T H E   N I H   C A T A L Y S T     J A N U A R Y  –  F E B R U A R Y  2007






The discovery that the cochlea’s spiral form actually serves a specific hearing function landed a place among Discover magazine’s 100 top stories of 2006—a tribute to the work of Richard Chadwick, chief of the Section on Auditory Mechanics, Laboratory of Cellular Biology, NIDCD, and his colleagues, Daphne Manoussaki, formerly a visiting fellow in that lab and now at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and Emilios Dimitriadis, formerly a senior research associate in the lab and currently an ORS staff scientist in the Division of Engineering and Physical Science.

The team used a mathematical model to determine that the cochlea’s tight central coil steers low-frequency sound waves in a way that amplifies the ability to hear the deepest vibrations.

The work corrects the previously held impression that the spiral shape has no effect on hearing. Instead, the investigators found that increasing curvature redistributes wave energy toward the cochlea’s outer wall, affecting the shape of waves especially in the regions where low-frequency sounds are processed.




Researchers in the NICHD Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch contributed to a molecular imaging advance that was ranked among Science magazine’s top 10 breakthroughs of 2006.

The team includes George Patterson, Rachid Sougrat, O. Wolf Lindwasser, Juan Bonifacino, and Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz.

The technique, called photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM), enabled them to beat the diffraction limit that otherwise prohibits resolving images smaller than half the wavelength of the light used to illuminate the object, about 200 nanometers for optical light.

With colleagues Eric Betzig and Harald Hess at Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Va., and Michael Davidson at Florida State University in Tallahassee, the team imaged target proteins in thin sections of lysosomes and mitochondria with nanometer resolution. They accomplished this by using fluorescent tags that could be turned on one tagged molecule at a time to create a composite image.


An NCI Symposium on Chromosome Biology, exploring the current status of chromosome and chromatin biology research, will be held April 26–27 at the Natcher Conference Center. Topics include transcriptional regulation, chromatin structure, epigenetics, DNA replication and repair, and nuclear architecture.

Speakers from outside NIH include:

Genevieve Almouzni, Institut Curie in Paris; Frederick Alt, Children’s Hospital Boston; Carlo Croce,Ohio State University in Columbus; Titia de Lange, The Rockefeller University in New York; Mark Groudine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; Stephen Jackson, University of Cambridge in England; Jeannie Lee, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; David Pellman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston; Robert Roeder, The Rockefeller University; David Spector, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.; Thea Tlsty, University of California, San Francisco; Robert Tijan, University of California, Berkeley; Carl Wu, NCI; Yi Zhang, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and others.

Among NCI speakers are Michael Bustin, Shiv Grewal, Gordon Hager, Michael Lichten, James McNally, and Tom Misteli.

There is no registration fee, but space is limited.

For information, registration, and poster abstract submission, visit this website.



Applications are being accepted for the 2007–2008 NIH-Duke Training Program in Clinical Research. The deadline for applying is March 1, 2007.

Designed primarily for physicians and dentists who desire formal training in the quantitative and methodological principles of clinical research, the program calls for part-time study, allowing students to integrate their academic with their clinical training.

Courses are offered at the NIH Clinical Center via videoconference. Credit earned may be applied toward satisfying the degree requirement for a Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Research from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.

Applications are available in the Office of Clinical Research Training and Medical Education, Building 10, Room B1L403. Additional information on coursework and tuition costs can be found here.

Interested individuals should check with their institute or center regarding funding for participation in this program. Successful applicants will be notified by July 2, 2007.


The 14th annual Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) 2008 competition will again provide recognition for outstanding scientific research performed by intramural postdoctoral fellows. FARE winners will each receive a $1,000 travel award to use for attending and presenting their work at a scientific meeting. Twenty-five percent of the fellows who apply will win an award.

FARE applicants must submit an abstract of their research, which will be evaluated anonymously on scientific merit, originality, experimental design, and overall quality/presentation. The travel award must be used between Oct. 1, 2007, and Sept. 30, 2008.

The FARE 2008 competition is open to postdoctoral IRTAs, visiting fellows, and other fellows with fewer than five years total postdoc-toral experience in the NIH intramural research program. Pre-IRTAs performing their doctoral dissertation research at NIH are also eligible to compete. Visiting fellows and scientists must not have been tenured at their home institute. Questions about eligibility should be addressed to your institute’s scientific director.

Fellows are asked to submit their application, including abstract, electronically from March 12 through April 16, 2007, via the website.

Winners will be announced by the end of September 2007. More information is available on the above-mentioned website. Questions may be addressed to your institute’s Fellows Committee representative.


To find out about the NIDA-sponsored conference March 5–6 at Natcher, visit this website.


The NIH Catalyst is seeking the following:

One or two additional Editorial Advisory Board members (see current roster on back page) from the ranks of staff scientists and/or fellows

Someone to revive and oversee the once very popular "Hot Methods" series. To see examples, go to the Catalyst website.

Hit "Search The NIH Catalyst" and type "Hot Methods" in the search box.

Interested parties, please e-mail Fran Pollner at the Catalyst.





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