Get to Know NICHD: Text Alternative

Ryan Dale, Ph.D., M.S.

Quote from Ryan Dale, Ph.D., M.S., senior scientist and head of the Bioinformatics and Scientific Programming Core: “Science is more about people than you think. It’s a small world. Be kind, thoughtful, and helpful; over time, the interest on that can compound into a network of colleagues and collaborators who together can make a large impact.”

Dr. Ryan Dale’s early research experiences spanned from the Midwest prairie to the coastal estuaries of Maine.

Learn more about Dr. Dale.

Rebecca Rosen, Ph.D.

Quote from Rebecca Rosen, Ph.D., director of the Office of Data Science and Sharing: “We are working to foster a culture of responsible, innovative use of data and biospecimens that accelerates research and improves health for NICHD populations. To achieve this vision, we must work with and listen to all NICHD communities.”

Dr. Rebecca Rosen joined NICHD in July 2021 as the director of the institute’s newly established Office of Data Science and Sharing.

Learn more about Dr. Rosen.

Rosalind King, Ph.D.

Quote from Rosalind King, Ph.D., associate director for prevention and program director, Population Dynamics Branch: "It’s important to be strategic about where you put your energy. It’s tempting to want to grab every opportunity all at once, but careers last for years and years, so it’s important to take a long-term view."

Through undergraduate coursework, Dr. Rosalind King became fascinated with how individual decisions were reflections of larger patterns in society. Her love for research grew through learning about rigorous techniques for data collection, hypothesis testing, and statistical analysis using interview and survey data.

Learn more about Dr. King.

Samantha Calabrese, M.P.H.

Quote from Samantha Calabrese, M.P.H., public health analyst for the Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch: "One of the most valuable components of the NICHD family is the diversity of perspectives working together. There is never a dull moment."

Samantha Calabrese, M.P.H., realized during a conversation with a high school teacher that one day she wanted to work for NIH. As a public health analyst for NICHD’s Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch, she supports domestic and international research, training, and career development programs in HIV and other significant infectious diseases.

Learn more about Ms. Calabrese.

Travis Kent, Ph.D.

Quote from Travis Kent, Ph.D., program officer, Fertility and Infertility Branch: “My advice for early-stage scientists, especially those not interested in academia, is to carve out time to pursue other areas of interest. Your publication record is only one small part of what makes you a great scientist.”

Dr. Travis Kent always had an interest in science and fell in love with the idea of research in college. Graduate school led him to focus on teaching and policy, and a fellowship brought him to a position with NICHD that would eventually lead him to his current position as a program officer with the Fertility and Infertility Branch.

Learn more about Dr. Kent.

Daniel Johnston, Ph.D.

Quote from Daniel Johnston, Ph.D., branch chief, Contraception Research Branch, and acting branch chief, Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch: “Working in the extramural program at NICHD provides opportunities to identify and address research gaps in my field and to connect investigators with similar interests and complementary skills and needs.”

A summer spent as a member of the Jackson Laboratory’s summer student program led Dr. Daniel Johnston to change his college focus from medical school to pursuing a Ph.D. in reproductive biology—a decision that would ultimately help lead him to his current position as chief of NICHD’s Contraception Research Branch.

Learn more about Dr. Johnston.

Candace Tingen, Ph.D.

Quote from Candace Tingen, Ph.D., program officer, Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch: “Program officers are stewards of the science, but you have to care about the people behind the science, too. At different points in a grant lifecycle, you are a cheerleader, a therapist, a sounding board, a colleague, a nagging parent, and a fortune teller.”

From mixing “cures” using common household ingredients to participating in middle school experiments led by an inspirational science teacher, Dr. Candace Tingen doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in science. However, a high school internship at NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences was the experience that would introduce her to female reproductive health research—a path that ultimately would lead her to NICHD’s Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch.

Learn more about Dr. Tingen.

Sonia Lee, Ph.D.

Quote from Sonia Lee, Ph.D., acting branch chief, Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch: “My best advice is to say ‘yes’ to opportunities, even if they are out of your comfort zone. You won’t always know what you are capable of, and what motivates you, until you try.”

Dr. Sonia Lee’s earliest inspiration came from her father, an anesthesiologist who would often take her to the hospital to meet the healthcare providers with whom he worked. She learned very early that she wanted to be a part of science the way he was and make a similar impact.

Learn more about Dr. Lee.

Paul Williams

Quote from Paul Williams, Director, Office of Communications: “Never turn a task down, no matter how rudimentary it may feel. Each assignment is an opportunity to learn, and you can advance farther in your career if you understand the process and have a can-do attitude.”

As the director of NICHD’s Office of Communications, Paul Williams helps promote NICHD’s research initiatives and results. This work enables the public to understand how the institute improves the health and wellbeing of women, children, and people with disabilities.

Learn more about Paul Williams.

Chris McBain, Ph.D.

Quote from Chris McBain, Ph.D., Acting Scientific Director, Division of Intramural Research: “Everyone in my lab is an equal—whether you are a post-bac or a staff scientist, everyone has a voice that can be heard without judgment. This attitude has led us to some incredible discoveries that have come from seemingly minor observations by young trainees.”

Dr. Chris McBain attributes the start of his interest in science to a chemistry set his parents gave him for his birthday. However, that start took much deeper root thanks to the influence and enthusiasm of high school chemistry and biology teachers, who taught him through early science experiments that science could be fun.

Learn more about Dr. McBain.


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