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Executive Committee

Executive Committee (EC) is comprised of the leaders of the clinical and translational research programs at the GHUCCTS affiliated institutions (MHRI, ORNL and WDCVAMC), and supplemented by component directors on an as needed basis as decisions regarding their respective domains require being addressed. The Executive Committee, in collaboration with the Principal Investigators, oversee the implementation of GHUCCTS programs across the entire GHUCCTS network. By virtue of their leadership roles at their respective institutions, the regular EC members is ideally situated to monitor progress of GHUCCTS activities at their respective institutions and to provide advice to the PIs about potential problems with implementation of GHUCTS initiatives at each institution as well as expedite their implementation. The rotating inclusion of component directors allows for more focused deliberation on topics that relate to specific component functions. The EC meet monthly directly following the monthly Steering Committee (SC) meetings to discuss which action items from that larger meeting need to be addressed and with what priority.

Members:

Thomas A. Mellman, MD, Principal Investigator (Howard University) is Professor of Psychiatry at Howard University and currently the Program Director for the GCRC. He received training at the NIMH Division of Intramural Research Programs and has previously held faculty appointments and achieved the rank of Professor at the University of Miami and Dartmouth. Dr. Mellman has had continuous funding as PI on federal research grants since 1991 including a VA Merit award, and R01 and K24 awards from NIMH and NHLBI. His primary research interest over the years has been the role of sleep in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the early aftermath of trauma. He recently received an RO1 to further investigate the relationship of PTSD to nocturnal blood pressure in young adult African Americans. His additional research interests with resulting publications include other aspects of the psychobiology and treatment of PTSD, evidence-based practices in psychopharmacology, and the role of stress in health disparities. He has a consistent track record of mentoring junior investigators and interdisciplinary collaboration. He has been a member of NIMH IRGs for Violence and Traumatic Stress, and Interventions, and has served on several review committees for the NIH Roadmap and the Department of Defense research program. Dr. Mellman was a member of committees for developing treatment guidelines for PTSD, text revision of the DSM-IV, and the Institute of Medicine Committee for review of the treatment of PTSD.

Joseph G. Verbalis, MD, Executive Principal Investigator (Georgetown University) is Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Chief of the Division on Endocrinology and Metabolism at Georgetown University. He was a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh from 1980-1995 until he was recruited to GU. From 2004 to 2007 he served as interim chair of the Department of Medicine, and relinquished this position to direct Georgetown’s CTSA effort. He was one of the founding PIs of the GU GCRC in 1999, served as Chair of the GAC from 1999 to 2002, and has been the Program Director of the GCRC since 2002. He has been continuously funded as a PI on NIH research grants since 1988, and is currently the PI of 2 NIH R01s focusing on mechanistic studies of kidney and bone complications of hyponatremia, and the GU/MedStar CTSA Planning grant, and is a co-PI of a R01 studying hormonal effects on cognition in post-menopausal women. The multidisciplinary nature of his research is illustrated by the fact that he authors the chapters on water metabolism in major textbooks of nephrology (Brenner & Rector’s The Kidney; Diseases of the Kidney and Urinary Tract), endocrinology (Williams Textbook of Endocrinology; Principles and Practice of Endocrinology and Metabolism) and neuroscience (Fundamental Neuroscience). In 2007 he was the awarded the Berthold Medal by the German Endocrine Society for outstanding scientific achievement in endocrinology by individuals who have excelled in combining both basic and clinical research. He has trained students, fellows, and junior faculty members at all levels of translation from laboratory to clinical research through directorship of the endocrinology fellowship training programs at both the University of Pittsburgh and GU, and is also a member of the faculty of GU’s T32 training programs in Nephrology and Neuroscience.

 

Kristina Thiagarajan, PhD, inter-program liaison (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) is the NIH Program Manager for ORNL. Her primary responsibility for ORNL has been to develop team science within the lab and with other medical schools. The portfolio she manages is as diverse as the nation’s largest multipurpose national laboratory, including nanotoxicology, mercury toxicity, nanotechnology, structural biology, computational biology, environmental remediation, nanomaterial science, drug target development, imaging, instrumentation development and systems biology in a reference population animal model. She manages all aspects with relationships that pertain or deal with the NIH for ORNL. In the last four years ORNL, Dr. Thiagarajan has made significant growth in the NIH portfolio ORNL and has developed several more significant partnerships with medical schools. In addition, she has been internationally recognized for her work with immunosuppressant agents and lactation. She has served as the point of contact for the last three years during the partnership between GU and ORNL. As the inter-program liaison, her efforts will be to manage the administrative relationships among ORNL, NIH and all parties involved with this CTSA.

Neil Weissman, MD (MedStar Health Research Institute) is the President of MedStar Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. Weissman is an internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular ultrasound. He has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, is the editor of a textbook on cardiac imaging, is national PI for several multi-center clinical trials involving thousands of patients, and has served as the imaging core lab for over 100 international multi-center device or pharmacologic trials. Dr Weissman currently directs the Ultrasound Core Laboratories at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, and holds leadership positions in the American College of Cardiology (Governor for District of Columbia) and the American Society of Echocardiography (upcoming Chair, Scientific Sessions).

Marc R. Blackman, MD (Washington, DC Veteran’s Administration) was recently appointed Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development (ACOS R&D). His mission as ACOS R&D is to facilitate and expand the clinical, translational and laboratory based research Dr. Blackman was previously Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Program Director of the NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and a Guest Researcher at the NIA’s Gerontology Research Center. Subsequently he was Chief, Endocrine Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, and Division of Intramural Research, at the National Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), NIH. He has provided service on multiple national committees and advisory boards. His research has focused upon the effects of age-associated alterations in the growth hormone and gonadal steroid axes on body composition, and endocrine-metabolic, cardiovascular, immunologic, musculoskeletal, and psychobehavioral functions in healthy and frail older persons.