At first, Meredith Yeager, Ph.D., thought there was a mistake in the data. She was examining the association between exposure to ionizing radiation after the 1986 Chernobyl power plant disaster and the frequency of exposed Ukrainians later passing radiation-driven genetic mutations to their children. Previous studies suggested that the children’s DNA should have contained multiple such mutations. It didn’t.
The Spring Research Festival came to Fort Detrick this year without its signature massive tent, the home of a sprawling equipment expo with dozens of booths. It came without audiences in auditoriums or gatherings around scientific posters. The community didn’t circulate between buildings for events. On the surface, it may have seemed that the festival didn’t come at all. But after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, the annual two-day event did indeed return in a virtual format.
A potato, puffin, pineapple, orange, and lemon stood behind small electronic scoreboards. White text, read aloud by the Scientific Library’s Alan Doss, materialized on a blue field above their heads. “Every action has an equal and opposite…”
George Vande Woude, Ph.D., former director of the Advanced Bioscience Laboratories–Basic Research Program at what is now NCI at Frederick, passed away in April. He was known for being a prudent leader and an outstanding scientist (he and his laboratory discovered the MET oncogene in 1984), as well as for his vibrant personality and seemingly limitless energy.
The past year for Ligia Pinto, Ph.D., and her staff has been full of pressure and remote meetings at all hours of the day and night. It’s also been one of partnerships and progress. Pinto heads the Vaccine, Immunity, and Cancer Directorate, the group at the Frederick National Laboratory that’s leading the national SARS-CoV-2 Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet). At this time last year, her laboratories, which specialized in human papillomavirus, antibody science, and serology, had just been asked to help the Food and Drug Administration evaluate the quality of the new SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests that were flooding the market.
The CCR community is profoundly saddened by the recent passing of George Vande Woude, Ph.D., longtime National Cancer Institute (NCI) colleague, former director of the Advanced Bioscience Laboratories (ABL)-Basic Research Program and former director of the Division of Basic Sciences at NCI. George made many important contributions to the current understanding of the molecular biology of cancer.
Though it lasted just 15 years, Frederick’s first clinical oncology program answered multiple fundamental questions in the fledgling field of immunotherapy and primed the local medical community to become the oncology research hub it is today. The Biological Response Modifiers Program (BRMP) received formal recognition from the Department of Health and Human Services 40 years ago today, on April 27.
Eight Werner H. Kirsten student interns took home awards at this year’s Frederick County Science and Engineering Fair, a virtual competition between local middle and high school students with a passion for the sciences. The event hosted 70 students who created 64 projects, including 28 high school students who submitted 25 projects. Together, the WHK interns who won awards comprised nearly one-third of participating high schoolers.
Tucked away among NCI at Frederick’s various buildings, two facilities are quietly under development. In one, engineers are assembling a hulking Titan Krios electron microscope. In the other, equipment is slowly but surely being gathered for eventual installation. The microscope belongs to the newly minted Center for Structural Biology, formed from a merger of the Macromolecular Crystallography Laboratory and the Structural Biology Laboratory. It is the first of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s latest line of Krios microscopes to be installed outside of one of the company’s factories.
From April 4–10, the Scientific Library invites you to celebrate National Library Week. This year’s theme is “Welcome to Your Library.” The Scientific Library staff is eager to greet you when in-person operations resume, but in the interim, they welcome you to explore the many services that continue beyond the four walls of the Library’s locations in Building 549 and at the Advanced Technology Research Facility.