DHHS, NIH News  
NIH Office of the Director

For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 31, 2008

NIH News Media Branch

NIH Director Welcomes Five New Members to the Advisory Committee to the Director

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the selection of five individuals to serve as members of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD). Since 1966, the ACD has advised the NIH Director on policy and planning issues important to the NIH mission of conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research, research training, and translating research results for the public.

"These five esteemed new members to the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director will bring an even greater depth and range of expertise to this dedicated team of advisors," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.

The new members, who join 15 members of the council, are Mary Beckerle, Ph.D., of Salt Lake City, Utah; Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., CNM, FAAN, FACNM, of Nashville, Tennessee; Walter Isaacson, of Washington D.C.; Thomas J. Kelly, M.D., Ph.D., of New York, New York; and Keith R. Yamamoto, Ph.D., of San Francisco, California.

Mary Beckerle, Ph.D., is executive director of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and completed post-doctoral research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds the Ralph E. and Willia T. Main Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and recently received the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the University of Utah's most prestigious award. She is recipient of the 2004 American Cancer Society Sword of Hope Award and the 2001 Governor's Medal for Science and Technology, State of Utah. In 1999, she was named a Guggenheim Fellow and a Rothschild-Mayent Scholar of the Institute Curie. Dr. Beckerle served as president of the American Society for Cell Biology in 2006, as a member of the Public Affairs Advisory Committee of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and on scientific review panels for the National Institutes of Health and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Beckerle's laboratory has discovered novel components of the machinery that controls cell movement, a process that is critical for normal embryonic development as well as pathological conditions such as tumor metastasis.

Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., CNM, FAAN, FACNM, has served as professor and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing since 1984. She has been active in nursing practice and education for more than four decades. The holder of three honorary doctorates from Cumberland University, Georgetown University, and the University of Colorado, she is also a graduate of Georgetown University, Catholic University of America, and New York University. She has published extensively, served on President Reagan's Commission on the HIV Epidemic in 1988, the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare in 1998, the Governor's Tennessee Commission on the Future of TennCare, and was appointed by then-Secretary Tommy Thompson to the Secretary's Council on Public Health Preparedness, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). She is also a member of the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee (MCAC) with DHHS and a member of the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute. Dr. Conway-Welch was named by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006 as a member of the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the premier training program for military health care providers. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, a charter fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, and serves as a director on the Boards of Pinnacle Bank, RehabCare Group, and Ardent Health Services, in addition to numerous other 501(c)3 boards such as the Health Care Leadership Council in Washington, D.C. She is also the founding director of the Nursing Emergency Preparedness Education Coalition (formerly the International Nursing Coalition for Mass Casualty Education).

Walter Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He has been chairman and CEO of CNN and the managing editor of Time Magazine. He is the author of Einstein: His Life and Universe (April 2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986). Isaacson is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at the Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune/States-Item. He joined Time Magazine in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor and editor of new media before becoming the magazine's 14th managing editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003. After Hurricane Katrina, he was appointed to be the vice-chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. He is also on the Board of Directors at United Airlines, Tulane University, the National Constitution Center, and is chairman of the board of Teach for America.

Thomas J. Kelly, MD, Ph.D., is director of Sloan-Kettering Institute, a research arm of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and professor at Weill Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. (Biophysics) from The Johns Hopkins University and his MD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Kelly joined MSKCC in 2002, after a 30-year career at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he served as director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and director of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Kelly's research focuses on how the genome is duplicated during the eukaryotic cell cycle with particular emphasis on the ways DNA replication is initiated and controlled. Using animal viruses as models, Dr. Kelly's laboratory developed the first cell-free systems for studying the biochemistry of DNA replication in human cells. More recently, he has focused on the links between DNA replication and the progression of the cell cycle in human cells and in the fission yeast, Schizosacchromyces pombe, which shares many properties with higher eukaryotes. Dr. Kelly is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Philosophical Society, and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D., is professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology and executive vice dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. He has been a member of the UCSF faculty since 1976, serving as director of the PIBS Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (1988-2003), vice chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics (1985-1994), chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology (1994-2003), and vice dean for research, School of Medicine (2002-2003). Dr. Yamamoto is an acknowledged leader in research focusing on the mechanisms of signaling and gene regulation by intracellular receptors, which mediate the actions of several classes of essential hormones and cellular signals. He was a founding editor of Molecular Biology of the Cell, and serves on numerous editorial boards, scientific advisory boards, and national committees focused on public and scientific policy, public understanding and support of biological research, and science education. Dr. Yamamoto has long been involved in the process of peer review and the policies that govern it at the National Institutes of Health, serving as chairman of the Molecular Biology Study Section (1987-1990), member of the NIH director's Working Group on the Division of Research Grants (1994-1995), chair of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) (1996-2000), member of the NIH Director's Peer Review Oversight Group (1996-1999), and member of the CSR Panel on Scientific Boundaries for Review (1998-2000). Dr. Yamamoto was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1988, the National Academy of Sciences in 1989, the Institute of Medicine in 2003, and as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 2002.

Additional information about the ACD is available at http://www.nih.gov/about/director/acd/index.htm.

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/.

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.

NIH logo   Home > News & Events
Subscribe to receive future NIH news releases.