News Release

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

NIDDK Welcomes Seven New Members to Advisory Council

Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt has appointed seven new members to the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the Institute announced today. NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the federal agency with primary responsibility for funding and conducting biomedical research within the United States.

Established by law and charter, the NIDDK Advisory Council meets three times annually to advise the NIDDK about its research portfolio. The Council typically undertakes broad issues of science policy. Members of the Advisory Council are drawn from the scientific and lay communities, are appointed for four-year terms, and represent all areas within the Institute’s research mission. An important role of the Council is to provide second-level peer review of grant applications that have been scored by scientific review groups. The Council members are an important liaison between the research communities they represent and the NIDDK, which supports each community’s research efforts.

NIDDK Acting Director, Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., will chair the Advisory Council meeting on February 21 which the following new members will attend:

Charles O. Elson, III, M.D., is Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine and the Basil I. Hirschowitz Chair in Gastroenterology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Elson’s research interests include the regulation of mucosal immune responses in the digestive tract. This research has implications for the understanding and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Dr. Elson joins the Digestive Diseases and Nutrition (DDN) Subcommittee.

James W. Freston, M.D., Ph.D., is the Boehringer Ingelheim Chair of Clinical Pharmacology and Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington. Dr. Freston’s research interests include the clinical pharmacology of digestive diseases, including acid-related disorders and drug-induced liver injury. He is a member of the NIDDK-funded National Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network (DILIN). Dr. Freston joins the Digestive Diseases and Nutrition (DDN) Subcommittee.

Mark A. Magnuson, M.D., is the Earl W. Sutherland, Jr., Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and Director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. His research interests include the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus, pancreatic beta cell function and development, the use of site-specific recombinases in mice, and directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells. Dr. Magnuson joins the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases (DEM) Subcommittee.

William E. Mitch, M.D., is the Gordon A. Cain Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Nephrology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. His research interests include the study of metabolic abnormalities associated with kidney disease and the mechanism controlling the loss of muscle mass. His clinical interests include treatment of patients with chronic renal disease and methods for delaying loss of kidney function. Dr. Mitch joins the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) Subcommittee.

Lisa H. Richardson has been a volunteer with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Inc. (CCFA) since 1989. The CCFA National Foundation is headquartered in New York City with the mission to cure and prevent Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through research, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases through education and support. Ms. Richardson has chaired and served on numerous committees for the Houston Gulf Coast/South Texas Chapter of CCFA, as well as committees for CCFA’s National Board of Trustees, two of which include the Education Advisory Committee and the Research Advisory Committees. She currently serves CCFA as National Emeritus Chairperson of the Board. Ms. Richardson joins the Digestive Diseases and Nutrition (DDN) Subcommittee.

Anthony J. Schaeffer, M.D., is the Herman L. Kretschmer Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Schaeffer is a leader in the study of urinary tract infections and prostatitis. He is currently Chair of the National Institutes of Health Multi-Site Collaborative Research Project on male chronic pelvic pain syndrome (prostatitis). He is also currently Chair of the Research Council for the American Urological Association. In 1996 he was awarded a National Institutes of Health Merit Award grant from the NIDDK for research on urinary tract infections. Dr. Schaeffer joins the Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases (KUH) Subcommittee.

Patrick Tso, Ph.D., is Professor of Pathology, Associate Director of the Cincinnati Obesity Research Center, Director of the Cincinnati Mouse Diabetes Phenotyping Center, and Director of the Center for Lipid and Atherosclerosis Research at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio. His research interests include mechanisms of fat and cholesterol absorption in the digestive tract and the study of food intake regulation by gastrointestinal peptides. He is also studying the role of hypothalamic dysfunction in the development of obesity in Zucker obese rats. Dr. Tso joins the Digestive Diseases and Nutrition (DDN) Subcommittee.

NIDDK, a component of the NIH, conducts and supports research in diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information about NIDDK and its programs, see

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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