NIH Press Release
National Institutes Health

Monday, Dec. 16, 1996

Laura Vazquez
NIH Office of Communications
(301) 496-5787
Rick Borchelt
Office of Science and Technology Policy
(202) 456-6020

NIH Grantees Receive Presidential Awards

Ten NIH grantees have been selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to be among the 60 individuals to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award recognizes some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership. The Presidential Award, established this year, is the most prestigious award the Federal government can make to outstanding researchers starting their careers.

Nine agencies nominated over 60 scientists and engineers for this new award. Awardees will participate in a colloquium and awards ceremony on December 16 in the Old Executive Office Building of the White House. They will be joined by department and agency heads, as well as by Dr. John H. Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology.

The NIH selected its nominees for the 1996 Presidential Awards from among the most meritorious investigators funded through its First Independent Research Support & Transition (FIRST) award and the traditional investigator-initiated research project grants. Only first-time grantees who also met the eligibility criteria for the FIRST award were eligible. The 1996 NIH awardees are:

Ali Hemmati-Brivanlou, Ph.D.
Rockefeller University (NICHD)
For outstanding contribution to the field of neurobiology. Dr. Hemmati-Brivanlou's research has illuminated cellular mechanisms that control normal development of the nervous system, reversing concepts held for 100 years and setting the stage for studies to develop the capability to regenerate neural tissue.

Allison Jane Doupe, M.D., Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco (NIMH)
In recognition of landmark contributions to understanding the role of the brain in the development of learning abilities, for pioneering and innovative contribution in integrative neuroscience, and for exceptional scientific leadership and mentoring that will significantly advance the science of mental health into the next millennium.

Paul Khavari, M.D., Ph.D.
Stanford University (NIAMS)
For innovative research using the skin as a vehicle for gene therapy of both dermatologic and systemic diseases via the use of a topical agent. Dr. Kavari's novel method would not only allow inserted genes to be expressed, but would be capable of reversing the effects of the treatment in the event of an adverse outcome.

Aron Lukacher, M.D., Ph.D.
Emory University (NCI)
For major contributions to the understanding of antiviral immunity, and innovative research on the development of cellular immunity to polyoma virus-induced tumors in mice.

Deirdre Meldrum, Ph.D.
University of Washington (NCHGR)
In recognition of an exciting young investigator who is employing a broad set of interdisciplinary approaches to make substantial contributions toward advancing state-of-the-art DNA sequencing technology and the important new field of genomic science.

Lee Niswander, Ph.D.
Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research (NICHD)
For outstanding achievement in the field of embryonic research. By solving a fundamental mystery about the formation of limbs during embryonic development, Dr. Niswander has provided the basis for future studies on normal and abnormal development that eventually will assist in the prevention of birth defects.

David Self, Ph.D.
Yale University (NIDA)
For outstanding basic research achievements that advanced our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying drug abuse and addiction through the innovative integration of state-of-the-art molecular biological techniques with sophisticated behavioral, pharmacological, and biochemical methods.

Morgan Sheng, Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital (NINDS)
For outstanding contributions to the field of neuroscience. Dr. Sheng has made key discoveries concerning the molecular basis of neuronal signaling and memory.

Mark Walter, Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham (NIAID)
For highly successful research on the molecular structure of lymphokines. This research provides new insight into the structure and function relationships of cellular signaling proteins.

Keith Woerpel, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine (NIGMS)
For outstanding achievement in the field of organic chemistry. His seminal finding are being applied to the preparation of complex molecules of biomedical importance, including new forms of powerful antibiotics for combating infections in immunocompromised patients.

For more information about the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers or participation in the program, please call Rick Borchelt of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at (202) 456-6020.