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eBriefing

Genetics and Its Other

Genetics and Its Other
Reported by
Alan Dove

Posted July 24, 2009

Presented By

Overview

On December 9, 2005, biological and social scientists met at Hunter College for an interdisciplinary discussion of a particularly dangerous area: the intersection of minorities, genomics, and health inequities. The presentations ranged freely across this contentious triple border, exploring everything from drug development technology to racial profiling. The conference, the 19th Annual International Symposium of the Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function, featured nearly a dozen excellent talks.

Conference organizers took a wide view of the term "minorities," and the discussion spanned everything from the racially profiled drug BiDil to the genetics of homosexuality. Some common themes emerged from these diverse research projects, though, including an enduring division between biological and social scientists on the potential of genomics. While many biologists tend to view the progress of genomics as an unmitigated boon, social scientists remain wary of the new field's potential for misuse.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

 


Sponsorship

This conference and eBriefing were made possible with support from:

The Gene Center is supported by the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program of the Division of Research Infrastructure of the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health. Grant Number G12 RR-03037

Web Sites

AcademyHealth
A professional society for health services researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners, AcademyHealth promotes interaction across the health research and policy arenas through conferences, reports, newsletters, and educational programs.

African Society of Human Genetics
The Society's aim is to equip the African scientific community and policymakers with the information and practical knowledge they need to contribute to the field of genetics research and to attract global attention to the efforts of African scientists.

American Sociological Association
A nonprofit association dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good.

Center for Afro-American and African Studies (CAAS)
The CAAS at the University of Michigan serves as an academic department in the areas of African Studies, African American Studies, and Afro-Caribbean Studies. It is one of the few programs in the country to combine African Studies with the study of the people and cultures of the African diaspora.

Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function
A consortium based at Hunter College that brings together biologists, chemists, biopsychologists, biophysicists, and bioanthropologists working within the CUNY system. Additional information about this conference is available on their Web site: Minorities, Race, Genomics and Health Inequities: What Are the Connections?

Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge (IHPK)
The IHPK, at New York University, is a nondegree program designed to encourage faculty and students to explore the changing configurations of disciplines, methodologies, and technologies that have shaped knowledge in the ancient and modern worlds.

The International Haplotype Mapping Project
The International HapMap Project is a partnership of scientists and funding agencies from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States to develop a public resource that will help researchers find genes associated with human disease and response to pharmaceuticals.

Just Garcia Hill
A web resource for professional minority scientists, designed to foster networking, collaboration, and mentoring. Provides information for undergraduates, graduate students, postdoc fellows, and scientists in academia, industry, and government.

MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health
The mission of the Network is to enhance understanding of the mechanisms by which socioeconomic factors affect the health of individuals and their communities.

National Human Genome Center at the College of Medicine of Howard University
The center serves as a comprehensive resource for genomic research on African Americans and other African diaspora populations, and is distinguished by a diverse social context for framing biology as well as the ethical, legal, and social implications of knowledge gained from the Human Genome Project and research on genome variation.


Articles

Genes and Sexual Orientation

DuPree, M. G., B. S. Mustanski, S. Bocklandt, et al. 2004. A candidate gene study of CYP19 (aromatase) and male sexual orientation. Behav. Genet. 34: 243-250.

Hamer, D. H., S. Hu, V. L. Magnuson, et al. 1993. A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science 261: 321-327.

Hu, S., A. M. Pattatucci, C. Patterson, et al. 1995. Linkage between sexual orientation and chromosome Xq28 in males but not in females. Nat. Genet. 11: 248-256.

Mustanski, B. S., M. G. Dupree, C. M. Nievergelt, et al. 2005. A genomewide scan of male sexual orientation. Hum. Genet. 116: 262-278.

Mustanski, B. S., M. L. Chivers & J. M. Bailey. 2002. A critical review of recent biological research on human sexual orientation. Annu. Rev. Sex Res. 13: 89-140.

Using Genomic Tools to Identify Susceptibility Genes for Type 2 Diabetes

Helgadottir, A., A. Manolescu, A. Helgason, et al. 2006. A variant of the gene encoding leukotriene A4 hydrolase confers ethnicity-specific risk of myocardial infarction. Nat. Genet. 38: 68-74.

