Curriculum Vitae: Ralph Nitkin

Address:  National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR), Room 2A03
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human
Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
6710B Rockledge Drive, MSC 7002
Bethesda, MD  20892-7002

phone: 301-402-2242        FAX 301-402-0832            E-mail:                   

Educational Background

1975-1981 University of California at San Diego (UCSD), with Dr. Darwin K. Berg
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biology, June 1981
1971-1975 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Life Sciences, February 1975
Master of Science (MS) in Biology, June 1975

Positions Held

1990-present Health Scientist Administrator (GS-15), NICHD, NIH
Medical Rehabilitation Research Center (1999-present)
Deputy Director, NCMRR (2010-present)
Acting Center Director, NCMRR (2009-2010) and (2013-2015)
Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Branch (1990-1999)
Brain Disorders and Clinical Neurosciences study section, 1998
1986-1990 Assistant Professor (research/teaching position)
Department of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ
1981-1986 Postdoctoral Fellow (with Dr. U. Jack McMahan),
Neurobiology Department, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA

Grants and Fellowships

National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Award, 1988-1990
Henry Rutgers Research Fellowship, 1986-1988
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1984-1986
American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1983-1984
Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1981-1983

Research Experience (prior to NIH)

Over 15 years basic research in neuroscience, focusing on synapse formation (see attached bibliography)

Major Conferences and Workshops Initiated (at NIH)

Role of Mitochondrial Genetics in MRDD, 1992
Animal Models for Study of Mental Retardation, 1995
Scientists, Tools & Research for 21st Century (minority researcher workshop)
1997, 1999
Dendritic Mechanisms in Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities, 1998
Thyroid Disorders, 1998
Fragile X Syndrome: Future Directions, 1998
Current Controversies in Medicine: Informed Consent, 1999
Self-Injurious Behavior: Gene-Brain-Behavior Relationships, 1999
Medical Rehabilitation Research Training Workshop, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007
Management of Pain in People with Neurological Impairments, 2000
Medical Rehabilitation on the Move: Spotlight on BioEngineering, 2001
A Research Agenda for Getting Beyond the Plateau: Promoting Recovery through the
Chronic Phase, March 6-7, 2007
 Basic and Translational Research in Cerebral Palsy, March 24-25, 2016
Contractures in Muscular Dystrophy, March 2018

Other Professional Activities

Research Grant Review: National Science Foundation (NSF), Fogarty International, Maternal and Child Health (MCH), Fragile X Syndrome Research Foundation Paralyzed Veterans of America, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Office of Research and Development, Department of Veterans Affairs

Journal Review: Lancet, Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, American Journal on Mental Retardation

Executive Secretary for Advisory Board for Medical Rehab Research (1999-present)

Teaching Experience (while at Rutgers University)

Mammalian Physiology, Developmental Neurobiology, Cell Biology


NIH or NICHD Awards, 2003, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2012, 2015, 2015, 2016, 2017
John HP Maley Award from APTA Section on Research, 2007
Gold Key Award from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2013
ACRM Early Career Outstanding Mentoring Award, 2016   

Research Publications

Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California San Diego, 1981:  The interaction of a-toxins on autonomic neurons: Internalization and acetylcholine receptor function

Ravdin, P.M., Nitkin, R.M. and Berg, D.K. (1981) Internalization of alpha-bungarotoxin on neurons induced by a neurotoxin that blocks neuronal acetylcholine sensitivity, J. Neurosci. 1:849-861.

Wallace, B.G., Godfrey, E.W., Nitkin, R.M., Rubin, L.L. and McMahan, U.J. (1982) An extracellular matrix fraction that organizes acetylcholine receptors, Muscle Development: Molecular and Cellular Control, M.L.Pearson and H.F. Epstein, eds. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, New York. 469-495.

Godfrey, E.W., Nitkin, R.M., Wallace, B.G. and McMahan, U.J. (1983) Identifying components of the extracellular matrix that organize ACh receptors at synaptic sites on regenerating muscle cells, Developing and Regenerating Vertebrate Nervous Systems, P.W. Coates, R.R. Markwald and A.D. Kenny, editors. Alan R. Liss, New York, NY 61-70.

Nitkin, R.M., Wallace, B.G., Spira, M.E., Godfrey, E.W. and McMahan, U.J. (1983) Molecular components of the synaptic basal lamina that direct differentiation of regenerating neuromuscular junctions, Cold Spring Harbor Symposium for Quantitative Biology 48:653-665.

Nitkin, R.M., Fallon, J.R., Godfrey, E.W., Wallace, B.G. and McMahan, U.J. (1984) The role of the extracellular matrix in regeneration of the neuro­muscular junction, The Role of Extracellular Matrix in Development R.L. Trelstad, editor. Alan R. Liss, New York, N.Y. 597-622.

Godfrey, E.W., Nitkin, R.M., Wallace, B.G., Rubin, L.L. and McMahan, U.J. (1984) Components of Torpedo electric organ and muscle that cause aggregation of acetylcholine receptors on cultured muscle cells. J. Cell Biol. 99:615-627.

Fallon, J.R., Nitkin, R.M., Wallace, B.G. and McMahan, U.J. (1985) Identifying the components of the muscle fiber basal lamina that aggregate AChRs at regenerating neuromuscular junctions, Molecular Basis of Neuronal Development, G.M. Edelman, W.E. Gall, W.M. Cowan, editors. John Wiley & Sons, NY 61-66.

