News Release

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee Gains Eight New Members

The Director of the National Institutes of Health, Elias Zerhouni, M.D., has appointed eight new members to the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee. This committee provides technical and scientific advice on matters related to the procedures and policies governing the scientific and technical evaluation of NIH grant applications. Peer review is the key method NIH uses to ensure that the $20+ billion it invests in biomedical research grants each year advances the most promising research.

"We're delighted to add such exceptional talent and experience," said Dr. Zerhouni. "Members of the NIH Peer Review Advisory Committee will play key roles as we accelerate efforts to enhance NIH peer review":

Established by law and charter, the Peer Review Advisory Committee meets 2-3 times a year and advises the NIH Director, the NIH Deputy Director for NIH Extramural Research and the Director of the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR). The committee is cochaired by Toni Scarpa, M.D., Ph.D., Director of CSR; and Jeremy Berg, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The committee convened at NIH on August 27, 2007.

Five of the new members will begin their terms immediately:

R. Lorraine Collins, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions and a research professor in the Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Dr. Collins' research interests include cognitive and behavioral approaches to the conceptualization, prevention, and treatment of addictive behaviors; commonalities among addictive behaviors; and psycho-social issues related to substance use and misuse.

Garret FitzGerald, M.D., is chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and director of its Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. Dr. FitzGerald’s research interests include the pharmacology of prostaglandins and their inhibitors and the role of peripheral molecular clocks in inflammation and cardiovascular biology.

Heidi Hamm, Ph.D., is chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Hamm’s research interests include protein-protein interactions across cell membranes related to metabolic regulation, specifically what is known as the G protein coupled signaling mechanism.

Story Landis, Ph.D., is director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at NIH. Dr. Landis oversees the Institute’s annual budget of $1.5 billion, as well as a staff of more than 900 scientists, physician-scientists, and administrators.

Jane Steinberg, Ph.D., is the director of the Division of Extramural Activities at NIH's National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Steinberg manages the institute’s review and grants management activities as well as its extramural policy and advisory council.

The three other appointed members will begin their terms in January 2008.

Jill Buyon, M.D., is professor of medicine and associate director of the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City. Dr. Buyon’s research interests include studies of tissue injury aspects of lupus disease and studies of the molecular aspects of congenital heart block in neonatal lupus.

Paulette Gray, Ph.D., is the director of the Division of Extramural Activities at the NIH National Cancer Institute. Dr. Gray oversees the institute’s extramural research policies and procedures, research integrity and portfolio tracking, as well as coordinates its advisory committees. She also oversees the review officers and other staff members who manage the institute’s portfolio of over 7,000 research and training grants.

Andrew Murray, Ph.D., is the Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics and director of the Bauer Fellows Program at Harvard University. Dr. Murray’s research interests include the segregation of cell chromosomes during mitosis into two identical sets before cell division, particularly the lining up of chromosomes on the mitotic spindle before chromosome segregation and the linkage of sister chromatid.

The following Web page provides links to additional information on the Peer Review Advisory Committee, including the committee's roster, dates of upcoming meetings and the minutes and presentations from previous meetings:

The Office of Extramural Research serves as the focal point for policies and guidelines for extramural research grants administration. This office has primary responsibility for the development and implementation of NIH Grants Policy, including peer review, monitoring of compliance with Public Health Service policy on Humane Use and Care of Laboratory Animals, coordination of program guidelines, and development and maintenance of the information systems for grants administration. Please visit its Web site for additional information:

The Center for Scientific Review organizes the peer review groups that evaluate the majority of grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health. CSR recruits over 18,000 outside scientific experts each year for its review groups. CSR also receives all NIH and many Public Health Service grant applications — about 80,000 a year — and assigns them to the appropriate NIH Institutes and Centers and PHS agencies. CSR's primary goal is to see that NIH applications receive fair, independent, expert, and timely reviews that are free from inappropriate influences so NIH can fund the most promising research. For additional information, visit

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

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®