News Release

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

NIDCD Director to Be Named First Recipient of International Scientific Organization’s Distinguished Service Award

James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health, will be the first recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AChemS), an international body of scientists that advances understanding of the senses of taste and smell. Researchers are working to learn more about taste and smell because these senses can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, food preferences, diet, and overall health. The newly created award, to be conferred on special occasions, recognizes individuals “with a record of outstanding service to the chemical senses research community.”

“As director of the NIDCD, Dr. Battey has moved far beyond the role of administrator by his genuine interest in the chemical senses,” said Dr. Diego Restrepo, president-elect of AChemS, citing Dr. Battey’s participation at international meetings, his leadership in trans-NIH scientific efforts such as NIH’s Knockout Mouse Project, the stem cell research program, and his support of promising young investigators. “Dr. Battey is the perfect example of the outstanding scientific administrator — an astute scientist/administrator intimately engaged in the affairs of science,” Dr. Restrepo said.

“One of the most distinguished honors that a scientist can receive is the recognition of his or her peers,” said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH. “James Battey’s ability to make significant contributions to the study of the chemical senses while effectively serving as director of the NIDCD demonstrates a rare combination of leadership and scientific expertise that have served the NIH well. In addition, during the time that he was chair of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force, Dr. Battey demonstrated extraordinary insight in advancing our knowledge about this exciting and challenging area of research.”

Dr. Battey received his B.S. degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, and his M.D. and Ph.D. in biophysics from Stanford University School of Medicine. After receiving training in pediatrics, he pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics at Harvard Medical School. Dr.Battey is widely recognized for his work on G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), a large family of proteins important in cell-to-cell communication, and integral to an array of physiological processes, including taste and smell. His laboratory is collaborating on a large-scale project to identify molecules that are important for taste. He has held a variety of positions at the NIH, including serving in the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and NIDCD, before being named director of the NIDCD in 1998.

Dr. Battey will receive the award during the opening ceremony at the AChemS annual meeting in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday, April 25, at 8:00 p.m. Scientists from around the world will be in attendance and will be presenting their latest research findings throughout the meeting.

The NIDCD supports and conducts research and research training on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell taste, voice, speech and language and provides health information, based upon scientific discovery, to the public. For more information about NIDCD programs, see the Web site at

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