Fallon, J.R., Nitkin, R.M., Reist, N.E., Wallace, B.G. and McMahan, U.J. (1985) Acetylcholine receptor-aggregating factor is similar to molecules concentrated at neuromuscular junctions. Nature 315:571-574.

Wallace, B.G., Nitkin, R.M., Reist, N.E., Fallon, J.R., Moayeri, N.N. and McMahan, U.J. (1985) Aggregates of acetylcholinesterase induced by acetylcholine receptor-aggregating factor. Nature 315:574-577.

 Wallace, B.G., Reist, N.E., Nitkin, R.M., Fallon, J.R., McMahan, U.J. (1985) Monomolecular induction of two components of the postsynaptic apparatus in muscle, Molecular Determinants of Animal Form, (UCLA Symposium on Molecular and Cellular Biology, vol. 31), G.M. Edelman, editor. Alan R. Liss, New York.

Magill, C, Reist, N.E., Fallon, J.R., Nitkin, R.M., Wallace, B.G. and McMahan, U.J. (1987) Agrin, Progress in Brain Research 71:391-396.

Nitkin, R.M., Smith, M.A., Magill, C., Fallon, J.R., Yao, Y.-M., Wallace, B.G. and McMahan, U.J. (1987) Identification of agrin, a synaptic organizing protein from Torpedo electric organ, J. Cell Biol.105:2471-2478.

Nitkin, R.M. and Rothschild, T.C. (1990) Agrin-induced reorganization of extracellular matrix components on cultured myotubes: Relationship to AChR-aggregation, J. Cell Biol. 111:1161-1170.

Shadiack, A.M. and Nitkin, R.M. (1991) Agrin induces a-actinin, filamin and vinculin to co-localize with AChR clusters on cultured chick myotubes, J. Neurobiol. 22:616-28.

Crnic, L.S. and Nitkin, R.M. (1996) Animal Models of Mental Retardation: An Overview, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 2: 185-187.

Nitkin, R.M. (1999) Dendritic Mechanisms in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Developmental Neuropsychology 16(3) 299-303.

Nitkin, R.M. (2000) Dendritic Mechanisms in Brain Function and Developmental Disabilities, Cerebral Cortex, 10(10) 925-926.

Nitkin, R.M. (2000) Research Connection, Advance: For Directors in Rehabilitation, 9(9): 31-32.

Neiman, G.S., Craik, R., Delitto, A., Hallowell, B., Moore, C., Oliver, R.E., Nitkin, R., Sklare, D., and Tate, C.A. (2007) NAPRAH Symposium: Enhancing Faculty Research Career Development: Infrastructure and Mentoring Models, J. Allied Health, 36(2) e179-e191.

Fowler, E.G., et al., (2007) Promotion of Physical Fitness and Prevention of Secondary Conditions for Children with Cerebral Palsy: Section on Pediatrics Research Summit Proceedings, J. Physical Therapy, 87(11): 1495–1510.

Hachinski, V. et al., (2010) Stroke: Working Toward a Prioritized World Agenda, Stroke, 41:1084-1099.

Cramer, S.C. et al., (2011) Harnessing Neuroplasticity for Clinical Applications, Brain, 134(6): 1591-1609.

Stout, N.L. et al., (2016) Towards a National Initiative in Cancer Rehabilitation: Recommendations from a Subject Matter Expert Group, Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Nov;97(11): 2006-2015.

NIH Medical Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee, (2017) National Institutes of Health Research Plan on Rehabilitation.
Simultaneously published in: Phys Ther. Apr 1;97(4):104-407 and Arch Phys Med Rehabil. Apr;98(4):e1-e4 and Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017 Apr;96(4):e64-e67

Stout, N.L., Cernich, A., Nitkin, R., Oza, S., Chan, L. (2018) Research Issues and Funding Priorities in Cancer Rehabilitation, Cancer Rehabilitation, Principles and Practice, 2nd edition Michael Stubblefield, editor.

Stout, N.L., Alfano, C.M., Belter, C.W., Nitkin, R., Cernich, A., Segal, K.L., and Chan, L. (2018) An Analysis of the Landscape of Cancer Rehabilitation Research (1992-2016), J Natl Cancer Inst., 110(8): djy108.

Rose LF, Wolf EJ, Brindle T, Cernich A, Dean WK, Dearth CL, Grimm M, Kusiak A, Nitkin R, Potter K, Randolph BJ, Wang F, Yamaguchi D. The Convergence of Regenerative Medicine and Rehabilitation: Federal Perspectives. Nature Regen. Med. (2018) 3:19.

Newman RM, Alfano CM, Radomski MV, Pergolotti MM, Wolf T, Sleighy A, Bryant AL, Voelbel GT, deMoor JS, Nitkin R, Daniels E, Braveman B, Walker RK, Wiliams GR, Winters-Stone KM, Cheville AL, Campbell S, Lawlor M, King A, Ness KK, Srivastava P, Lyons KD. Catalyzing Research to Optimize Cancer Survivors’ Participation in Work and Life Roles. Occup Ther J Res., (submitted)

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