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 CSR Reviewer Stories

Each year, about 17,000 leading researchers from the scientific community serve on CSR study sections to review the thousands more grant applications submitted to the NIH. We want to share their stories and insights so can get to know some of the dedicated people who help NIH identify and fund the most promising research.



Researcher Breaking New Ground in Aging and Cancer Research Still Finds Time to Review  Since the 1930s, scientists knew that calorie restriction could extend lifespans. But it is only in recent years that the tools were available to discover how this happens. In 2002, a new investigator at the University of Southern California—Davis School of Gerontology, Dr. Valter Longo, submitted an R01 application to study the mechanisms of longevity regulation in yeast. He proposed to elucidate the molecular pathways that “promote reproduction in response to ... More



Reviewer’s Story Illustrates How Peer Reviewed Science Powers U.S Science and Health Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado didn’t have high expectations in 1997 when he submitted his first NIH application for independent research at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “I was trying to develop a model system that -- if not forgotten -- was at least the laughing stock of the scientific establishment,” said Dr. Sánchez Alvarado. He wanted to study regeneration in the flatworm (planaria). About the only individuals studying flatworms at the time were kids who watched them regenerate themselves from tissue bits in biology class. ... More

Extraordinary Reviewer Inspires Annual Reviewer Award
There are many stars in the universe of NIH peer review. Over 31,000 scientists from across the country and globe cast revealing light on the 80,000 grant applications NIH receives every year. Untold sacrifices are made by these researchers so we can find the best applications and ultimately treat/cure and prevent disease. One bright star recently moved many at NIH by her heroic commitment: Dr. Marcy Speer continued to review grants during treatment for breast cancer, and she extended her term as a regular member of CSR’s Genetics of Health and Disease Study Section to make up for meetings she missed during chemotherapy.
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Going the Extra Miles: Reviewer Honored for Tireless Commitment
How does he do it? Dr. John Raymond from the Medical University of South Carolina and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has participated in about 100 peer review meetings. Even more amazing is what he said the day CSR sought to interview him about his commitment to peer review: “I have free time this afternoon after my study section teleconference,” he said. It was his second review in the month. At this point, you might also want to ask him why.
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Veteran Reviewer Honored for Saving Many Days for CSR
Synthetic organic chemistry came so easy to Dr. David J. Sahn that, while his Yale classmates were busy memorizing equations, he was effortlessly visualizing how the molecules fit together. A graduate school professor saw something special in his young protégé, who spent long, solitary hours in the lab. But the professor worried that Sahn would excel in the lab, and burn out in life. So he advised Sahn to find a way to use his talent and interact with people.
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"Chair of Chairs" Receives CSR's Highest Service Award
When the call came, Dr. Alice Clark was excited. She thought to herself, "this must be something big if Toni Scarpa is calling." It was indeed something big: CSR’s Director was calling to tell her she had won the 2010 Marcy Speer Outstanding CSR Reviewer Award. Dr. Clark, however, wasn't thinking about the highest award for scientists who review NIH grant applications. She recalls thinking he was about to ask her to "serve on something really big . . . it will be great fun whatever it is!"
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