Bruce, Castro Recognized for Achievements
NCI's Christina Bruce and Nelvis Castro each received the 2004 Hispanic Women Executives Recognition Award from the National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives earlier this month. The award honors and recognizes the talent and professionalism of Hispanic career executives in the federal government.
| Ms. Bruce is director of NCI's Office of Workforce Planning. In 2002 she created the StarCatcher/StarGazer system, a Web site used at recruitment outreach events. More recently she championed the creation of the NCI Introduction to Cancer Research Careers program.|
| Ms. Castro has served as acting director of the NCI Office of Communications since December 2002. In this capacity, she is responsible for the internal and external communication activities of the institute and provides the infrastructure for a range of technology-driven communications.|
New RNAi Resource
NCI's Division of Cancer Biology, in collaboration with its Office of Cancer Genomics, has supported the development of a large short hairpin RNA (shRNA) library, under the direction of Dr. Greg Hannon at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The library is designed for human genes, but about one-third of the constructs can also silence mouse genes.
RNA interference (RNAi) molecules "knock down" specific genes and can be used to perform functional studies of their gene product. Among the common effectors of RNAi are small interfering RNAs (siRNA), micro RNA (miRNA), and shRNAs.
The shRNAs are inserted into a novel shuttling retroviral vector system that allows the insert to be moved rapidly into other vectors. The first 8,000 clones were released in March 2004 and another 12,000 clones will be released by the end of May. Information about the clones, their targets, and where they can be obtained can be found at http://cgap.nci.nih.gov/RNAi. This is a work in progress as new shRNA are being constructed and the vector system continues to be enhanced. Updates will be posted on the Web site as they become available.
Developmental Therapeutics Program Gets New Leader
Dr. Joseph E. Tomaszewski has been appointed acting associate director for the Developmental Therapeutics Program (DTP) in NCI's Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis. He will oversee research, resources, and databases related to preclinical drug discovery and development. For the past 13 years, Dr. Tomaszewski has been chief of DTP's Toxicology and Pharmacology Branch, where he was responsible for the preclinical toxicological and pharmacological evaluation of most new cancer drugs developed by NCI. He has helped evaluate more than 130 diverse clinical candidates, leading to 77 investigational new drug applications and 4 new drugs approved by the FDA. Dr. Tomaszewski fills the spot left by Dr. Edward Sausville, who recently left NCI to join the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.
NCI Trains Advocates in Peer Review
NCI piloted a peer-review training session for 24 of its Consumer Advocates in Research and Related Activities (CARRA) members May 10-12. The pilot training, designed to help advocates become more effective peer review participants, was well received and NCI plans additional sessions. Since the program began in 2001, more than half of the 224 requests made by NCI staff have been for advocate involvement in peer review. In just one example, CARRA members were included alongside scientists on NCI's Head and Neck Cancer SPORE application review.
NCI created CARRA to draw upon the experience of people affected by cancer, through their participation in NCI's operational activities. A group of 200 CARRA members is available to assist NCI staff in a wide range of NCI activities. See http://liaison.cancer.gov/CARRA for further information about the CARRA program.