Rimer Named Dean of UNC School of Public Health
Dr. Barbara Rimer, former director of NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), has been appointed dean of the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), effective June 1.
Dr. Rimer is currently an alumni distinguished professor in UNC's department of health behavior and health education and the deputy director for population sciences at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She served DCCPS from 1997 to 2002, introducing or providing leadership for a number of vanguard initiatives in cancer control, including behavioral research, quality of cancer care, health communications, genes and the environment, cancer survivorship, and tobacco control, among others.
Prior to her tenure with NCI, she held joint appointments at the UNC School of Public Health and Duke University Medical Center's community and family medicine department and its comprehensive cancer center. Dr. Rimer was the first woman and first behavioral scientist to lead NCI's National Cancer Advisory Board - a presidential appointment she held from 1994 to 1997.
Upcoming NCI Science Writer's Seminar
On February 23, NCI will host its 12th science writers' seminar on the topic of cancer genetics at the University of Southern California's (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. The seminar, "Can Genes Help Prevent Cancer - or Increase Your Risk?" will take place in a classroom setting and include presentations by a panel of experts in this field from NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers. Panelists include Dr. Peter Laird of USC, who will discuss DNA-based detection of cancer; Dr. Steve Libutti of NCI, covering the latest in gene tests for thyroid cancer; Dr. Mark Pegram of the University of California, Los Angeles' (UCLA) Jonsson Cancer Center, highlighting molecularly targeted therapies; Dr. Dennis Deapen of USC, talking about genetics and the risk of cancer in ethnic populations; Dr. Joyce Seldon of UCLA, discussing hereditary cancers; and Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel of City of Hope, who will touch on the ethics of cancer genetics and counseling. The seminar will last from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., and conclude with a question-and-answer session. Journalists who wish to attend should contact the NCI Press Office at (301) 496-6641 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIH Public Access Policy to be Activated in May
After months of discussion and a period of public comment, NIH has adopted a policy requesting the scientists whom it funds to submit an electronic version of their manuscripts - once they have been accepted for publication - to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), making their research results available to the public at no cost. The policy will go into effect on May 2, and gives authors the flexibility to designate a specific time frame for public release - ranging from immediate public availability after final publication to a 12 - month delay-when they submit their manuscripts to NLM. Scientists will use a secure Web site to submit their manuscripts, which will then become available through the NLM PubMed Central online digital archive (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov). To oversee the implementation of this policy, NIH will establish a Public Access Advisory Working Group under the NLM Board of Regents, including members from patient advocacy, scientific, library, and publishing communities. More information about the public access policy can be found at http://www.nih.gov/about/publicaccess/index.htm.
Prostate SPOREs Plan Launch of a Shared Biorepository Network
Last week, representatives from the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) for prostate cancer met in Houston to plan the launch of a pilot biorepository coordination system and informatics infrastructure for prostate cancer research.
This project will assess the feasibility of establishing biorepositories to support post-genomic cancer research and evaluate standardized approaches for biospecimen collection, storage, and distribution through an inter-prostate SPORE biomarker validation study. The pilot is designed to enhance the quality and availability of biospecimens and associated data for the scientific community.
Prostate SPORE representatives discussed the interoperable informatics system needed to facilitate resource sharing. Participants demonstrated informatics tools, suggested approaches for managing inter-SPORE partnerships, outlined preliminary use cases, and brainstormed interfaces to the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid.
To support the development of the shared biorepository network, NCI issued a request for proposals to identify a contractor to help build the system. A synopsis is available at http://rcb.cancer.gov/rcb-internet/appl/rfp/published_rfps.jsp. NCI expects to hold a preproposal conference for potential applicants this spring.