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National Institute of Diabetes and
Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

For Immediate Release
Monday, January 28, 2008

Marcia Vital, NIDDK

NIDDK Welcomes Four New Members to Advisory Council

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt appointed four new members to the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the institute announced today. NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the federal agency with primary responsibility for funding and conducting biomedical research within the United States.

The NIDDK advisory council meets three times annually to advise the NIDDK about its research portfolio. The council typically undertakes broad issues of science policy. Members of the advisory council are drawn from the scientific and lay communities, are appointed for four-year terms, and represent all areas within the institute's research mission. An important role of the council is to provide second-level peer review of grant applications that have been scored by scientific review groups. The council members are an important liaison between the research communities they represent and the NIDDK, which supports each community's research efforts.

NIDDK Director, Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., will chair the advisory council meeting on Jan. 30 and introduce the following new members:

David M. Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D., is assistant professor of genetics and medicine at Harvard Medical School, is a member of the Diabetes Unit and Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and is the director of the Program in Medical and Population Genetics at the Whitehead Institute/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Genome Research in Boston. His research interests include the study of human genome sequence variation as a way to understand the inherited basis of common human diseases, with a particular focus on the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes and its complications. Dr. Altshuler joins the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases (DEM) Subcommittee.

Nancy C. Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., is dean and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. Dr. Andrews is the first woman to be appointed dean of Duke's School of Medicine and is the only woman to lead one of the nation's top 10 medical schools. Prior to her appointment at Duke, she served as dean for Basic Sciences and Graduate Studies at Harvard Medical School in Boston. She is also an internationally renowned researcher in the fields of pediatric hematology and oncology. Dr. Andrews' research interests include the study of iron absorption and its role in hereditary hemochromatosis, an inherited disease that causes an accumulation of excess iron in the body. Dr. Andrews joins the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) Subcommittee.

James W. Freston, M.D., Ph.D., is the Boehringer Ingelheim Chair of Clinical Pharmacology and professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine at Farmington. Dr. Freston's research interests include the clinical pharmacology of digestive diseases, including acid-related disorders and drug-induced liver injury. He is a member of the NIDDK-funded National Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network (DILIN). Dr. Freston was appointed to the NIDDK Advisory Council last year for a one-year term and has been reappointed this year for a four-year term. He will continue to serve on the Digestive Diseases and Nutrition (DDN) Subcommittee.

James P. Schlicht, M.P.A., is executive vice president and chief government affairs and advocacy officer at the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Mr. Schlicht is a member of the senior management team at the ADA and reports directly to the ADA chief executive officer. He is directly responsible for management of all advocacy and government affairs functions and is responsible for formulation, adoption, strategic development and implementation of all public policy positions of the ADA. Prior to joining the ADA, Mr. Schlicht worked for several pharmaceutical companies in the area of government affairs. He also served as a management analyst in the U.S. General Accounting Office and as a budget specialist in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget before serving as a staff aide to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Schlicht joins the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases (DEM) Subcommittee.

NIDDK conducts and supports research in diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information about NIDDK and its programs, see www.niddk.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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