIH investigator, examines the dynamics of cellular membrane trafficking, sorting, and compartmentalization. For this research, she utilizes a number of imaging techniques, including confocal microscopy, to characterize the cell dynamics and embryo development. Visit http://2011annualreport.nichd.nih.gov/sob.html for more on Dr. Lippincott-Schwartz’s work.

Educational Facet of the 2011 DIR Annual Report

In addition to providing a record of research achievements, the 2011 DIR Annual Report compiles highlights of the previous year’s research to inspire future researchers in high schools and undergraduate institutions. 

“Our annual report is an important educational tool,” said Dr. Stratakis. “It gives us a chance to introduce all of the innovations of the DIR to students at primary and secondary institutions, colleges, and universities.”

The DIR encourages educators to learn more about the DIR and its research. Full copies of the 2011 DIR Annual Report on compact disc are available to schools and other educational centers. For a copy, please contact Molly Fink.

For more information, select one of the links below:


Originally posted: March 1, 2012

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