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Director’s Album – Photos

Testifying on COVID-19 Vaccine Development

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Testifying on Vaccine Development for COVID-19
It was an honor to testify before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on July 2. The topic of the hearing was the President’s plan to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. Also testifying were Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Gary Disbrow, acting director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The nearly three-hour hearing allowed a productive exchange of information on this critical topic and many of NIH’s high-priority efforts to develop vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19. Credit: C-Span.

Congratulations Class of 2020

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Staunton Graduation
Congratulations to the 200 members of the Staunton (VA) High School Class of 2020. As a proud Staunton High alumnus, class of 1966, it was my honor to offer a video commencement statement for this year’s graduates. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, each senior had to receive his or her diploma individually over a three-day period in mid-June at a nearby stadium. Graduates could have up to five family members or guests accompany them as they received their diplomas. As part of my statement, I got out my guitar, also from Staunton, and played a version of “The Gambler” by the late-Kenny Rogers that I’d reworked to touch on COVID-19 and to thank them for their sacrifices this difficult graduation season.

Out for a Ride

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I had a great time meeting up on my Harley with more than a dozen motorcycle riders as part of a recent charity event that raised more than $5,000 for the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund and Friends of Patients at the NIH. The fundraising drive, held on June 26, started in Fairfax, VA, rolled into Montgomery County, MD, and made its way to Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park for lunch and ceremonies. The photo to the left shows the group out for a ride. In the photo to the right, I’m saying hello to Narisu Narisu (l), a bioinformatics scientist with NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and Darryl Leja (r), NHGRI’s visual information specialist. Credit: NIH

White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing at NIH

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On June 9, 2020, I joined my fellow members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force at NIH’s Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC), part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). We gathered for a late-morning meeting to discuss some of NIH’s latest efforts to expand COVID-19 testing through the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) Initiative, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s ongoing work to help evaluate the accuracy of emerging COVID-19 antibody tests. Beforehand, the task force members visiting NIH received a brief tour of the VRC. The tour included a briefing from Kizzmekia Corbett (right), a VRC research fellow, who spoke about coronavirus antibodies. Taking part in the briefing (L-R) are: John Mascola, VRC director; Deborah Birx; Task Force member and coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS; Jared Kushner, Task Force member and Senior Advisor to the President; Tony Fauci, Task Force member and NIAID director; Brad Smith, Task Force member and director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation; Francis Collins; and Barney Graham, VRC deputy director. Credit: NIH

Teaching a Discerning Dog New Tricks

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It was my pleasure to offer an opening hello remotely from my home to start the 13th annual NIH Career Symposium—An Online Event. Little did I know that among those tuning in live was an inquisitive canine named Augustus Diego Hunt, or just plain Gus for short. Though Gus likely shed his glasses later to investigate other sights and smells in his loving household, the busy afternoon symposium presented some of the many promising career choices that are now available to young scientists. The event was held on May 8, 2020 and sponsored by the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE). Credit: Jacqueline Newell-Hunt with a tail wag to Gus.

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