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Noteworthy Developments

By Eddy Ball
January 2008

NIEHS Scientific Program Director Cindy Lawler
NIEHS Scientific Program Director Cindy Lawler (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

In the closing months of 2007, NIEHS Health Science Administrator Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., was named to a new Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, and NIEHS postdoctoral alumna and pharmacologist Julianne Hall, Ph.D., returned to RTP to assume a position as a research investigator at the Hamner Institutes, formerly CIIT. Seeking public comment on the expert panel review of bisphenol A, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) made the final version of the report available November 26.

Cindy Lawler - Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt announced November 27 that Lawler will be one the 19 members of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee ( Exit NIEHS authorized under the Combating Autism Act of 2006. This planning and advisory group is chaired by Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

In addition to Lawler and Insel, the 13 federal members include NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D., and directors of three other NIH institutes. Other federal members represent various other offices and branches of HHS, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Administration for Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, HHS Office of Disability, and Health Resources and Services Administration. Six non-federal members are officials in autism advocacy groups and private sector specialists.

Lawler is scientific program director of the Cellular, Organs, and Systems Pathobiology Branch in the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training. Among her responsibilities is administering the grant which supports the NIEHS/EPA-funded Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment programs.

Julianne Hall - On November 28, Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences ( Exit NIEHS President and CEO William F. Greenlee, Ph.D., announced that Hall has joined the organization as a research investigator for the Division of Computational Biology. Hall was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory for Reproductive Development and Toxicology Receptor Biology Group headed by Ken Korach, Ph.D. After leaving NIEHS, Hall was a research scientist and pharmacology junior faculty member at Duke University and, most recently, at Elon University.

Hall, who received her doctorate from Duke University, has been involved with breast cancer research for more than a decade. She is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the Endocrine Society and Women in Endocrinology. At Hamner, Hall will work in molecular pharmacology as part of the Institutes' emerging cancer biology program focused on the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the detection and treatment of breast and other cancers.

• Bisphenol A - In a November 30 Federal Register notice (  Download Adobe Reader Exit NIEHS, the NTP Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) announced the availability of the expert panel report on bisphenol A (BPA) (  Download Adobe Reader. The notice invited the public to submit comments on the report, which is an evaluation of the reproductive and developmental toxicity of BPA conducted by an independent, 12-member expert panel composed of scientists from the public and private sectors convened by CERHR.

Comments should be received by January 25, 2008. Comments on the expert panel report and any other correspondence should be sent to CERHR Director Michael Shelby, Ph.D., by mail at NIEHS, P.O. Box 12233, MD K2-04, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, by fax to (919) 316-4511, or by e-mail.

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