The International HapMap Consortium. 2005. A haplotype map of the human genome. Nature 437: 1299-1320. FULL TEXT

Permutt, M. A., J. Wasson & N. Cox. 2005. Genetic epidemiology of diabetes. J. Clin. Invest. 115: 1431-1439. FULL TEXT

Rotimi, C., R. Cooper, G. Cao, et al. 1994. Familial aggregation of cardiovascular diseases in African-American pedigrees. Genet. Epidemiol. 11: 397-407.

Natural Selection on Protein Coding Genes in the Human Genome

Bustamante, C. D., A. Fledel-Alon, S. Williamson, et al. 2005. Natural selection on protein-coding genes in the human genome. Nature 437: 1153-1157.

Gilad, Y., C. D. Bustamante, D. Lancet & S. Paabo. 2003. Natural selection on the olfactory receptor gene family in humans and chimpanzees. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 73: 489-501. FULL TEXT

Pollinger, J. P., C. D. Bustamante, A. Fledel-Alon, et al. 2005. Selective sweep mapping of genes with large phenotypic effects. Genome Res. 15: 1809-1819.

Williamson, S. H., R. Hernandez, A. Fledel-Alon, et al. 2005. Simultaneous inference of selection and population growth from patterns of variation in the human genome. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102: 7882-7887. FULL TEXT

Racism and Health: Needed Contributions by Social and Biological Scientists

Glaeser, E. L. & J. L. Vigdor. 2001. Racial segregation in the 2000 census: promising news. The Brookings Institution Survey Series (April). FULL TEXT (PDF, 590 KB)

Iceland, J and DH. Weinberg 2002. Racial and ethnic residential segregation in the United States: 1980-2000. Census 2000 Special Reports. Series CENSR-3. FULL TEXT (PDF, 106 KB)

Kaugman, J. S., R. A. Durazo-Arvizu, C. N. Rotimi, et al. 1996. Obesity and hypertension prevalence in populations of African origin. Epidemiology 8: 217-218.

Krieger, N. 1994. Epidemiology and the web of causation: has anyone seen the spider? Soc. Sci. Med. 39: 887-903.

Massey, D.S. 2004. Segregation and stratification: a biosocial model. DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race 1: 1-19. 2004.

Sampson, R. J. & W. J. Wilson. 1995. Toward a theory of race, crime, and urban inequality. In Crime and Inequality. J. Hagan and R. Peterson, Eds. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. FULL TEXT (PDF, 525 KB)

Sehgal, A. R. 2004. Overlap between whites and blacks in response to antihypertensive drugs. Hypertension 43: 566-572. FULL TEXT

Troxel, W. M., K. A. Matthews, J. T. Bromberger & K. Sutton-Tyrrell. 2003. Chronic stress burden, discrimination, and subclinical carotid artery disease in African American and Caucasian women. Health Psychol. 22: 300-309.

Williams, D. R. & C. Collins. 2001. Racial residential segregation: a fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Pub. Health Rep. 116: 404-416. FULL TEXT (PDF, 175 KB)

The Molecular Reinscription of Race in Medicine and Forensic Science

Cooper, R. S., K. Wolf-Maier, A. Luke, et al. 2005. An international comparative study of blood pressure in populations of European vs. African descent. BMC Medicine 3: 2. FULL TEXT

Devlin, B. & N. Risch. 1992. Ethnic differentiation at VNTR loci, with special reference to forensic applications. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 51: 534-548.

Duster, T. 2005. Race and reification in science. Science 307: 1050-1051.

Evans, W. E. & M. V. Relling. 1999. Pharmacogenomics: translating functional genomics into rational therapeutics. Science 286: 487-491.

Klag, M. J., P. K. Wheaton, J. Coresh, et al. 1991. The association of skin color with blood pressure in U.S. blacks with low socioeconomic status. JAMA 265: 599-602.

Lowe, A. L., A. Urquhart, L. A. Foreman & I. W. Evett. 2001. Inferring ethnic origin by means of an STR profile. Forensic Sci. Int. 119: 17-22.

