NIH News Release
Office of the Director

Friday, Oct. 31, 1997

Laura Vazquez
NIH Office of Communications
(301) 496-5787

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
(202) 456-6020

11 NIH Nominees Receive Presidential Awards

The National Institutes of Health is pleased to announce this year's NIH recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Ten NIH grantees and one intramural scientist have been selected by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to be among this year's 60 researchers to receive the Presidential Award. Established in 1996, the Presidential Award is the most prestigious award the Federal government can make to outstanding researchers starting their careers. The Award recognizes the leadership qualities of young researchers and the promise of their research contributions.

NIH Director Harold Varmus, M.D., said, "I am pleased that we can honor some of the Nation's outstanding young scientists. The award confirms our commitment to talented individuals who have accepted the challenge of pursuing scientific opportunities that will improve human health." The NIH selected its nominees for the 1997 Presidential Awards from among the most meritorious investigators funded through its First Independent Research Support & Transition (FIRST) award, first-time recipients of traditional investigator-initiated research project grants, and tenure-track intramural scientists.

Ten government agencies join together annually to nominate outstanding researchers. Those selected receive up to $500,000 over a five-year period to further their research. The awardees will participate in a colloquium and awards ceremony on Monday, November 3, in the Old Executive Office Building of the White House. The 1997 NIH recipients are:

Russ B. Altman, M.D., Ph.D. Stanford University (NLM)
"For outstanding leadership and accomplishment at the intersection of research in the medical computer sciences and biotechnology."

Anirvan Ghosh, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (NINDS)
"For significant contributions to understanding how the brain develops its complex organizational structure by constructing a cell culture system that mimics the developmental programming of early brains."

Juan C. Izpisua-Belmonte, Ph.D. Salk Institute for Biological Studies (NICHD)
"For innovative studies defining genetic networks and signaling pathways which establish the pattern of the developing limb, providing insight into the etiology of birth defects."

Macrae F. Linton, M.D. Vanderbilt University (NHLBI)
"For novel research approaches and creative strategies for possible treatment of atherosclerosis that leads to reducing death and disability from vascular diseases."

Peter Mombaerts, M.D., Ph.D. Rockefeller University (NIDCD)
"For innovative genetic approaches to the field of sensory neurobiology which have furthered our understanding of the development of sensory systems."

Michael K. Rosen, Ph.D. Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research (NIGMS)
"For research that will characterize a major regulatory pathway controlling cell division and motility, revealing the nature of defects in this pathway that lead to metastatic cancers."

Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D. Cornell University (NICHD)
"For the unique discovery of a new enzyme which metabolizes folate in mammals."

Michele S. Swanson, Ph.D. University of Michigan Medical School (NIAID)
"For incisive work on the genetic and biologic factors that contribute to the pathogenicity of the Legionella pneumophila."

Roland M. Tisch, Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (NIDDK)
"For seminal work on the early stages of the disease processes for Type I Diabetes Mellitus demonstrating that diabetes can be prevented in an animal model."

Sharon L. Walsh, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University (NIDA)
"For creativity and leadership in integrating clinical pharmacology and behavioral sciences in innovative studies for understanding and treating cocaine dependence."

David A. Wassarman, Ph.D. (NICHD)
"For the development of a novel set of genetic screens that identify components of the complex mechanism that regulates gene expression."

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