HHS News
Friday, December 15, 2000
Contact: Paul Girolami, NIH/NINDS
(301) 496-5751

HHS Announces New Members to NINDS Advisory Council

New Members Join Four Others Appointed Earlier This Year

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala recently announced the appointment of four new members to the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NANDS) Council, the major advisory panel of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

The new members are: Keith L. Black, M.D., director of the Cedars-Sinai Neurological Institute in Los Angeles, California; Daniel H. Lowenstein, M.D., dean for medical education, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Brad Margus, president of the A-T Children's Project, Deerfield Beach, Florida; and Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Ph.D., vice president for research, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

The NANDS Council meets three times annually to review applications from scientists seeking financial support for biomedical research and research training on disorders of the brain and nervous system. Members also advise the Institute on research program planning and priorities. The Council is composed of physicians, scientists, and representatives of the public.

Dr. Black is professor and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, in addition to directing the Cedars-Sinai Neurological Institute. Internationally renowned for his research on ways to cross the blood-brain barrier and the delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs directly into tumors, he was awarded a patent for his method for selective opening of abnormal brain tissue capillaries. At age 17 he published his first scientific paper, which earned the Westinghouse Science Award. Since then, he has published more than 100 scientific papers and has presented at nearly 200 professional meetings. He completed an accelerated college program at the University of Michigan and earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees in 6 years. Dr. Black is a member of several professional organizations and is a Founding Member of the North American Skull Base Society. He serves on the editorial boards of several leading neuroscience journals.

Dr. Lowenstein joined Harvard Medical School this past July as dean for medical education and Carl W. Walter Professor of Neurology and Medical Education. Previously he was professor of neurology and director of the Epilepsy Research Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. His interests include the molecular and cellular changes in neural networks following seizure activity and injury and the contribution of neurogenesis to seizure-induced network reorganization in the adult central nervous system. He has received several national awards for excellence in teaching. Dr. Lowenstein is a graduate of Harvard Medical School.

Mr. Margus is co-founder and volunteer president of the A-T Children's Project, which raises funds for and promotes research aimed at finding a treatment for the lethal childhood genetic neurodegenerative disease known as ataxia telangiectasia. Two of his sons have this disease. He has also been chief executive officer of a Florida-based international food processing company for 14 years and is now starting a California-based biotechnology company related to genomics. A master's degree graduate from Harvard University, he also sits on the Board of Directors of the Genetic Alliance, an umbrella group that represents more than 250 genetic disease organizations. Mr. Margus has been an adviser to the National Organization for Rare Disorders and the Genome Action Coalition. He and his family live in Boca Raton, Florida.

In addition to being professor of neurology at Northwestern Medical School, Dr. Villa-Komaroff is the university's vice president of research. Her personal research interests include structure and function of genes expressed in the central and peripheral nervous systems and molecular aspects of developmental neurobiology. She was a key member of the team that demonstrated that bacterial cells could produce insulin. Deeply committed to the recruitment and retention of minorities in science, Dr. Villa-Komaroff is a founding member and past officer of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. She received her doctorate in cell biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Earlier this year, Secretary Shalala announced the appointment of four additional members to the NANDS Council: Jeanne A. Carpenter, Esq., a partner in the national law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery and immediate past president of the Epilepsy Foundation; John Wesley Griffin, M.D., chair, Department of Neurology, and neurologist-in-chief, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; Peter R. MacLeish, Ph.D., director, Morehouse School of Medicine Neuroscience Institute, Atlanta, Georgia; and Joshua R. Sanes, Ph.D., professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

The NINDS, one of the National Institutes of Health located in Bethesda, Maryland, is the nation's primary supporter of research on the brain and nervous system. A lead agency for the Congressionally designated Decade of the Brain, the NINDS celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

This release will be posted on EurekAlert! at http://www.eurekalert.org and on the NINDS website at http://ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/index.htm.

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