Ossorio, P. & T. Duster. 2005. Controversies in biomedical, behavioral, and forensic sciences. Am. Psychol. 60: 115-128. FULL TEXT (PDF, 191 KB)


Books

Brown, M. K., M. Carnoy, E. Currie, et al. 2003. Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Duster, T. 2003. Backdoor to Eugenics, 2nd edn. Routledge, New York.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Featured Speakers

Brian Mustanski, PhD

University of Illinois at Chicago
email | web site | publications

Brian Mustanski is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on identifying genetic and environmental factors that influence risky sexual behaviors and commonly co-occurring problem behaviors, such as substance abuse and disruptive behavior disorders. He also works on developing and implementing methodologies for using the Internet to conduct reliable research on sexuality.

Mustanski earned his PhD in 2004 from Indiana University and joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005. He has earned the R. J. Kantor Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award from the Indiana University Department of Psychology and was named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in 2001.

Charles Rotimi, MPH, PhD

Howard University
email | web site | publications

Charles Rotimi is the director of genetic epidemiology for the National Human Genome Center at the College of Medicine of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Rotimi investigates the genetic and environmental factors that affect diseases prominent in Africans and those of African ancestry, such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Under Rotimis direction, Howard University is working to build a database of pedigrees of people of African origin. This database is intended to enhance the study of complex diseases common in these populations. It will also provide a resource for further examination of the historical dispersal of humans from Africa. Rotimi has also been active in examining the issues raised by the study of genetics and race and how scientists obtain and interpret the consent of their subjects.

In addition to these research pursuits, Rotimi is dedicated to increasing the number of minority investigators in genetic epidemiology. He started a program to train West African scientists in using technology to enhance their application of biostatistics to epidemiological research. He is also involved in programs to provide genetics training to American minority students in Mississippi and in the Washington, DC area.

Rotimi has contributed to diverse scientific and health organizations. He currently serves as the president of the African Society of Human Genetics. He has worked on the steering committee for the Baltimore-Washington Public Health Consortium and he is a principal investigator for the National Human Genome Research Institutes International Haplotype Mapping Project. As an undergraduate, he studied at the University of Benin in Nigeria; he later moved to the United States and earned a master's degree in health care administration from the University of Mississippi. He went on to study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he earned his doctorate in epidemiology.

Carlos Bustamante, PhD

Cornell University
email | web site | publications

Carlos Bustamante is an assistant professor of biological statistics and computational biology at Cornell University under their Genomics Initiative. Bustamante has done extensive research on detecting and interpreting the action of evolution on the genome. His work has examined the genomes of such diverse organisms as humans, chimpanzees, Arabidopsis, and rice. He has also developed and applied methods for elucidating evidence for positive selection in the human genome, including comparative work with the recently published chimpanzee genome. One specific area of Bustamantes methodological study is the use of Bayesian inference to aid in the modeling of evolutionary processes.

Bustamante currently serves on the editorial board for the journal Bioinformatics, and is a member of the Task Force on Evolutionary Genomics at Cornell. He earned all of his degrees at Harvard University, including a masters degree in statistics and a doctorate in biology in 2001. He has held his current position at Cornell University since 2002, and was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA in 2004. He currently has major grants from the NIH and NSF.

David R. Williams, MPH, PhD

University of Michigan
email | web site | publications

David Williams is the Harold W. Cruse Collegiate Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. He is also a research professor in the sociology department and a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. Williamss research examines how socioeconomic status, discrimination, and other social phenomena affect personal health. He has described disparities between the health of black Americans and the American public in general. His work goes on to try to establish links between the minority social experience and the health issues prominent in minority populations.

Williams earned his undergraduate degree at The Caribbean Union College, Trinidad, and completed his PhD in sociology at the University of Michigan in 1986. In his accomplished career, he has written or coauthored numerous papers, served on the boards of various organizations, earned many awards, and reviewed submissions for dozens of journals.

In addition to his professorial roles at the University of Michigan, Williams is also director of the South Africa Initiatives Office of the Center for Afro-American and African Studies, and the codirector of the Survey Research Center at the Research Center on Religion, Race, and Health. He is also a member of the core scientific panel of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health. He is currently a board member for AcademyHealth, a health research and policy organization, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a member of the advisory board of the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. A student award was named in his honor at his undergraduate alma mater, The Caribbean Union College, Trinidad. In 2004 he was ranked as one of the top ten 10 most cited researchers in the social sciences in the past decade by ISI Essential Science Indicators.

