Get to Know NICHD: Text Alternative

Nancy Zhou, Ph.D.

Quote from Nancy Zhou, Ph.D., chief of the NICHD Referral and Program Analysis Branch: “I appreciate the opportunity to empower our institute to make informed decisions based on data. My responsibility to modernize, streamline, and enhance scientific coding and analysis will ultimately have a profound impact on our institute.”

Dr. Nancy Zhou finds great value in mentorship, whether as the mentor or mentee. She attributes much of her success to mentors who guided her through various career milestones and is determined to share that same support with others, particularly with women in the fields of science and technology.

Learn more about Dr. Zhou.

David Weinberg, Ph.D.

Quote from David Weinberg, Ph.D., lead on the NICHD Human Placenta Project and program officer with the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch: “There is a whole world of interesting questions out there, and opportunities to do meaningful work wait around every corner. Approach the world with a sense of curiosity and be open to new ideas and directions.”

In every work position Dr. David Weinberg has held, he tries to bring enthusiasm, an open mind, and a willingness to carry his share of the workload. He also always seeks mentorship from persons above, equal to, and below him in the organization, as each person’s experience with him is slightly different, and all have lessons to teach him.

Learn more about Dr. Weinberg.

Mark Stopfer, Ph.D.

Quote from Mark Stopfer, Ph.D., head of the Section on Sensory Coding and Neural Ensembles: “NIH's high-risk, high-reward approach appealed to me. I don't like to nibble around the edges of scientific problems. NICHD offered the opportunity to tackle difficult and interesting questions in ways that are hard to accomplish elsewhere.”

A childhood fascination with understanding how things worked was the spark that ignited Dr. Mark Stopfer’s interest in studying the brain and how it processes information.

Learn more about Dr. Stopfer.

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.

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.


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