Troy Duster, PhD

New York University
email | web site | publications

Troy Duster is a professor of sociology at the Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge and the department of sociology at New York University. He has written extensively on how science has informed our ideas of race as well as how race must be considered within science. His work insists that, even if race may not be apparent at the genomic level, it certainly exists as a social construct. Duster has studied the role of race in many elements of society beyond molecular biology, including the campus, the penal system, and the labor market.

Duster has published extensively in the sociological literature, and has contributed to such biological publications as The International Haplotype Mapping Project in Nature. His book Backdoor to Eugenics (1990) was reprinted in 2003. His most recent book is Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society, which he coauthored.

Duster has served as a member or on the boards of numerous bodies and has earned many awards. Currently, he works is on the board of directors of the National Coalition of Universities in the Public Interest, and the Humanities Research Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2004 he was elected to a term as president of the American Sociological Association. Before moving to NYU in 1999, Duster was a professor in the sociology department at UC Berkeley for twenty 20 years; for much of that time he was also the director for the universitys Institute for the Study of Social Change. He completed an undergraduate degree in journalism in 1957 and he earned his PhD in sociology at Northwestern University.

Lisa Bowleg, PhD

University of Rhode Island
email

Lisa Bowleg is a social psychologist and associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Rhode Island. Her research and publications focus on: (1) multiple minority stress, resilience, and coming out issues among Black, gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered people (LGBT); and (2) the influence of social structural factors (e.g., racism, poverty, incarceration) and gender role and sexuality factors on sexual risk in Black/African American communities.

Bowleg's honors and awards include a 2004 Wayne F. Placek Investigator Development Award for her LGBT research; the 2002 Diversity Award for Faculty Excellence in Leadership and Service, University of Rhode Island Multicultural Center; the 2000 Dr. Margaret Stetz Woman of Distinction Award from the Women's Center, Georgetown University; the 1999 Louise Kidder Early Career Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, American Psychological Association; and a 1999-2001 Visiting Professorship at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Women in Psychology, board chairperson for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, and an elected member of the American Psychological Association's Committee on Psychology and AIDS.

Harold P. Freeman, MD

Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
web site | publications

Harold Freeman is founder and medical director of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in Harlem, New York. He is currently a senior advisor to the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He holds the academic rank of professor of clinical surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Freeman is one of the foremost international authorities on interrelationships among poverty, culture social injustice and cancer and is the leading voice on cancer disparities.

For twenty-five years, Freeman was the director of surgery at Harlem Hospital Center. For a five year period ending in September 2005, he held the position of an associate director of the NCI and founding director of the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. Freeman served as national president of the American Cancer Society (ACS) from 1988-1989. He was the chief architect of the American Cancer Society's initiative on cancer in the poor.

Freeman served as Chairman of the United States President's Cancer Panel (PCP) for eleven years, and was appointed for four consecutive three-year terms to the panel. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997. Beginning in 1990, Dr. Freeman pioneered the "Patient Navigation Program." This program which he developed in Harlem has proved to be a successful model to reduce disparities in access to diagnosis and treatment of cancer particularly among poor and uninsured people. Based primarily on the Patient Navigation model created by Dr. Freeman in Harlem, "The Patient Navigator, Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act" was enacted by The Congress and signed by The President in June 2005.

Freeman earned his MD at Howard University, where he also completed residency training in surgery. Subsequently he was a senior resident in cancer surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Among selected awards he has received are the following: The Mary Lasker Award for Public Service; Medal of Honor National American Cancer Society; Special Recognition Award of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; Champion of Prevention Award of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; The Lifetime Achievement Award of Time Inc. Health; and The Betty Ford Award of The Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Cecil B. Pickett, PhD

Schering-Plough Corporation and Schering-Plough Research Institute
web site

Cecil Pickett is senior vice president of Schering-Plough Corporation and president of the Schering-Plough Research Institute, the pharmaceutical research arm of Schering-Plough Corporation. He was appointed to his present position in March 2002. He joined Schering-Plough Research Institute in 1993, as executive vice president, discovery research, responsible for the planning, management and oversight of Schering-Plough's new drug discovery programs across all therapeutic areas, and for coordinating those programs with other research and commercial components in the Company.

Pickett came to Schering-Plough Research Institute from Merck Research Laboratories, where he served as senior vice president for basic research. During his 15-year employ at Merck & Co., Dr. Pickett held various positions of increasing responsibility, including research fellow, biochemical regulation; associate director, department of molecular pharmacology and biochemistry; director, department of molecular pharmacology and biochemistry; executive director of research at the Merck Frosst Center for Therapeutic Research, Montreal; and vice president of the Center. Pickett received his PhD in cell biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr. Pickett has been published extensively in leading research journals and has been a frequent speaker at scientific symposia and conferences. His awards and honors include the UCLA Alumni Association Award for Scholarly Achievement and Academic Distinction (1976); Macy Scholar, Marine Biological Laboratories, Woods Hole, Mass. (1978); first Robert A. Scala Award and Lectureship in Toxicology of Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (1993); Distinguished Lecturer, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA (1995); and the CIIT Centers for Health Research Founders' Award (2001).

Dr. Pickett has served as a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Science Board, the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health and The National Cancer Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine. He currently serves as a member of the National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy and a member of the Institute of Medicine Forum on Drug Discovery, Development and Translation. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1993 and also is a member of The American Society for Cell Biology, American Society of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, American Association for Cancer Research, and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Additional conference participants

Jill Bargonetti, PhD

Hunter College, City University of New York
email | web site | publications

Molecular biologist Jill Bargonetti is an associate professor at The Hunter College Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function in the Department of Biological Sciences, and chaired the symposium planning committee for this conference. In her research, she has focused on the p53 protein and the p53 gene, which assists in the suppression of tumor cells. Her research group investigates how an inherited single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the mdm2 gene causes a predisposition to cancer by inactivating the p53 protein while it is associated with DNA in cancer cells.

Prior to arriving on the Hunter College campus in 1994, Bargonetti was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University. She was a visiting professor at The Rockefeller University in 2002. Bargonetti holds a PhD in molecular biology from New York University. Awarded the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by President Bill Clinton in 1997, Bargonetti has received numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health as well as grants from the American Cancer Society and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research program. She was a member of the National Cancer Policy Board from 2002 until 2005 (a board of the Institution of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies).

In 2001, Bargonetti received a New York City Mayor's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology and an Outstanding Woman Scientist Award from the Association for Women in Science. She also received the 1998 New York Voice Award, given to those who have made a significant improvement to the quality of life in New York City, and the 1997 Kathy Keeton Mountain Top Award from the New York branch of the NAACP. In December 2004, Working Mother magazine profiled her as one of the nation's "Stellar Moms" and in May 2005 both NYU and SUNY Purchase gave her distinguished Alumna awards.

Robert P. Dottin, PhD

Hunter College, City University of New York
email | web site | publications

Robert Dottin is professor of biology at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and director of the Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function. The Gene Center is a consortium that brings together biologists, chemists, biopsychologists, biophysicists, and bioanthropologists working within the CUNY system. Research at the Center spans a broad range including the determination of structure of proteins and nucleic acids by X-ray diffraction and molecular modeling, the characterization of protein-protein interactions involved in signal transduction, and the investigation of mechanisms that regulate neuron functioning and regeneration.

Dottin is also director of Just Garcia Hill, an online community of minority scientists that works to increase the number of minorities entering science careers and to celebrate the many contributions made by minority scientists. Dottin earned his PhD at the University of Toronto and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Erwin Fleissner, PhD

Hunter College, City University of New York
publications

Erwin Fleissner is professor emeritus of biology and former dean of sciences and mathematics (1987-1998) at Hunter College, City University of New York. Before coming to Hunter he was a member of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, where he discovered the protein composition of retroviruses and did research on the roles of cell-derived genes in cancers caused by such viruses in animals.

Sidney A. McNairy, Jr., PhD, DSc

National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health
email | web site | publications

Sidney McNairy is associate director in the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a branch of the National Institutes of Health that supports and develops state-of-the-art biomedical research resources that are critical to the nation's biomedical scientists. He is also director of the Division of Research Infrastructure (DRI), where provides oversight management for the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program, the Institutional Development Award Program, an Animal Facilities Improvement Program, and the Research Facilities Improvement Program.

McNairy was a professor of biochemistry for 10 years at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During his tenure at Southern University, he also served as the Director of the Health Research Center, and was a visiting scientist at Charles Pfizer, Eli Lily, General Electric, Standard Oil of California, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He began his federal career in 1975 with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). He was responsible for a number of innovative programs that help strengthen biomedical research infrastructure at both emerging and research-intensive biomedical institutions throughout the nation. He has also been a leader in developing programs that address health-disparities and health-related science education for K-12 students and the general public.

McNairy has received numerous awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate degree and designation as an Old Master by his alma mater Purdue University, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from Texas Southern University, Jackson State University and Morehouse School of Medicine. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees and is a member of the Golden Parade of alumni at LeMoyne-Owen College. He received the NIH's Director's Award, is a member of federal government's Senior Executive Service, and was selected by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government to participate in the Program for Senior Managers in Government. In 2002, he was the first recipient of the Frederick C. Greenwood Award, given in recognition of his meritorious service to the RCMI grantee community.

Harvey L. Ozer, MD

New Jersey Medical School—University Hospital Cancer Center
email | web site | publications

Harvey Ozer obtained his MD degree and initial research training at Stanford Medical School. He has had a long and productive career in basic and translational research focusing on the molecular basis of cancer and aging. He has coupled excellence in science with a strong commitment to mentorship at the college, graduate, and postgraduate levels. He has served on multiple review panels and advisory boards for the NIH, HHMI, and academic institutions.

In 1977 after holding positions at NIH and other research institutions, he joined the faculty at Hunter College as professor of biological sciences; he was named the first Thomas Hunter Professor of Science and Mathematics in 1983. He also served as program coordinator for the Center for Gene Structure and Function. He continues to be involved in the RCMI as a member of the External Advisory Board at CCNY.

In 1988, he assumed the position as chairman of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In 2004, he became director of the new NJMS—University Hospital Cancer Center in Newark and associate dean of the oncology program at the medical school. Among his honors, he was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to the New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research.

Jennifer J. Raab, JD

Hunter College, City University of New York
email | web site

Jennifer Raab, president of Hunter College, is a lifelong New Yorker whose career has included high-profile positions in government, public service, civic affairs and the law. Since taking the helm as the College's 13th president, she has built upon its strong foundation, refining its mission, overseeing its academic programs and spearheading its growth and development as one of the world's leading urban centers of higher education.

Prior to her appointment at Hunter in June 2001, Raab served for seven years as chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the New York City agency that protects and preserves the City's historic structures and architectural heritage. Named to the post by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1994, she won praise from many quarters for her ability to achieve consensus among the diverse constituencies affected by the Commission's regulatory activities.

John Ruffin, PhD

National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
email | web site | publications

John Ruffin is the director of the National Institute of Health's National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. He is a well-respected leader and visionary in the field of health disparities who has devoted his professional life to improving the health status of minority populations in the United States and to developing and supporting educational programs for minority researchers and health care practitioners. He has served as the Associate Director for Minority Programs in the Office of Minority Programs; and as Associate Director for Research on Minority Health in the Office of Research on Minority Health. As the NIH federal official for minority health disparities research, he has planned and brought to fruition the largest biomedical research program in the nation to promote minority health and other health disparities research and training. He has also spearheaded the development of the first comprehensive Health Disparities Strategic Plan at NIH.

His lifelong commitment to academic excellence, improving minority health and promoting training and health disparities research, has earned him distinguished national awards. Ruffin has received an honorary doctor of science degree from Spelman College, Tuskegee University, and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He has been recognized by the National Medical Association, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, the Association of American Indian Physicians, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, and the National Science Foundation. The John Ruffin Scholarship Program is an honor symbolic of his legacy for academic excellence bestowed by the Duke University Talent Identification Program. He has also received the Samuel L. Kountz Award for his significant contribution to increasing minority access to organ and tissue transplantation, the NIH Director's Award, the National Hispanic Leadership Award, the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society Award, the Department of Health and Human Services' Special Recognition Award, and the U.S. Presidential Merit Award.


Alan Dove

Alan Dove earned his PhD in microbiology from Columbia University and is now a science writer and reporter for Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, and Journal of Cell Biology. He also teaches at the NYU School of Journalism.

Special thanks to Jake Edelstein for his contributions to this eBriefing.